Not in Our Town: screen and discuss at your library

Last year I was contacted by Libby McInerny, who was working on a film project she thought was ripe for screening at public libraries. She had heard about The September Project, and was interested in learning more about how we operate and more importantly, how the project started. The more we chatted and shared, the more I wanted to support this important project.

She and I reconnected this year, and I’m happy to report the film is ready for viewing. From the web site:

Not in Our Town: Light In The Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming notinourtown1together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents in Patchogue, New York, ended with the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the village for thirteen years. Seven local high school students arrested for the crime admitted they were “looking for a Mexican” to beat up. Over a two-year period, Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness follows Mayor Paul Pontieri; the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero; and diverse community stakeholders—including local librarians—as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and initiate ongoing actions to ensure everyone in the village will be safe and respected. Library Journal’s 2011 Paralibrarian of the Year, Gilda Ramos, is featured in the film, along with other Patchogue-Medford librarians.”

As expected, librarians and the local library play a big part in this story. Librarians and the Patchogue-Medford Library emerge as important community resources before and after the tragedy. Not surprisingly, the project organizers are promoting this film to public libraries and others as an opportunity to spark conversations around issues that matter in our communities.

From Libby, here are four ways libraries can engage in the film project:

  • Schedule a screening and discussion of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness at your library during Not In Our Town Week of Action.
  • Encourage community partners to host screening events at your library in September and beyond.
  • Promote and participate in a “One Community/Once Book” Club.
  • Email your ideas, stories, and event announcements. They will be added to the project website, and your library might be featured in a future Not In Our Town video story.

Over the years, many libraries have organized film screenings and discussions for September Project events, and I encourage you to consider using this film as a thought-provoking activity to spark conversations in your community this Fall. The film is free, and you can learn more about the project at their project web site,