March 3, 2005  

Librarian documentary obtains seed money

MADISON, Wisc. -- The producers of “The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians in Film”, a new documentary in development, announced the project has received $50,000 in seed money from a private source to enable filming to begin.  

After five years in pre-production, writer/director Ann Seidl was thrilled with the news.  “We are delighted with this generous gift,” she said. “American librarians deserve a first-rate documentary about their real value in society.”  Seidl holds a master’s in library and information science from the University of Denver.

“The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians in Film” will be the first full-length film to focus on the work and lives of librarians, in the entertaining and appealing context of American movies. American films contain hundreds of examples of librarians and libraries on screen – some positive, some negative, some laughable and some dead wrong.  Films such as “Sophie’s Choice,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Desk Set” and “The Shawshank Redemption” include cinematic librarians.  Dozens of interviews with real librarians will be interwoven with movie clips in an entertaining and enlightening treatment of such issues as intellectual freedom, equal access to information, technology in libraries, pay equity and library funding.

The film will be shot on high-definition-ready digital video and conform to theatrical and television audio and visual standards. Producers hope for a theatrical release within the next two years, depending on funding timelines and editing, to be followed by television and/or cable broadcast.  “We want this documentary to help close the ‘perception gap’ between librarians and their public,” said Seidl, adding that the value of librarians is often obscured by ignorance or stereotype of the profession.

“Librarians want to see this documentary made, and this funding will get the project out of the starting gate,” said Associate Producer Kathryn Leide. To date, producers have completed the screenplay, secured commitments from film professionals for principal cinematography and sound design, and begun the research into copyright clearance for the film clips.  Part of the preliminary financing will be used to seek full funding for the project, estimated between $1 million and $1.5 million dollars.  Additional financing for the project is being sought from foundations that fund documentary works and library corporations. More information on the documentary and its producers and supporters can be found online at