Blogger Claudia Wayland

Drive-In Movies at the Library

Drive-In Movie

Collect some book boxes. Gather markers, plates, paper, glue and other craft supplies. Pick out some short movies or TV episodes that you have the license to screen publicly. Get ready to host a drive-in movie at your library!

The creative librarians at my library hosted a Drive-In Movie event for ages 3 and up last week.  During our Drive-In Movie, we intended to fill an hour and a half by offering the supplies needed to create cardboard cars and a few movies to watch while sitting in the crafty works of art. The result? The participants LOVED it.

To prepare we asked our Technical Services staff to save shipping boxes from our book vendor. We stored them near one of the librarian’s desk; she had a cardboard fortress around her work space for several months. We provided small plates for wheels and other craft supplies so the children could decorate their cars. When promoting the event in our Summer Reading Club brochure, we let caregivers know that we would be able to accommodate a maximum of 80 people in our Children’s Program Room – including adults and siblings. The room could hold more people, but the attendees need space to move around.

The day of the Drive-In, we distributed the tickets at our Children’s Desk 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. All the tickets were taken within five minutes! We opened the Children’s Program Room doors at the start time, and the children began customizing their cardboard box cars. Some older children decorated cars and folded themselves into the boxes. This activity was fun for everyone, and we had enough boxes for everyone who wanted to decorate a car.

We decided to show short movies that would allow families to leave early if the children needed a break or were ready to go. Overall the program was a huge success. We will definitely do this again.




  1. Polly

    Amazing idea! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Renee Perron

    I agree with showing a short movie. I hosted a Drive-In Movie Theatre program at my library last year and had a great time. Most of the time is spent decorating the cardboard box cars. I was glad I showed a short movie – 40 minutes because I thought having a program with 1 hour of craft time and then a 1 1/2 – 2 hour movie would just be too long for the young kids and families.
    It was hard to find a good short movie for young kids on our movie licensing agreement though.

  3. Sarah

    I love this idea! How long did you allow for decorating before starting the movie?

    1. Claudia Wayland

      Hi, Sarah – we allotted 1.5 hours total for the program. About the first half (45 minutes) was spent decorating the cardboard cars.

  4. Jessica

    Awesome! Do you have any suggestions for movies? I’m planning a similar program and am having a hard time finding quality short movies. Any advice welcome!

    1. Emma

      I hope this is useful

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