The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians through Film will be the first full-length documentary film to focus on the work and lives of librarians. Using the entertaining and appealing context of American movies, 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. Films such as Sophie's Choice, Philadelphia and It's a Wonderful Life show librarians as negative stereotypes. The librarians in Lorenzo's Oil, Desk Set and The Shawshank Redemption, on the other hand, are competent and professional. 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.
As the film unfolds, we will meet the dedicated children's librarian, the witty library director, the high-tech corporate librarian, the smart medical librarian, and and the dedicated cataloger. We visit a prison literacy program, an elementary school library and a town faced with the most severe library crisis in decades. We will show the challenges created by shrinking financial support and increased materials costs. We will encounter older librarians who have witnessed the explosion of technology and younger librarians, who were born into the information age. We will travel to large library systems with dozens of staff and visit small libraries with one librarian working alone.
The Hollywood Librarian is a unique and charming blend of film clips, humor and critical analysis of the popular image of librarians. It will create a new-found empathy for the profession by revealing the diversity of individual librarians and the importance of what they do. This documentary will increase the public's awareness of the complex and democratic nature of librarianship in the age of technology, and be a step toward librarians redefining themselves as not only more than a stereotype, but also as a cultural imperative.
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