Movies@TheLibrary Tool Kit

In spring 2021 - and renewed in June 2022 - Viking Library System purchased a public performance site license through Swank Movie Licensing USA for all member libraries, using regional Legacy funds. To meet state Legacy requirements, VLS will submit a region-wide report on all library movie screenings – indoors or outdoors – that fall under the license.


Member library staff assistance is needed.

Thanks for your efforts!

A Couple o’ Notes

  • The internal project name for state reporting is “Movies@TheLibrary.” You are free to call your event or series whatever you choose!

  • Be sure to use the Legacy credit lines in your publicity:

This project was funded in part or in whole with monies from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.  This program is sponsored by YOUR LIBRARY NAME HERE and Viking Library System.

The Details

  • The Swank Movie Licensing USA (Swank MLUSA) public performance site license is in effect through 30 June 2022.​

       This license permits member libraries “to exhibit Motion Pictures legally within your library facility.”

  • There is usually an additional fee for outdoor screenings on library property, although that restriction has been lifted through 31 December 2022. You must submit a request form to show movies outdoors. See the “Outdoor Movies Checklist” below for more information.

  • Some newer titles (“single event” films) require an additional fee. During the term of this license, regional Legacy funds may be used to cover the cost. Please check with Gail N. before contacting Swank.

  • Search available titles at

  • The Viking Library System Public Performance Site License (or “copyright compliance site license”) number is 201826001.

  • As of July 2022, studios covered under the Swank MLUSA license include: 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Disney PIXAR, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, NBC/Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema, Lionsgate Films, MGM, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Summit Entertainment, Focus Features, Miramax, Warner Independent Pictures, Fine Line Features, United Artists, DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Vantage and Screen Gems. To confirm whether or not a title is covered under this license, please search for the title on the Public Libraries section of the SwankMLUSA website or call 877.321.1300.

  • Movie Licensing USA also works with these studios on a title by title basis: A24, Magnolia Pictures, IFC Films, Cohen Media, Cinedigm, Good Deed Entertainment, Filmrise, Lantern Entertainment, TSI/Amazon, Bleecker Street, STX Entertainment, Monterey Media, Relativity, Samuel Goldwyn and many others. For more information on obtaining single event licensing, please order onlinecontact SwankMLUSA, or call 888.267.2658.​

  • Be aware that Swank MLUSA imposes some advertising restrictions.

From the website:

By following these simple guidelines, you can stay in compliance while promoting your event. Please note, the reason for these guidelines is to avoid direct competition with a local movie theater.
1.  Advertising Inside Your Library and to Registered Borrowers:
Within the library building, you are free to advertise the movie title, studio name and movie artwork. Artwork cannot be altered and must contain the studio’s copyright, for example: ©Walt Disney Pictures.
You are also free to advertise the movie title, studio name and movie artwork on the library’s website as well as in correspondence such as standard mailings, emails and monthly newsletters to registered borrowers/card holders of the library. The library website is considered a virtual branch of the library, allowing for such advertising.
Movie Licensing USA makes it easy to create publicity with customizable posters, bookmarks and movie tickets that are already properly copyrighted. This feature can be found on our website at Your customer number is located on your license certificate. Copyrighted movie images are also available using the movie search feature on our website. Artwork found on the MLUSA website can be used to advertise your event as long as it is not altered and includes the studio’s copyright, for example: ©Walt Disney Pictures.

2.  Advertising in Social Media
If the public library’s social media accounts are set to private, the title may be used. If the library’s social media accounts are not set to private, it is recommended the title not be included. The movie event may be promoted on the social media pages with a link to the title on the library’s website.

3.  Advertising in Public Media
If you choose to advertise through public media (such as public radio, television, or newspapers), you may do so as long as your message does not include the movie title and studio name. For example, “Join us at Anytown Library for a Neighborhood Movie Night at 7:00 pm” is permitted.

Outdoor Movies Checklist

  • Submit an event request form* to Swank MLUSA to secure permission to show the film. Per Swank, “Titles covered by the annual license are eligible for outdoor showings in most instances”(emphasis by Gail N.).

  • Reserve equipment with Gail N. Viking Library System has the following equipment available for loan to member libraries:

    • 20-foot inflatable screen

    • Data projector

    • DVD player

    • FM transmitter (Audio is transmitted directly to car radios. Yes, it’s magic.)

  • Libraries must provide the movie (DVD format) and laptop computer.

  • Note that for outdoor movies (i.e., not drive-in events), libraries will need a sound system to project audio.

* For the Swank request form, you will need to provide:

  • Library Information

    • License Number: 201826001

  • Event Information

    • Date of Showing

    • Plan for limiting attendance [maximum 200 people]

    • Screen Size: 20-foot inflatable screen (if using VLS equipment)

    • Chosen title(s)

Swank Terms & Conditions for Outdoor Events for Public Libraries (as of November 2021):

  • Showing must take place on library property and must be limited to a maximum of 200 people.

  • Event must be for library patrons and employees only.

  • Drive-up type showings are not to be offered if a commercial drive-in theatre is within 10 miles of the library.

  • Advertising Guidelines: Event must be advertised directly to library patrons via mail, email, or other direct messaging.

  • The words "drive-in" should not be used. Alternative phrases could be "Wheels and Reels" or "Carpool Cinema.”

  • If the date of the showing is delayed due to inclement weather or technical difficulties, please respond to the email approving of the original requested date with the new date of the showing.

  • It is understood that in rare instances it may be necessary for the Studio, in its sole discretion, to withdraw a movie from exhibition.

  • Single event films require additional licensing [with an additional fee].

  • COVID-19 Pandemic Safety Requirements: The library assumes 100% responsibility for ensuring lawful compliance to any legal Orders, Government mandates, or other restrictions that would relate to Outdoor Event Gatherings such as the one being contemplated via this form.