Ex Libris

Ex Libris

The New York Public Library

DVD - 2017
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Frederick Wiseman's film, Ex Libris- the New York Public Library, goes behind the scenes of one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world and reveals it as a place of welcome, cultural exchange and learning. With 92 locations throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, the library is committed to being a resource for all the inhabitants of this diverse and cosmopolitan city, and beyond. The New York Public Library exemplifies the deeply rooted American belief in the individual's right to know and the be informed. It is one of the most democratic institutions in America-everyone is welcome. The Library strives to inspire learning, advance knowledge and strengthen communities.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Zipporah, [2017]
ISBN: 9781885918383
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (205 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
digital,optical,surround,Dolby digital
video file,DVD video,region All
Alternative Title: The New York Public Library


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Aug 14, 2019

Frederick Wiseman has done more than 40 documentaries since his famous first item on a Massachusetts insane asylum, "Titicut Follies" (1967).
His interest appears to be in how public institutions are run, rather than what's in them and his style, developed in the 60's is strictly observational with no comments by him.
In this one on the New York Public Library, the observation is on how a library has changed from being a "depository of knowledge" to being a social institution that will attract the maximum number of people. Consequently the film mostly concentrates on meetings of the library board where discussions about funding are paramount. I am sure that most libraries in North America pretty much follow the procedures illustrated here.
That being the modus operandi, this one is not as interesting as his famous earlier ones, "High School" and "Hospital" as it is somewhat more one dimensional.

Jul 27, 2018

One star because I didn't get the library tour I thought i'd get. I never enjoyed listening to speeches and attending board meetings in my working life, so why would I spend 3 1/2 hours in my retirement years? I actually did watch and listen to the first 10 minutes of a dry speech, then began the fast forwarding, hopping in and out of real time now and then at spots that seemed to hint at something watchable. I finished the movie in something like 20 minutes total, having never spent a moment inside a public area of the library, and no wiser than before. A total waste of time for someone who wishes to learn about the history, collections and rooms of the New York Public Library!!!! Very disappointing!!! Kristi & Abby Tabby


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