Visit the library, you should

1977: a long time ago. Omaha, Nebraska: might as well be a galaxy far, far away. In a cavernous mid-century modern Cinerama theater, I saw “Star Wars” (later known as “Episode IV: A New Hope”) for the first time. I was 10 years-old and completely enthralled by the story, the characters and the ground-breaking special effects. For the rest of that year my friends and I played with our cheap Kenner action figures and made up all sorts of Star Wars stories. Everybody wanted to be Han.

Of course, my little suburb of Omaha was not the only place affected by this film. The blockbuster changed the way movies are made, marketed, and merchandized. In the years since its release there have been sequels, prequels, animated television shows, and an empire’s worth of merchandise. In the lingo of Hollywood, the Star Wars franchise has legs. Soon “The Force Awakens” will open in theaters, and in a bit of deju vu, I will be going with my child to his first big screen Star Wars experience.

Whether you are a new fan to the Star Wars universe, or you were there from the start, the library has much to offer. A quick keyword search of “Star Wars” in our catalog reveals over 250 books, e-books, audiobooks, DVDs, and videogames. I will highlight just a few that I have recently read or viewed but I invite you to explore our collections on your own.

In addition to all of the feature films on Blu-ray and DVD we have the first five seasons of the well-regarded “Clone Wars” animated television series. Even if you have avoided the “expanded universe” (the materials outside of the feature films) I suggest you give Season One a try. Note that even though this is animated, some of the content is a bit dark and the battle scenes can be intense. You may want to avoid showing this to very young children.

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise by Chris Taylor. This well-researched account of how Star Wars went from a few notes scribbled by George Lucas to the international juggernaut it is today is a fascinating read. It not only covers the films themselves but also delves into the novels, the video games, fan culture and more. If you have even a passing interest in movie making or pop culture I highly recommend this book.

Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess and Goodnight Darth Vader all by Jeffrey Brown: this trio of graphic novels all tackle the same question: what if Darth Vader had taken an active role in parenting Luke and Leia? The panels are hilarious, sweet, and sometimes poignant. These books are appropriate for all ages but they are perhaps best for nerdy parents (not that I would know anything about that).

For those super-fans out there the library will be holding a trivia competition based on the films on Friday, December 18 at 6:00 p.m. Best of luck to all who attend (although Obi Wan claims there’s no such thing as luck).

Visit us soon and remember: The Force will be with you…always.

(Image of the now-demolished Indian Hills Cinemara Theater posted by IHTCentrum on the website under a Creative Commons license)

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