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DCA Archive

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman’s new film goes behind the walls of one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world, revealing it as a place of welcome, cultural exchange and learning.

With 92 branches throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, the library is committed to being a resource for all the inhabitants of this multifaceted and cosmopolitan city, and visitors from further afield. The New York Public Library is one of the most democratic institutions in America – everyone is welcome. It strives to inspire learning, advance knowledge and strengthen communities, and Wiseman's film quietly explores and observes the buildings and the people who use them – don’t miss contributions from Patti Smith and Elvis Costello, who deliver fascinating talks at two of the Library’s branches.

If you enjoyed Wiseman’s National Gallery – a sell-out hit at DCA in 2015 – you’ll be happy to find Ex Libris shares its unobtrusive style. With no distracting narration, Wiseman lets us eavesdrop on staff meetings and customer enquiries (“...a unicorn is actually an imaginary animal”) and form our own thoughts about libraries and their unique role in contemporary life.

Please note: Ex-Libris will start promptly at 14:00. Please give yourself time to arrive and get your seat so you don't miss a minute of this wonderful new documentary.