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HomeArts/LeisureAPSU screens 'Hollywood Librarian'

APSU screens ‘Hollywood Librarian’

Ann Seidl’s documentary film, The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film will be screened at Austin Peay State University Sunday, September 30 at 6 p.m. and again on Monday, October 1 at 4 p.m. in the Morgan Student Center, Room 303. Apsu is one of 87 sites in the United States and Canada to present this film. APSU’s Woodward Library is coordinating the event.

The screenings are being offered in tandem with a celebration of ‘intellectual freedom” known as Banned Books Week, which begins today and runs through October 6. This film includes perspectives on the controversial Patriot Act, views of the burning of John Steinbeck books in the 1930s, and an interview with Author Bay Bradbury.

This 2007 film examines the work of more than 60,000 librarians working in the United States. Libraries welcome more than one billion visitors a year.

The film includes stereotypical images of librarians from vintage and modern film: Sophie’s Choice, Philadelphia and It’s a Wonderful Life offer negative images of librarians, while movies such as the Shawshank Redemption, Desk Set (photo, left with ‘librarian’ Katherine Hepburn) and Lorenzo’s Oil offer a calm, competent, professional view of librarians.

“…the film will hold some surprises for people who may think they know what librarians do. American film contains hundreds of examples of librarians and libraries on screen — some positive, some negative, some laughable and some dead wrong… Dozens of interviews of real librarians will be interwoven with movie clips of cinematic librarians and serve as transitions between the themes of censorship, intellectual freedom, children and librarians, pay equity and funding issues, and the value of reading”

— The Hollywood Librarian

As the film unfolds, viewers meet a dedicated children’s librarian, a high-tech corporate librarian, a medical librarian, and a cataloger. Viewers visit a prison literacy program, an elementary school library and a town faced with the most severe library crisis in decades. The film inspects the challenges created by shrinking financial support and increased materials costs.

The Hollywood Librarian introduces older librarians who have witnessed the explosion of technology and younger librarians, who were born into the information age, traveling to large library systems with dozens of staff and visit small libraries with one librarian working alone.

Beginning with the history of information organization – Hypatia and the Library of Alexandria – it then touches on Andrew Carnegie, Melvil Dewey, and early female library professionals. Moving on into the 21st century, the documentary shows audiences the challenges of book censorship, and most of all, declining library funding.

The documentary was filmed around the country from March 2005 through February 2006. The librarians in the movie are aged 24 through 85, and have a diversity of ethnic background, library position, and geographic location (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin).

The film was written and directed by Ann M. Seidl, who holds an M.A. in Library and Information Services from the University of Denver. The film was produced with a $185,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and with $25,000 in contributions from librarians.

Cost to attend is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and children. The film is suitable for young adult and up, and runs 95 minutes.

For information about “The Hollywood Librarian,” call APSU’s Woodward Library by at 221-7346, or go online to documentary’s Web site, www.hollywoodlibrarian.com.


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