Film Discussion Kits

The Chatham Area Public Library's Film Discussion Kits each focus on a topic of social justice: race, voting rights, gender and sexuality, and environmental justice.

The collection consists of five kits, each containing a DVD and discussion guide with questions, watch-alikes, ways to stream content with your library card, and paper for notes.

Supplies are contained in a plastic ArtBin with a label showcasing the enclosed film. Depending on interest and impact, the collection could adjust and grow in the future.

Advanced Planning

The goal of our Film Discussion Kits was to support community members in exploring and discussing social justice topics through documentary film viewings. One high school film viewing and discussion participant recommended, in the program evaluation, that the library host “a monthly event where participants watch a documentary [...] and then meet up to discuss it.”

The Film Discussion Kits sought to provide a similar opportunity without space and staff time requirements — an opportunity where the patron(s) could decide the time and place of the film viewing. The kits were a way to empower the community to explore topics outside of the library’s walls.

The film identification and discussion question development began as part of our Libraries Transforming Libraries (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant from ALA. Our Race, Equity, and Diversity Committee (the group charged with implementing and managing the grant) decided on film titles, ordered supplies, and added discussion questions to a Google Doc over a period of weeks.

The library’s graphic design assistant created labels for each kit. Committee members formatted and printed the pages for each kit, connected with the library’s reference librarians about content, and collaborated with technical services to get the kits ready and cataloged for eventual circulation.


At this time, our graphic design assistant is working on signage and promotional cards to share once our kits are cataloged and ready for circulation.


We used some of our LTC: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant funds to create the Film Discussion Kits. Costs went toward:

  • Physical copies (DVDs) of each film
  • Small three-ring binders
  • Tabbed dividers
  • Sheet protectors
  • Lined paper
  • Printable labels
  • Plastic ArtBins

One of the films was free of charge from Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance), so searching for more similar opportunities may be a way toward cost savings.

Day-of-event Activity

As this is a passive program, patrons can decide the time and place of their film viewing.

Program Execution

Inside each kit is a DVD (right now we have kits for "Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot" and "The Biggest Little Farm") and Film Discussion Guides. The kits also contain an insert with reminders of how the borrower is responsible for the kit and a copyright statement to clarify the viewing rights associated with the DVDs.


I would advise there to be a collaboration amongst staff regarding the film choices, compiling discussion questions, and the technical services/cataloging process. 

Supporting Materials

Slideshow Images