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Develop Community Partnerships to Amplify

Film & Media Programs 

Librarians in school, public, and academic contexts have all been more outward-facing in their outreach efforts over the past 15 years. There have been programs that connect academic libraries and public libraries as well as specialized outreach to labor unions, day care providers, high school students, elders, and art and cultural organizations. 


Public film screenings enable public, school and academic libraries to meet the needs of all people in their community—including those who can’t, don’t, or don’t like to read. They enable libraries to magnify their influence, through active efforts at community outreach that takes the pulse of all citizens, young and old.


In CHAPTER 6, you'll learn about how, through informal learning at the library that occurs with support from media artists and technology professionals, teens gain valuable technology and workforce development skills by creating a variety of digital media projects, including music, videos, blogs, and podcasts. You'll learn about how libraries develop partnerships with film festivals, independent film producers and community-based organizations.  Partnerships of all kinds, including those with funders and supporters, are vital in keeping libraries alive and thriving.  

Best Practices of Library Film & Media Partnerships


  • Join existing community coalitions and networks.

  • Plan meetings with community leaders to determine local needs and resources.

  • Target local journalists, broadcasters, filmmakers, and arts groups to gather ideas about their work and interests.

  • Identify local groups and potential community partners working on issues where film programming might be used to promote dialogue.

  • Start small: build from existing relationships and add more over time.



  • Conduct focus groups to stay aware of community needs and identify film preferences and programming.

  • Organize a Film Programming Committee with staff, film aficionado pa- trons, media professionals, and interested others. Include responsible and interested library representatives and individuals and organizations that are well connected to the community.



  • Meet face to face with partner decision makers to brainstorm and discuss possibilities.

  • Using collaborative brainstorming and decision-making processes, find a project that appeals to all partners.

  • Develop a clear goal for each partnership. What do you want it to achieve? What does each party bring to the table? How does each partner benefit?

  • Use bullet points, simple language, and no more than 10 points to describe your vision and purpose.



  • Identify the responsibilities and expectations for each partner.

  • Use the most effective communication strategies for the group (email, shared planning documents, online or in-person meetings, etc.).

  • Communicate your progress and share your perceptions with partners.

  • Celebrate the accomplishments of your partners.

  • Plan internally about next steps for the relationship.

  • Thank your partner in writing, in meetings, in public, early and often! 

Learn more about other best practices of film & media literacy education in public, school and academic libraries:

Hobbs, R., Deslauriers, L. & Steager, P. (2019). The Library Screen Scene: Film and Media Literacy in Schools, Colleges and Communities. New York: Oxford University Press.

At the small Everson Branch Library in the state of Washington, the warm and inviting space of the Nooksack Valley Heritage Center (NVHC) continues to fulfill its purpose of actively engaging community members around their own local history.


Volunteers use digital technology to help patrons digitize documents, cassettes, and VHS tapes, and to record their own personal life stories.


Volunteers help patrons with genealogical research on, a database made available throughout the Whatcom County Library System branches.

Another volunteer oversees and updates the display cabinet, refreshing the historical artifacts every quarter. NookChats, a monthly program hosted by local historian Jim Berg features special guests who talk about Nooksack Valley heritage.


The Chats are videotaped and made available on YouTube, thus augmenting the Nooksack Valley historic record by creating and preserving oral interviews. Raw footage is uploaded to YouTube; edited sessions are also shown on local TV.

Community History Comes Alive

Community Heritage and History
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