As libraries compete with Google, VOD and E-Readers, the Acreage Branch Library in Loxahatchee, Florida found a way to show patrons that they are more than just books and periodicals.
In observance of Women’s History Month, the Programming Committee of the Acreage Branch Library came up with an innovative way to celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history with Women’s History Month Matinee. The program consists of two days, Sunday March 15th and Sunday March 29th when two different films will be screened that are centered on the lives of two very distinct women who made their mark in a world where the odds were not in their favor. The film Frida, the biopic that depicts the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo starring Salma Hayek will be the first in line, and the second which will close Women’s History Month,Gorillas In The Mist, with Sigourney Weaver in the role of Dian Fossey, the American zoologist and anthropologist who fought to protect the silver-back gorillas in Rwanda, and who was savagely murdered by unknown hands. Chris Jankow, Reference Librarian at the Acreage Branch Library and the coordinator of this program, pointed out that the two films selected were examples of women who had elbowed a space in “a man-centric society”, in both worlds of art and science.
See the complete interview with Chris Jankow below:
Three years ago, the Palm Beach County Library System in Palm Beach,Florida opened a brand new library in Loxahatchee, an area commonly known as the Acreage. It was thought that this particular branch would cater to a community mainly composed of young families, farmers, and home schooled children. The people living in the Acreage, which was deeply affected by the economic recession of 2008, many of the homes abandoned or foreclosed, desperately needed a place where they could meet, plan events and in a way gain back their sense of community. and a new library complete with hitching posts for horses, and ensconced securely in a Leeds certified building seemed like the perfect answer. Three years later, and although the library hasn’t managed to attract as many patrons as was initially thought it would, the staff of its different departments, Circulation, Reference, and Youth Services work together to bring programs for people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.
The program was not successful in attracting the locals on it’s first run on Sunday March 15th, but it surprisingly brought people from further away. Two patrons took Palm Beach County’s less than efficient bus transportation just to attend the program, while the neighboring Acreage patrons peered in the glass doors of the large meeting room where the film was screened, glancing in curiously but not stepping inside. The lack of interest from local patrons twenty and over in movie programs, has puzzled the staff ever since the branch opened in 2012. In an area where the closest movie theater is five miles away, and with the branch’s movies available for checkout circulating at a steady pace, a movie program was believed to be what the Acreage patrons needed, but it seems not to be the case. Interestingly, children’s films seem to work well for the Youth Services department, pulling in a number between thirty and forty children, the smallest ones accompanied by parents or grandparents. However, the feature films and series for grownups, don’t seem to have the same effect.
Despite this, the Acreage Branch Library has an enthusiastic programming staff, who are more than willing to experiment through trial and error with different and innovative ideas for programming. Their gardening and craft programs attract large crowds and it is perhaps in this field where future programming will be mainly centered. However, Jankow will not give up with the movie matinee programs. “I don’t mind sitting here even if it’s by myself” he stated. “What’s important is to give even that one patron a chance to see an awesome film in a nice place, where the closest movie theater is miles away”.