The American Library Association – Young Adult Library Services Association (ALA-YALSA) recently recognized the Ak-Chin Community Library’s Movie Club as a Top 10 summer learning program. The association spotlights programs around the country that are using creative ways to keep kids reading.
The Ak-Chin Indian Community Library Movie Club started as a summer program in 2011 with a small group of about 10 to 12 kids. “The library staff wanted to give Ak-Chin children the opportunity to express themselves and build self-confidence,” said librarian Jeff Stoffer. The library staff also wanted to encourage kids age 12 and up to continue reading – something that children often lose interest in as they approach the teen years. The ability to read and write scripts is a fundamental element of the Movie Club, Stoffer notes, which was a deciding factor in ALA-YALSA choosing the program as an award recipient.
Starting out, the Movie Club evolved from a library reading program called Terror Tuesday, where kids would listen to readings of the Skeleton Creek book series by Patrick Carmen, accompanied by spooky videos. The group would then discuss how they could make the videos more frightening, which led to creating the club’s first movie, “Diebrary.” Diebrary was popular among those who saw it at the library and on YouTube, leaving people to wonder what the library movie group kids would create next. The Movie Club continued to meet and make new films.
Ak-Chin Library YouTube Presents: Diebrary
Originally the Movie Club had one camera and a dated laptop and they would edit footage on an old laptop. Using creativity and what they had to work with the Ak-Chin Library made the first horror movie created at a library in the country. During this early period, the library made movies and started to build relationships with other departments in the community to help make films.
Now the Movie Club has more than 150 videos on YouTube ranging from short films to library commercials. In 2012, the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library secured funds to purchase a computer, professional camera and video editing program for the club’s use. This helped to grow the organization to what it is now. Over the years, 150 kids have participated and the club now regularly sees about 30 children during its weekly meetings.
The Movie Club is the longest-running program at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library and it is so popular that other Ak-Chin Indian Community departments now ask the Movie Club to make documentaries for them. This allows the Movie Club to contribute to the Community while also cultivating an interest in reading among its young members.
If you would like to view some of the creative videos created by The Ak-Chin Indian Community Library Movie Club visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY0aVZh0vqF2OezcMik-f9A.