I’ll be honest, until this year I had never participated in a book club. In theory, they’re right up my alley. I work at a library. I’ve always worked in bookstores. Reading = good. Discussions = good. But joining a book club can be a little intimidating.
Apart from leaving the comfort of my home, which as a rule I only leave to work or shop for groceries, it’s a time commitment. There are only 24 hours in a day, and when eight of those are spent playing video games, time just gets away from you. Who knew?
For those of you in a similar time crunch — legitimate or self-imposed — the Lawrence Public Library is launching its first documentary club, Doc Discussions. It’s as easy as “book” clubs get. Step one: an hour and a half (more or less) commitment to watch one of the best documentaries around. Step two: Come talk about it for an hour at the library. Doesn’t get more efficient than that.
Or does it?
Thanks to Kanopy it does. Kanopy is a wonderful (relatively) new addition to LPL’s online streaming services that brings thousands of documentaries right to you. It’s a curated collection of over 30,000 films that comes with free 24-hour access to some fantastic documentaries, foreign films, and Criterion Collection classics.
How do I access all this bounty, you ask?
On Aug. 2, Doc Discussions had its unofficial kick-off with our screening of the acclaimed documentary "I Am Not Your Negro" and the amazing panel discussion that followed.
For our first official screening and chat, we’ll be watching "To Be Takei" on Saturday, September 16. It’s a delightful look at the life of Star Trek’s George Takei and a very entertaining yet poignant exploration of race, gay rights, celebrity and the power of positivity. So watch with us. Can’t make the screening? No problem; remember, you can access Kanopy at home 24/7. Either way, come to Doc Discussions' inaugural meeting right after the film. See you there!
"To Be Takei" will screen from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 16. The Doc Discussion meeting will take place directly afterwards from 5 to 6 p.m.
-Ian Stepp is an information services assistant at the Lawrence Public Library.