A big round of applause to all those people who helped organise the screening of the Hollywood Librarian at the Capital Theatre in Melbourne last night. Ann Seidl's documentary covers a lot of ground, including the very real issues of library funding, and the fight US librarians had to ensure free unmonitored access to information. As an aside, it is telling that the US government spends much the same amount of money on libraries in one year as it does in Iraq and Afghanistan in one week. On a lighter note, the documentary is often very funny, especially when it uses old Hollywood films to explore librarian stereotypes. It is amazing how many films have featured librarians!
However, the most poignant, but also uplifting moments came when listening to the inmates of the San Quentin prison. If ever there is was an example of how libraries and reading can impact on peoples lives, it was listening to these guys talk about how the literacy classes, organised by the local librarian, had empowered them. Particularly moving was the inmate who had raised money (and got publicity) to help the save the Salinas Public Library from closure.
We should all be grateful that Ann Seidl took and the time and effort (and it took a lot of effort) to make this documentary and if it screening in a cinema near you - GO AND SEE IT.