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Library shares its walls with local movie goers

July 15, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - White-painted bricks are the palette for an interesting film experience in Shepherdstown. With the town's Opera House no longer showing movies, the best way now to catch a flick is to bring a lawn chair and a penchant for a warm summer night.

Over the next few weeks, three family-friendly movies will be projected onto the back of the Shepherdstown Public Library. Admission and popcorn are free.

"It's just really fun. I think it's a really nice town feeling," said Bonnie Sitman, treasurer of Friends of the Shepherdstown Library, or FOSL. "It's like having a town party."

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A couple of times a year, a FOSL committee meets to discuss which movies would be appropriate and also how to acquire the VHS tape or DVD.

"City Lights," a Charlie Chaplin film, was shown in June.

Upcoming movies are "Whale Rider" Friday, "Ice Age" on July 30 and the Disney classic "Fantasia" on Aug. 30.

All films are projected onto the back of the library and showings will begin at dusk. It's like a drive-in without the car, or a movie theater without the commercials or previews.

Because of a slight drizzle, the sensitive projector equipment had to be moved indoors to the Shepherdstown Men's Club for the "City Lights" showing. Sitman speculated that the crowd of about 25 would have been larger had the movie been played outside.

If rain falls during any of the upcoming shows, the movie will begin at the same time but will be in the Men's Club building, Sitman said.

The outdoor movie idea started last summer and more films followed indoors over the winter.

For the outdoor shows, people sit in lawn chairs behind the historic library building and munch on popcorn, which this year will be made using an old-fashioned popcorn machine.

Occasionally a bicyclist, strolling couple or dog walker will stop and take in a few minutes of the show.

That spontaneity appeals to Sitman.

"You don't have to be real quiet," she said, adding that children sometimes laugh or wander around during the film, though not in front of the screen. "It's just more of an open, fun feeling."

Movies are sponsored by FOSL and The Orange Swing, a private, nonprofit parent cooperative based in Shepherdstown.

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