April 3-9, 2022 marks National Library Week. Celebrate libraries and librarians by “checking out” (get it?) one of these excellent films in Duke Libraries’ collection:
Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis. In a society where everything is commercial, where time is limited, where transmission is devalued, there is a place of gratuitousness and encounter where all kinds of people, cultures, practices meet, where we constantly fight inequalities and social violence, a place of sharing, a refuge, an island. Quietly, joyfully, something important is being made here, invisible to the hurried or accounting gaze: the development of a new social contract.
Ex Libris: New York Public Library
“I’ve always loved and used public libraries for what I can learn and discover and for the surprises and stimulation they offer. I was not familiar, before I made the film, with the depth, scope and range of the New York Public Library and the wide range of services they provide to all classes, races and ethnicities in the main library and its 92 branches.” — Frederick Wiseman
Out of Print
Every aspect of the written word is changing—from publishing to writing and selling to reading. If books are the foundation of civilization, how does that change the world of ideas? And how does it change us? With the unique perspective gained as a director at the Library of Congress and the UC Berkeley Library, filmmaker Vivienne Roumani tackles the questions confronting today’s word industry and shows that much more is at stake than how quickly we can access the latest byte. Out of Print is narrated by Meryl Streep and features Jeff Bezos, Scott Turow, Ray Bradbury, Jeffrey Toobin, Robert Darnton, Jane Friedman, Alberto Manguel, booksellers, cognitive scientists, architects, educators, parents, and students.
For more than 40 years, the Lesbian Herstory Archives has combated lesbian invisibility by literally rescuing history from the trash. The Archivettes provides a comprehensive look at the history of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, the personal lives of the women involved in it, and the materials it protects and the challenges arising as the founders face their final years. The Lesbian Herstory Archives began in 1974, when a group of women involved in the Gay Academic Union realized that lesbian history was disappearing as quickly as it was being made. It is now home to the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities.
Save and Burn
The first half of the film discusses the history of libraries and how they have facilitated the cross fertilization of ideas from one culture to another throughout history. The second half switches focus towards libraries in the political realm, including a discussion of the fate of libraries and their collections during periods of social unrest. Topics in this portion include the Patriot Act, the destruction of Palestinian libraries by Israeli soldiers, and the fate of Iraqi libraries during the country’s “liberation.”
Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record
This award-winning documentary tells the unforgettable story of the deterioration and destruction of our world’s intellectual heritage and the global crisis in preserving library materials. Sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources. Millions of pages of paper in books, photographs, drawings, and maps are disintegrating and turning to dust. This remarkable film provides a comprehensive assessment of the worldwide situation, demonstrates methods of restoration and preservation and suggests ways to prevent new documents from facing ultimate destruction.
Change the Subject
No human being is illegal. When Dartmouth College students challenged anti-immigrant language in the Library of Congress, their activism sparked a movement–and a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.
Films curated by Danette Pachtner, Librarian for Film, Video & Digital Media and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies