Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beyond Books: A New Film Shows The Vital Role Public Libraries Play In New York Communities

Beyond Books: A New Film Shows The Vital Role Public Libraries Play In New York Communities
Fast Co Create: 5.27.2014 by Christine Champagne

Libraries Now: A Day in the Life (video) reveals New York City libraries are in-demand centers for community and education. Filmmakers Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks talk to Co.Create about the people they met and the surprising things they learned while filming in libraries all across the city for six months.

When filmmakers Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks saw hundreds of people waiting for the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to open at 1 p.m. on a Sunday, they wondered why the library wasn't open earlier and were inspired to do some research.

They soon learned that of the city’s 211 libraries, only eight are open at all on Sundays, which surprised them, especially given that a 2013 report from the Center for an Urban Future titled Branches of Opportunity reveals New York City libraries have seen a surge in use over the past decade, with a 46% increase in book circulation and an 88% spike in the number of people attending programs.

The filmmakers also tell the stories of teenagers who see the library as a safe haven, immigrants to whom the library is a lifeline and jobseekers who rely on the resources the library provides.

Some of the people who benefit most from the library can’t actually go to the library as we learn through a mostly homebound woman named Bonnie Sue. “Since she very rarely leaves her apartment building, she lives a life that, by many measures, is extremely isolated. But she doesn’t see it that way. She has an outlet: the Queens Village Library and the Mail-A-Book program,” says Hicks, who was inspired by the profound effect the Mail-A-Book program has had on the lives of New Yorkers like Bonnie Sue.  READ MORE !

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