We had a spectacular year at the Severna Park Library in 2016 with our series The Great Movies, which kicked off in January. My co-worker Julia and I believed this would be an enjoyable monthly event for our patrons, showing an important movie each month, and discussing it afterward. It certainly succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
Our focus has always been on choosing great films (not necessarily films from the “classic” era), but we also wanted to do something more. Julia and I both realized that people can see these movies at home on cable, streaming, or DVD and don’t necessarily need to come to the library to enjoy them, so we decided to:
1 – Introduce the films, giving some background on who made them, why they were made, how they were received then and now. Most importantly, we wanted people to understand why these films still speak to us and their relevance in 2016. It takes quite a bit of research, but this is the stuff we love.
2 – Allow the audience a chance to interact with each other, discussing the films. This has yielded some amazing conversations. Julia and I are always blown away at some of the questions and observations members of the audience share with us, both in the group and individually.
What we really wanted to accomplish was a sense of community, a group of people who love movies and want to see them as they were meant to be seen: on a large screen with a good sound system. (Our technical equipment is modest, but adequate and will hopefully get a couple of upgrades in 2017!) We also offer free popcorn, which is a plus. (Many thanks to the Sun Valley 6 theater in Glen Burnie, MD.)
Our turnout has been tremendous. With one exception, we have never had fewer than 30 people in attendance. We have a great core audience and always have new people show up.
I’d like to thank so many people for the success of our program. First of all Julia, for being a great co-host. She has an obvious love of film and is incredibly knowledgable, which comes across in all of her introductions. Thanks also to our branch manager Karen for allowing us to launch this venture, Becky, the head of programming at library headquarters, and Ann at the Library Foundation. Thanks also to our staff who help support and promote the program, to Jenna, our library page who has vacuumed up enough stray popcorn to fill a few acres, and finally to our audiences. Thank you for your support, dedication and love for great movies. We’ve got lots of amazing things planned for 2017, so please come out and see us the first Thursday of every month.
(And in case you’re reading this and don’t live in the Anne Arundel County, Maryland area, ask the staff at your local library about starting a movie series. It’s really not that hard. If you have questions, I’ll be glad to answer them.)
In case you missed any of them, here are the movies we showed this year as well as our double feature series: