From Public Library to Library Micro-Cinema?


Steve Fesenmaier writes "Bryson Vannostrand, a Buckhannon architect, recently attended the
ground-breaking for the new library to be built in Sutton. He designed
the new library. As the founder of WV's first micro-cinema, the Lascaux
Micro-Theater in Buckhannon, he just may be the person to bring the
micro-cinema concept to our public libraries and public libraries all
over the world. During the last decade many new micro-cinemas have been
created all over the country, ranging from NYC to California. (You can
locate any micro-cinemas by you at
this website
In 1976 WV created the last 16 mm film library in world. From then until
1997 the Film Services Division of the WV Library Commission promoted
the idea of "library cinemas" around the state, giving Singer 16 mm
projectors, take-up reels, extra bulbs, etc. to WV's 97 public library
systems to either show the 16 mm films in the library or loan them out
to schools, churches, and community groups. In 1997 WVLC merged Film
Services into its Library Services Division, removing me as director.
WVLC bought a 16 mm print of "The Apostle" in 1997, with the Moundsville
Public Library sponsoring the "world library premiere" of the film
latter. That was the last 16 mm film purchased by WVLC. Since it would
cost WVLC at least $35,000/year just to buy the public performance
rights to the feature videos it already owned, the idea was canceled. (
Recently KCPL acquired public performance rights to a collection of
family-oriented feature films for showing in its library system of 10
branches.) Since 1997 the concept of the micro-cinema has evolved and I
think that it's time for public libraries both inside the state and
elsewhere to move from "library cinema" to "library micro-cinema." Like
the Lascaux, a room in a basement with seats for about 50 people can be
used to create a high-quality film experience using current video
projection and THX home sound systems. In Charleston, the oldest
continuous film festival in the state, started at the Unitarian
Fellowship Church in 1979, has moved to video projection and good
speakers. In Charleston both the State Cultural Center and WVSC Capitol
Center have excellent video projection and sound equipment. Hopefully
Vannostand will be able to put a good micro-cinema room in the new
Sutton PL where it could be used by the WVFFF and other local groups.
Hopefully library boards and directors around the state will see that
since WV has so few local movie theaters, it's time to put some money
into film exhibition - at the library!


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