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Librarians are topic of documentary to be shown at UTPA March 28
By Office of University Relations
956/381-2741
Posted: 03/12/2008
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The Hollywood Librarian is coming to The University of Texas-Pan American Friday, March 28 during its weeklong Festival of International Books and Arts (FESTIBA).


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“The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film,” will be shown at 8:15 a.m. at the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium. Admission is free and the public is invited to view the 95-minute documentary, which will also be shown to more than 300 South Texas librarians who will be on campus for FESTIBA’s Librarians Day.

Through this film the viewer will be taken on both a light-hearted and more serious ride through the history of librarians. It breaks the myth that is often seen in the movies, of librarians having nothing more to do than checkout books.

This documentary shows librarians in real life managing a business, worrying about customer service, marketing, merchandizing, etc. The film hits on some big issues with librarians – censorship, inadequate budgets, confidentiality. In this film you will meet a dedicated children's librarian, a witty library director, a high-tech corporate librarian, a smart medical librarian, and a dedicated cataloger. You will see the challenges created by shrinking financial support and increased materials costs. You will see older librarians who have watched the explosion of technology and younger librarians who were born into the information age.

Writer and director Ann Seidl came up with the idea for the film in 1995 when she was a library science student. Like many librarians she found a contrast between the ways she saw herself and her colleagues and the way librarians were portrayed in the movies. Seidl decided to make this film to combat the bad stereotypes and to prove what a noble profession librarianship is. In the process she waded through some 400 movies that portray librarians. The purpose of the documentary is to increase the public's awareness of the complex and democratic nature of librarianship in the age of technology.

The documentary, which the UTPA Library had been trying to acquire since October 2007, premiered at the American Library Association Conference in June 2007. Since then it has been shown at dozens of venues in the United States, as well as a few in Canada, England and Ireland.

FESTIBA 2008 at UTPA runs March 24-29 and celebrates the arts and humanities at the University and promotes literacy and broadens cultural awareness through books, theatre, music, arts, dance and much more. The festival, which originally started as a three-day event, has expanded to a week offering a variety of events including concerts, workshops, a Congressional Roundtable on Literacy, a Distinguished Speaker Series featuring author Denise Chavez, and a Community Day on March 29.

For more information on the film visit its Web site at http://www.hollywoodlibrarian.com/. To learn more about FESTIBA 2008, contact the UTPA College of Arts and Humanities at 956/381-2175 or visit http://www.coah.utpa.edu/festiba/.