Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing the new documentary, The Hollywood Librarian. I truly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to both librarians and non librarians alike.
Although, as the title implies, it did focus much on the image of librarians in film and popular culture, but it also delved into the role of librarians and their importance to society. The film explores “real-life fights against censorship, implications of the USA Patriot Act, and the painful budget cuts that libraries are experiencing around the country,” explains the Wisconsin State Journal.
The Douglas County Libraries blog summarizes well one of the most moving parts of the film:
But there was one story that brought tears to my eyes. It began with the Salinas Public Library in California, the home town of John Steinbeck. After several failed attempts to win voter approval, the library ran out of money, and closed.
But that wasn’t what got to me. It was the efforts of inmates in nearby San Quentin prison to raise money to get it open again.
One young man, involved in a transformative literacy program in jail, put it like this “How can you bolster spending in prisons and take away a library? It was a shameful act, heightened by the fact that an inmate saw it, and those in free society didn’t.”
In speaking with the Wisconsin State Journal, filmmaker Ann Seidl shared that
I grew more and more determined that the American public didn’t understand what it is librarians do. What I found in my research is that people see libraries as sort of as a natural resource — like the Grand Canyon, a kind of natural phenomenon that will always be there.
What they don ‘t understand is that libraries are created by librarians.