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Rincon Branch of the Livermore Public Library to Present "It's a REEL World After All: Teens Making Movies" at ALA Poster Session in June

Logo for the program “REEL FOCUS: Teen Learning through Video Creativity”
[Logo design courtesy 
Karl Pontau]


“Reel Focus: Teen Learning through Video Creativity,” a filmmaking program for low-income teens, developed by staff at the Rincon Branch of the Livermore Public Library, and funded by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, is an innovative project from which people who work in the nation’s public libraries can learn. Donna Pontau, former Rincon Branch Manager, was so sure her national colleagues would want to know about “Reel Focus” she proposed "It's a REEL World After All: Teens Making Movies” to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) for a poster session at the 2008 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Anaheim June 30.

Jason Ryder, Reel Focus Instructor and filmmaker, instructs students before a cascade shoot. (A cascade shoot is an exercise where students change crew positions every scene so that each receives experience in all positions.) [Photo courtesy of Mary Sue Nocar]

Pontau had the right idea. YALSA and ALA selected the Rincon Branch’s proposal -- an honor for a California public library.

Sandy Fouts, part of the team who 
wrote the Reel Focus grant, and 
Mary Sue Nocar, Program Coordinator
[Photo courtesy Eileen Contento]

Mary Sue Nocar, Supervising Librarian at the Rincon Branch, is now overseeing the program and says of the ALA tribute, “We’re thrilled to be going to ALA and to be sharing information about how we organized ‘It's a REEL World After All: Teens Making Movies.’ We’re looking forward to showing other public libraries how a local library can offer 5th through 12th grade students from low-income families opportunities they might not find elsewhere.”

“Not only do our kids get to work with high-tech and costly filmmaking equipment, they also learn study skills,” Nocar says. “While making films, they write, plan, organize, edit, and outline. They also speak before groups, and use math to calculate tables and costs.” Nocar says that by June the Rincon Branch will be able to show ALA-attendees films of the kids at work, “a really exciting component of our poster session,” she says.

The Rincon Branch team named their ALA program "It's a REEL World” as a friendly nod to “It’s a Small World,” the legendary ride at the 2008 Conference’s Anaheim neighbor, Disneyland.

For more information about the 2008 ALA Annual Conference, please visit





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