GREAT BARRINGTON >> The Claire Teague Senior Center on Saturday will host the first in a series of films sponsored by the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries.
"This film series is our first attempt to bring library programming out of the libraries to reach a larger audience," said group President Ed Abrahams, in a statement to The Eagle. "We have hosted monthly documentaries at both libraries for the last six years."
The library's programming has been expanding in recent years.
In Great Barrington, the Mason Library has maintained open hours seven days a week for years. In Housatonic, the Ramsdell Library expanded its hours to Sundays last winter for the first time — a wildly popular program that will be repeated this year. The film series at the senior center is the first time that the libraries have expanded their programming off campus.
The film series, which is free and open to the public, kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday with "Here Come the Videofreex." The film is a documentary about the counterculture movement in New York City in the 1960s and 70s. The film uses archival footage shot by the eponymous "freex," an underground video archival group.
After the film the audience is invited to stay for a group discussion about the film. Refreshments will be served and the event will run until 9 or 10 p.m.
The discussion is an integral part of the program, said Abrahams, who believes that bringing the film series out of the libraries is integral to the health of the institution going forward.
"We want to reach out to a larger audience of people," Abrahams said. "Instead of attracting people to the buildings, we want to bring library services to the people."
The film series will continue every month on the first Saturday through December. The two other upcoming films are "Outermost Radio" on Nov. 5 and "91%" on Dec. 3.
"Outermost Radio" is about the independent radio station WOMR on Provincetown. "91%" is a film on the lack of legislative action on gun control despite a overwhelming public support for tighter restrictions.
The films were chosen to provoke discussion, Abrahams said. He added that they were intended to be uplifting, not depressing, and to provoke a more meaningful and positive conversation.
"We are trying to bring people together for discussion," Abrahams said. "An in-person and respectful discussion rather than semi-anonymous snipes from the safety of a keyboard."