A scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

If you go

› What: 40th on Broad Movie Night, featuring “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

› When: 6 p.m. today, Oct. 6.

› Where: Chattanooga Public Library’s 4th Floor, 1001 Broad St.

Admission: Free.

› Phone: 423-643-7700.

› Website: python-and-holy-grail.

some text Monty Python co-creator John Cleese, left, with fellow actor Eric Idle in a scene from 1976's "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Other screenings

› Oct. 13: “The Bad News Bears” (adults) / “Disney’s The Rescuers” (kids)

› Oct. 20: “Car Wash” (adults) / “Freaky Friday” (kids)

› Oct. 27: “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (adults) / “Pete’s Dragon” (kids)

some text Disney's 1976 comedy "The Shaggy D.A." will be shown at the Chattanooga Public Library on the second-floor during a kids-only screening happening in parallel with the fourth-floor showing of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Tonight, Oct. 6, to kick off the 40th anniversary celebration of its Broad Street branch, the Chattanooga Public Library will merrily bang coconuts together and lob holy hand grenades with aplomb during a free screening of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

An absurdist spoof on the Arthurian tradition, the film is the first of four 1976 cinematic releases that will be shown at the library during weekly screenings through the end of the month.

"It just seemed like a really fun way to get people excited about 1976," says Jackie Anderson, the head librarian at the downtown branch, then known as the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library. "It's a great way to tie in things that were happening in popular culture, to sort of contextualize that was the year that this building opened to the public as their new downtown library."

Every Thursday through Oct. 27, the library will feature films released during America's bicentennial. Future screenings will include the Walter Matthau-led sports comedy "The Bad News Bears" (Oct. 13), the episodic comedy "Car Wash (Oct. 20) and the science-fiction drama and David Bowie vehicle "The Man Who Fell to Earth."

Selecting which movies to screen was a long process, and film buffs may notice some marquee noteworthy, and eligible, omissions from the list, including "Rocky," "Carrie" and "All the President's Men," but Anderson says the choices were selected by library staff with an eye toward thematic diversity, availability of film stock and popularity.

"There were so many movies that came out in 1976 that it was very difficult to choose which ones to show," she says. "People got super excited [about the idea], I think because... everyone has a movie from that era that is very near and dear to them."

The movies will be shown via a large projected screen in the library's Fourth Floor creative incubator. Free popcorn will be available while supplies last, and guests may either bring their own snacks or order hot or cold coffee beverages from the library's first-floor Shush Cafe.

Each Thursday night screening will happen concurrently with a kid-friendly selection — also from 1976 — that will be shown on the second floor. Parents of children 5 and older may sign them in for the movie and then enjoy a bit of alone time upstairs. Tonight's second-floor screening will be of "The Shaggy D.A.," a Disney comedy about a lawyer (Dean Jones) who transforms into a dog.

In addition to celebrating the library's decades-old home at the heart of downtown, these events are designed to showcase the wealth of programming the library has on offer and its role as a kind of cultural watering hole, Anderson says.

"The library's role is to be a place for community," she says. "We are a lot more than books. It's also a way to open up the conversation and help people remember that this building has been here for 40 years and that we have changed with the times in those 40 years. This is a fun way to celebrate that."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsVonNoog.

Other celebrations

› Friday, Oct. 21: Read-a-Thon features special guests reading passages from popular books released in 1976, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

› Saturday, Oct. 22: A DJ will spin records released during 1976 on the plaza fronting the Chattanooga Public Library’s branch on Broad Street, 1-4 p.m. Cake and punch, 2-4 p.m.

1976 in pop culture

* Movies: “Rocky,” “All the President’s Men,” “Logan’s Run,” “The Omen,” “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Carrie,” “Network,” “King Kong.”

* Music: Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive,” The Ramones’ “Ramones,” Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie,” Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak,” Rush’s “2112,” AC/DC’s “High Voltage,” The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” “Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same.”

* Books: Alex Haley’s “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire,” Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slapstick,” Richard Dawkin’s “The Selfish Gene,” Michael Crichton’s “Eaters of the Dead.”

Library timeline

1887: The Library Association is formed to provide library services to Chattanooga

1905: The Chattanooga Public Library is established at Eighth Street and Georgia Avenue (you can still see a utility cover with Public Library stamped on it in the sidewalk).

1940: Based on increasing demand, the library relocates to a new home at 601 McCallie Ave.

1974: The library is renamed the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library.

1975: Ground is broken on March 31 for a new library building on Broad Street at a site that was formerly part of the Union Railroad Station.

1976: The library’s Broad Street branch is officially dedicated on Oct. 17.

Source: Jackie Anderson, head librarian of the Chattanooga Public Library

More Info

The Chattanooga Public Library is designed to be more than just a repository of books. Much of the forward-thinking vision can be found on the 4th Floor, site of the Thursday series of movie screenings. This public laboratory and educational facility has 12,000 square feet of space to house equipment and host events that fall within the focus of information, design, technology and applied arts.

Among its resources:

* Gale Courses (formerly Learn4Life)

* Hoopla (free digital video, music, ebooks, comics and audiobooks)

* Small Business Collection (hundreds of periodicals for business schools and entrepreneurs)

* Treehouse (job training exercises and video courses)

* GigLab (using the city’s gigabit ecosystem)

* Lulzbot Taz and MakerBot Rep2 3D printers

* Laser cutter

* Vinyl plotter (cutter)

* 4K monitor

* Oculus Rift virtual-reality headsets

* Screen printing

* Chattanooga Zine Library and zine making lab

* Floor loom

* Sewing machines

* Needle felting and coloring books

* Power tools

* Hand tools

* Soldering bench

* Arduino kits (coding and electronics)

* Adobe Creative Cloud (graphic design, video editing, web development)

* Mini soft box and lights for product photography

* Agile co-working spaces with white boards, projectors, couches, tables

* Event space with sound system, stage, and presentation equipment

A Chattanooga Public Library Card is required for some services, and fees may apply. Hours on the 4th Floor are 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Call 423-643-7753 for more information.

some text The Chattanooga Public Library has been at its current location, 1001 Broad St., since 1976.

ChattanoogaNow Sections