The Hollywood Librarian (2007) debut at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Do not be fooled, this is definitely a propaganda piece, not that that’s a bad thing. Filmmaker Ann Seidl wants to promote librarians and all we offer, and plans to distribute this film by having it shown in libraries across the country during Banned Books Week in September. She even suggests charging admission since a movie about librarians should garner the same respect as any other film.
With that in mind, I have to say that this is a fairly uneven documentary. At first it’s presented as seeing librarianship through the lens of Hollywood movies. Clips of films showing dowdy, glasses and bun-wearing librarians are contrasted with interviews with actual librarians and their active roles in their libraries and community. About halfway through, the Hollywood angle is ditched and it becomes more of an advocacy piece showing various librarians persevering against political pressure. Both parts are pretty good, but they don’t mesh together well. I get the sense the filmmakers weren’t certain what kind of movie they were going to make. Watching this in a room with thousands of other librarians made it all the more entertaining, especially the clips from vintage occupational guidance films were show. Even if I were alone, there was a lot in this movie that would make me laugh, cry, and cheer. What effect it will have on the general public, I don’t know, but it’s probably worth getting it out there. I think some people may like it a lot, but I fear that it may only end up preaching to the choir.
Watch the trailer here: