Ex Libris: New York Public Library

Ex Libris: New York Public Library (2017)

Ex Libris: New York Public Library
5.5/10 by 6 users

A documentary about how a dominant cultural and demographic institution both sustains their traditional activities and adapts to the digital revolution.

Release Date:September 13, 2017
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Frederick Wiseman
  • A fine idea that went on too long
    January 7, 2018

    New York's various library branches are visited in all boroughs in this documentary. It includes various segments highlighting free lectures, job fairs, community gatherings, school classes, help to the needy, and library business meetings.

    The variety of the segments and their subjects are as well chosen as are the variety of people in each of them. For those of us who love New York and New Yorkers, the people alone make much of this film an enjoyable experience.

    Many of the lectures were fascinating but some seemed intended for the few with either a higher level of academic intellect and/or a great knowledge of the subject at hand. While this might have been something to overlook, it is harder to overlook the movie's biggest liability: its length of three-and-a-quarter hours. The movie could have been reduced by at least one-third.

    Though most of the segments were a reasonable length of time, this was not the case for the library staff meetings that were too frequent and too long - much like staff meetings for those of us in our real lives. While some moments in these scenes were interesting, they had a tendency to remind us of the occasional auditory, mental torture of our own lives - something we'd rather forget when watching a movie.