SLIC’s Film Education Manager Louise Donoghue has helped to set up film clubs in six local authorities across Scotland. Showing everything from family favourites to westerns, SLIC’s Film Clubs help bring communities together. Here Louise talks about the pioneering project in more depth.


The Film Education in Scottish Libraries project has now been running for fourteen months in twelve participating libraries across Edinburgh, South Ayrshire, The Western Isles, Falkirk, Midlothian and North Lanarkshire.

The great group of librarians that I have been working with have shown lots of enthusiasm for the project – setting up the film clubs (with support and training) as well as holding screenings and discussion groups in their libraries.  

Most screenings are monthly but due to popularity in some areas they are holding fortnightly screenings and pop up events. So far, we’ve organised a wide variety of films for different audiences. As well as screenings for older audiences, the under 5s and young people not in employment or education, there have also been events for families, ethnic minorities, women and people with additional support needs. 

Films & Communities

Our film clubs are all about communities. For many children in the audience our screenings are their first cinematic experience while some older attendees haven’t enjoyed a trip to the movies in twenty or thirty years. A few people come along to see films they wouldn’t usually choose but love the community aspect of the screening and end up enjoying the films.

Back in March I organised a series of special archive film events for SLIC film clubs in places like the Western Isles and Wester Hailes. Events like these start discussions and pull communities together. We’re also keen to make sure people realise just how much local public libraries offer and many of our film clubs work with local partners to encourage people to visit the library.

Looking Ahead

Now, with the clubs well established in their local areas, audiences are starting to take a more active role in selecting films and having their say in discussions. They let the library staff know what sort of genres they enjoy and suggest film titles for future screenings, which is fantastic.

A few of the film education projects don't stick to the traditional film club model. For instance, North Lanarkshire are working specifically with local nurseries to introduce film education to the under 5s. Meanwhile, a film practitioner is working with groups and prison library staff at Polmont Young Offenders Institute – looking at what works and what doesn’t in a prison setting. As part of the larger project, we will be introducing film making activity later this month and are currently purchasing a kit for Edinburgh Libraries.

You can find out more about the project and find a list of the individual film clubs on our Film Education page. I’ll be blogging about the great events and screenings happening in Scottish libraries in the weeks to come too.