The Hollywood Librarian: My Thoughts

After viewing The Hollywood Librarian, my thoughts on the current state and funding of the library system has been shifted. The film was very informative as well as detailed in the experiences and emotions that librarians and patrons went through, as well as discussing problems occurring in the library.

A library consists of a librarian, along with catalogers and other staff members in which they index and classify the information from the books. Librarians are social beings that help service other patrons while at the same time, serving at their place of interest for what they read. The librarian helps shape the environment in which helps make the library successful. It depends on the input that the librarian is willing to serve their community as well as the community itself (through taxpayers) and the government. The library is a symbol of freedom in which librarians and patrons get to express themselves and their interests and other things that they love while being in a safe and welcoming environment. It is a problem-solving business by helping people define their problems and helping them get to the solution.

I am glad that Andrew Carnegie was extremely open about who should use the library. After reading so many books during his childhood and experiencing a love of books, he did not want this to be blocked off from anyone else. He wanted other people to enjoy reading as well. Children were not initially welcomed in public libraries, however, this was changed later on. Children were eventually given a place to stay in the library. This was founded by Carnegie. He later on helped other libraries and founded them as well. John Steinbeck often went to one of Carnegie’s library to read and later on, he wrote his own books. He hated the social structure of his town in Salinas. However, he often wrote political works as well as focusing on the rural and nature setting in his literature. He also exposed the social life in his town through his literature. Salinas later on named a library after him.

Cataloging was also only limited to 10 characters. Eventually, it had to be expanded because books had loner titles and the system was growing (for Computer Scientists). It was the first tool that was the very earliest version of hyperlinking. Most of the Internet (if not all) was founded on the basic ideals and principles in the library system.

The points that Seidl made that were most provoking to me was how the government only spends $250 million for about a year in libraries statewide, yet they spend that much in the Iraq war each day, which I consider a waste! I find it interesting that the government would rather support to destroy other countries instead of helping support the youth back home in literacy.

Another thing that was thought-provoking was that any librarian will have to work with children, one way or another. Either way, librarians help raise children as well, if not more than teachers. Librarians often make such a lasting impact on children because when they are grown, many can recall the time when they first interacted with a librarian and how they remember the first book that they checked out. A child’s memory of the library is usually a long-lasting favorable experience because they spent time with a librarian that understood their needs and attending to them in a respectful manner.

I also enjoyed the clip where there was a former illiterate and homeless man speaking English as clearly and well as he did and how the library helped him from being homeless to wearing a suit and becoming a literate man at the age of 40. In another case, a different man could only pronounce single words. However, after a librarian taught the man to pronounce paired consonants, he helped him to form words and pronounce them correctly. The library can be perceived as various positions such as a business. Many people still see the library as a place to shelve books and shush people when it is a service that reaches out to the community.

What I see as the most important role an LIS professional plays in society is that they get to interact with their patrons and learn something from them. Even though (depending on the position) it may not pay well, the experience enough is rewarding for librarians in general. The librarians in the film even helped illiterate inmates in the prison system to be able to learn how to read and speak English properly. It is also important to have various books in different languages in order to help give those with English as a second language material that they are able to understand in their own native language for reading.

Seidl, A. (Director and Producer). (2007). Overdue Productions: The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film [Motion picture]. Retrieved from:


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