Posted by: bluesyemre | May 29, 2019

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017)

ex libris NYPL

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library is a 2017 American documentary film about the New York Public Library (NYPL), directed by Frederick Wiseman. It was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Award.


The documentary explores the role of the NYPL as an egalitarian network of exploration, exchange and learning. There are no central characters, just a series of vignettes depicting everything from poetry to robot building. The library has 92 locations and serves each area differently according to its needs.

It includes well-known speakers such as Richard Dawkins, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello and anonymous library users throughout its foyers, annexes and meeting rooms.

The administrators who lead the library explore their challenges in serving such a diverse set of needs and Wiseman contrasts this with the diverse patrons of the library, including laptop users, researchers and the homeless.

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