Young adult programs

In Technicolor

Length of Program

Two hours.

Program Description

Movies and moviemaking can attract teens to the library. Show short films and host a discussion about movies and the film industry. If possible, develop a library film festival and host a series of films. Advertise the program on an invitation to the “Library Oscars™”. Teens might even present their own “Oscars™” at the end of the festival, giving out awards for “best picture,” “best comedy,” “dumbest performance,” etc. Offer popcorn and other “movie treats” as refreshments.


Involve teens in the selection of several short films. Give them guidelines regarding length and rating code. Read the section below on copyright to determine if it is legal for your library to show the films the teens select. If you cannot show films, as an alternative you could have the teens see movies at local theaters or at home and participate in “Siskel and Ebert” critiques of the films at the library.


Follow copyright law for all films shown at the library. Use videos with public performance rights, films that are in the public domain, or purchase a site license that allows the library to show "home use" videos.

Annual movie license pricing is based on registered patrons and is often less expensive than it would be to rent just a few movies. For example, an annual license for a library with 5,000 registered patrons costs $250 and covers most movie studios, including Buena Vista Films and Dreamworks. The average cost for a year of movies is about five cents per patron. Contact Movie Licensing USA at or call 1-888-267-2658 for details.

Early comedies like The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Our Gang are in the public domain. Several businesses that sell films that are in the public domain also provide lists of films that, to the best of their knowledge, are in the public domain. Try Desert Island Films at Although they do not sell videos to individuals, you may use their list to determine if a film is free of copyright restrictions.

You may not have access to videos with public performance rights and may not be able to afford to buy a license. However, your library may have a 16mm film projector and classic films that are in the public domain, or your library may own films with public performance rights that can be shown without violation of copyright. For today’s very technologically savvy teens, 16mm is a lot of fun. Show some of the scenes in reverse!


Decorate the bulletin board and teen area with movie posters, lobby cards, photographs of stars, and other movie memorabilia. Ask local theaters and video stores for extras or purchase items from Suncoast’s Texas stores or online at or through Take 1 at


Host a film club in which the teens make their own movie over several weeks. At the first meeting, talk about what is involved in making a movie. Invite a local filmmaker, teacher, or writer to discuss scriptwriting. Display books on scriptwriting and making movies. The teens would make simple sets, costumes, and props, or you could provide them. One teen could direct, one could select the cast, one could help with costumes, and of course, some could be actors. After videotaping the film, get help editing it, adding music and screen credits. Check with the school district, cable company, or a local photography shop for help. You do not need to be an expert at this—the teens will figure it out. When the video is finished, have a premier showing for friends and family to view the final product. Making Digital Videos by Ben Long is an ideal guide for learning to make video movies.

Books to Display

  • Break a Leg! The Kids’ Guide to Acting and Stagecraft by Lise Friedman.
  • Movie Science: 40 Mind-Expanding, Reality-Bending, Starstruck Activities for Kids by Jim Wiese.
  • Special Effects by Jake Hamilton.
  • Steven Spielberg: Crazy for Movies by Susan Goldman Rubin.
  • The Young Producer’s Video Book by Nancy Bentley and Donna W. Guthrie.

Books to Booktalk

  • Miranda Goes to Hollywood by Jane Kendall.
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers.
  • My Life, Take Two by Paul Many.
  • Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy by Wendelin Van Draanen.
  • Violet and Claire by Francesa Lia Block.

Group Activities

Encourage teens to write reviews of movies that are currently showing in the theater or that are available on video or DVD at the library or local video store. Post the reviews on a bulletin board or the library’s Web site. Teen Ink, a print magazine, hosts a Web site at and accepts submissions of reviews written by teens. Encourage teens in your community to submit reviews.

Distribute the Movie Match Up game sheet (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) to challenge teens to test their knowledge of movie jargon.

Movie Match Up Answer Key:

1. (k) 2. (n) 3. (l) 4. (a) 5. (m) 6. (j) 7. (i) 8. (c) 9. (b) 10. (g) 11. (o) 12. (d) 13. (h) 14. (3) 15. (f)

Early movie making was based on zoetrope technology. A zoetrope is a drum containing still images. As the drum moves, the picture appears to be moving because our eyes retain the image for ten seconds. Making a zoetrope is easier than it sounds and instructions are included in several books or on the Internet at or

Zoetrope drum with images of horses

Web-Based Activities

Attack of the 50-foot Chicken
You are the visual effects supervisor for the movie “Attack of the 50-foot Chicken” and you have to mastermind the effects to get the perfect shot. Play online or download to your computer.

Movie Mistakes
Did you catch the person wearing a digital watch as he boarded a lifeboat in Titanic? Or did you catch the area code change when Alexa gave Justin Kelly’s phone number in From Justin to Kelly? These are just a few of the continuity, audio or script problems, equipment errors, or other problems that can be seen in movies. Teens love reading to find the mistakes in their favorite films.

Titanic: What’s Real?
Test your ability to figure out what is real and what effects are computer generated from the movie, Titanic.

Web Sites

NOVA Online Special Effects

Reel Time Timeline


Youth Learn


Serve movie foods like popcorn and nachos. Buy small packages of candies from warehouse stores like Sam’s.

Audio Recordings

  • The Best of Movie Music, Vol. 1 by the London Pops Orchestra.
  • Movie Magic by Elaine Scott.

Videos to Display

  • Behind the Scenes with King Kong in Special Effects. (33 minutes)
  • The Flintstones: Hooray for Hollyrock. (50 minutes)


KidPix Deluxe 3.


  • Entertainment Weekly.
  • Movie Maker Magazine.

Professional Resources

Making Digital Videos by Ben Long.


Texas Reading Club 2004 Programming Manual / Color Your World...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011