Movie ratings

Both the Blooming Prairie and Owatonna libraries have a number of movie screenings coming up in the next month — Blooming Prairie is launching its winter movie series Jan. 23, and showing a recent release almost every Thursday through the end of February. Owatonna hosts screenings twice a month, with an older film shown on the second Thursday of the month and a newer movie presented on the fourth Thursday year-round. (Press file photo)

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — New show times have been announced at the Blooming Prairie Branch Library, as the community hub gears up for its winter movie series starting Thursday.

According to library technician Laura Larson, the seasonal tradition is a relatively recent addition to the branch’s event calendar, started a couple years back in response to community feedback. Now, she said, it’s a good way to get visitors in the door and seeing what else the library has to offer.

“It brings them all into the library. After they’re done, they come in and read the newspaper. A lot of them will ask to get the movie so they can bring it home to their husband,” she explained.

The branch has also gotten new blinds for its community room in preparation for the screenings, after Larson noted the old ones were letting a little too much light in. While Blooming Prairie’s cold weather series will run almost every week through the end of February, the Owatonna Public Library will continue to offer films year-round on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month.

Cassie Gilgenbach, reference librarian at the Owatonna location, said her branch has been having its bimonthly screenings for roughly a decade, getting between 10 and 20 viewers in each time. For her program, she noted that attendance drops a bit during the colder months, although it’s been on the rise within the last year thanks to Deb Praus — a desk assistant who has recently taken over running the screenings.

While there are no formal film discussions accompanying movies at either branch, both Gilgenbach and Larson noted that residents often chat together after viewings to break down what they’ve seen.

“It’s more informal, but there’s definitely a little bit of chatting and Deb tries to bring something fun to it,” said Gilgenbach. “She sometimes has popcorn, which is good, and she brought pompoms for the ‘Poms’ movie about cheerleaders.”

When choosing titles, Gilgenbach said she selects an older movie — usually from the 1960s or before — for the second Thursday of the month, and a recent release for the fourth Thursday.

With Blooming Prairie’s winter series, all of the films are ones that have come out within the past year, and Larson said there’s also often a snack of some sort. The branch will be kicking things off with the Garland biopic “Judy” next week on Jan. 23. After that, the list includes “The Peanut Butter Falcon” on Jan. 30, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” on Feb. 6, “Downton Abbey” on Feb. 20 and “Harriet” on Feb. 27.

Each movie will start at 1 p.m. at the Blooming Prairie Branch Library, located at 138 Highway Ave. S.

“The Peanut Butter Falcon,” a story about a young man with Down syndrome who runs away to become a professional wrestler, will also be playing at the Owatonna Public Library, located at 105 Elm Ave. N., on Jan. 23. Movies in Owatonna start at 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month in the third-floor Gainey Room.

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