Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Case Study No. 2087: Megan Anderson

"Bad BAD Library User", Megan Anderson on State College PA library
Megan was a bad library user, but ended up a fantastic library employee! Join us in the making of this film and show your love for libraries! Kickstarter campaign going on now! http://kck.st/1mb89A9
Added: 8 months ago
From: free4allfilm
Views: 385

[scene opens with a female librarian (short blonde hair, black sweater, visible tattoos on her cleavage) speaking directly to the camera]
MEGAN: I was actually a really bad ... bad library user!
["Megan Anderson on her childhood library in central Pennsylvania" appears on screen]
MEGAN: I grew up in a really small town, and I was a really messed-up kid. One time, I remember, I actually borrowed a vinyl record that I left on my floor and stepped on it and snapped it.
[she shakes her head]
MEGAN: So I was always paying off fines, or unable to use my card. The director at my community library once told me when I was a teenager that when they did their renovation, that they should name the renovation after me because I had paid more money in fines and fees than any single donor had done for the library.
[cut to another shot of the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
MEGAN: And, um, once I got a little more savvy about the fact that I couldn't borrow anymore because of my fines, I started to steal.
[she smiles]
MEGAN: And I stole a lot, I stole incessantly! I remember the first time I stole a book, it was John Lennon's "A Spaniard in the Works."
[cut to another shot of the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
MEGAN: And, of course, my mother found it. And she figured out that it was a library book, because it had the spine tape on it. And she made me take it back.
[she shrugs]
MEGAN: And, of course I walked in and said, "I found this book outside" and gave it to them, because she had told me that I had to confess ... which I didn't.
[she smiles]
MEGAN: But then I got smarter about it, and realized, "Okay, I should just treat these like library books. I'll borrow them, and then when I'm done with them, I'll bring them back."
[she smiles]
MEGAN: And so that's what I did for years, I stole probably ... hundreds of library books over time. Uh, at one point, I had stolen so many that I realized that when I brought them back, they were gonna catch me before I walk out as they notice all of these books hadn't been checked out!
[she shakes her head]
MEGAN: And so, there was an academic library in my town, too. And it was kind of a hike, but I took my thirty books to the academic library and dumped them in the conveyor return, figuring that they would send them back to the public library ... which I found they did! Those books showed up on the library shelves again!
[cut to another shot of the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
MEGAN: And part of what means a lot to me about libraries is the fact that nobody ever busted me all this time.
[cut to another shot of the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
MEGAN: The public library ... it's not graded. It's something that kids do, that you're not an "A" library user or a "D" library user.
[she shakes her head]
MEGAN: You can't flunk "library," and even when you really mess up, there's some compensation. And then, you know, it's ... the message is "welcome back." Y'know, just be sure you come back.
[cut to another shot of the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
MEGAN: And so then, as I moved up into high school, I applied to be a page in this library that I'm talking about ... and they hired me.
[she pauses]
MEGAN: And nobody ever ... well, I think a few years later, as I worked there--
[she motions with her hand]
MEGAN: Because I was a page, I shelved books, they promoted me to be a librarian assistant, and then I worked with a great children's librarian who let me do story times and let me take on more and more responsibility until now--
[she shrugs]
MEGAN: Y'know, I'm the acting assistant chief of the city library for San Francisco.
["Megan completed her term as Acting Assistant Chief. She is now SFPL's Youth Centers Manager" appears on screen]


From free4allfilms.org:

Inspired by their love of libraries, filmmakers Dawn Logsdon and Lucie Faulknor are on a mission to tell the grand story of the American public library – from the historic free library movement that swept the nation over a century ago to the dramatic human stories unfolding inside libraries today. Help tell the story of America's most beloved and most endangered public institution. Together we can spark national dialogue and local action – before it's too late.

Free for All: Inside the Public Library is a multi-platform documentary project that brings together library stories from all across America. Whether historic or contemporary, humorous or heartbreaking, these individual dramas shed light on what public libraries mean to our society. The project's centerpiece is a feature-length film chronicling a "day-in-the-life" of the American Public Library, around the country from opening to closing time, interspersed with dramatic chapters of national library history. Shorter films bring alive other extraordinary public library stories - from the puritans and robber barons who launched it, through the immigrants, suffragettes and civil rights activists who transformed it, to the millions of Americans whose lives are changed at the public library today.


From neh.gov:

Free For All: Inside the Public Library

To support: Development of a 90-minute documentary and related Web programs on the history and current state of public libraries.
Project fields: Gender Studies
Program: Media Projects Development
Division: Public Programs Total amounts: $40,000 (approved); $40,000 (awarded)
Grant period: 4/1/2013 – 6/30/2014


From kickstarter.com:

Free For All: Inside the Public Library
by Dawn Logsdon & Lucie Faulknor

980 backers
$79,720 pledged of $75,000 goal
This project was successfully funded on October 27.

Free for All: Inside the Public Library is the first major documentary project about our nation's most beloved and most threatened public institution. It captures dramatic personal stories from library users across America, highlighting the diverse communities that depend on public libraries and the surprising ways libraries are reinventing themselves to serve more people than ever.

Big decisions about the future of the American public library -decisions that will resonate for generations - are being made NOW in local communities across the country. How these decisions will be made and who will make them are questions at the heart of our documentary.

We're an experienced team of award-winning filmmakers who are passionate about public libraries and their role in our democracy. Many people think of libraries as quaint book repositories growing obsolete in our digital age. We're on a mission to dispel that myth.

The reality is that people are using our local libraries more than ever before. If you haven't been in a library lately, you'll be astonished to discover what's going on inside them. Libraries are providing digital media labs for youth, computer and internet access, literacy programs, job search resources, creative maker-spaces, baby yoga classes, senior technology training, romance book clubs, tools for genealogy buffs, rare databases for scholars, safe spaces for kids after school, and whew, much, much more. At some libraries, you can even check out fishing gear, cake pans, heirloom seeds, power tools, a painting or a laptop, along with the latest bestseller.

America's more than 16,000 public library branches are a vital lifeline for millions of people. But in many communities that lifeline is in danger. Despite record-high usage, over 50% of U.S. public libraries have faced cuts or closures since the recession. Many are debating survival options like branch closures, severe reductions in hours, charging fees, or privatization.

Intended for PBS broadcast in 2016, FREE FOR ALL: Inside the Public Library will be a rollicking and visually stunning mosaic of faces, architecture and stories that brings to life the astonishing diversity of the American library experience and the urgent issues libraries face today. This feature-length documentary film chronicles "a day-in-the-life of the American library" from open to close in public libraries large and small. It features a handful of the millions of dramatic stories unfolding within them, including an Illinois immigrant teen struggling to understand her new country, a retired Louisiana fisherwoman in search of new adventures, a California actor who's recently become homeless, and a young Nebraskan entrepreneur with big dreams.

Free for All: Inside the Public Library seeks to inspire, entertain, and spark dialogue and action about the future of public libraries. We feel it is urgent to complete production now, so the film can begin to have impact as soon as possible while critical decisions are being debated. That's why we're asking for your support now to complete shooting our film — and for your help in expanding the national conversation about the future of our public libraries.

We have received Research and Development funding awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, the San Francisco Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, the Eastman Fund, and others. With this support, we've been able to spend the past two years studying the issues, learning from library experts, traveling to libraries to discover stories and characters, and beginning to film them. We've formed key partnerships with Urban Libraries Council and other national library organizations who are helping us develop a comprehensive outreach strategy designed to maximize the film's impact and engage audiences of all ages, community groups, and policymakers.

We urgently need $75,000 so we can finish filming library stories across the United States. As you can see from the trailer, we've already shot some compelling moments with our participants in several communities. But we're not done yet. We still have to shoot over 60% of the film and traveling is expensive. We've applied for additional grants, but grant cycles take time, and funding is limited. Your support now will guarantee that we can continue filming around the country in libraries like yours, and complete principal cinematography in late 2014/early 2015, in time to meet our goals.

Free for All: Inside the Public Library is a production of Serendipity Films, under 501(c)3 fiscal sponsorship from our partner Video Veracity, Inc. Producer/Director Dawn Logsdon and Executive Producer Stanley Nelson (Freedom Summer) are leading the project, along with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Vicente Franco, co-producer Lucie Faulknor, editor Veronica Selver, consulting producer Janet Cole, and other award-winning colleagues, whose films have received wide exposure and acclaim over the past thirty years. Read more about our team here.

Any extra monies raised above $75,000 will go to paying our tireless and dedicated producing staff - especially Lucie Faulknor who believes in this film and public libraries so much that she's been working pro bono for the past year, while working a second job at night to pay the bills.

Here's Lucie's own library story:

"I grew up as the youngest in a family of seven kids -plus many dogs, cats, and miscellaneous other critters. The library was the only place where I found peace and quiet. I went to the SFPL West Portal branch library to study all through high school. Without it I know I wouldn't have become the first person in my family to graduate from university."

Thanks for considering our project!


Dawn & Lucie


From sfgate.com:

'Free for All' explores libraries' value
Documentary Film to explore popularity, contributions to democracy

By Neal J. Riley
Updated 8:46 pm, Friday, February 22, 2013

It was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when filmmaking couple Dawn Logsdon and Lucie Faulknor really came to appreciate libraries. After their New Orleans home was flooded in the storm, they found themselves outside a library in Baton Rogue, where lines stretched around the block to submit disaster relief applications online.

"It was the only place to go to fill out information," Logsdon said. "The city and state government all failed miserably where the library was able to help."

Now they're aiming to make a first-of-its-kind documentary called "Free for All," exploring why Americans are using public libraries in record numbers and what would happen to democracy if libraries became extinct.

"Libraries are in a real crisis in terms of funding all around the country," Logsdon said. "If more attention isn't drawn to it, they aren't going to be able to keep up."

The pair are focusing on the Main Library in San Francisco, where they now live. Though many places across the country are struggling to fund their libraries, Logsdon said they chose San Francisco because of its strong financial investment in the library.

"We want to focus on what a library can do, not what it can't do," she said. "San Francisco turns out to be perfect for that."

Personal stories

On Thursday, the documentary filmmakers and their crew set up cameras and a green screen on the ground floor of the Main Library. While their film will feature a few characters including participants of an adult literacy program, reference and children's librarians, and homeless patrons, the task this week was to collect personal stories about the importance of libraries.

So far they've gotten everything from a story told by a library official who had a problem stealing books as a young girl to patrons who knew nothing about what being gay meant until they hesitantly tracked down a book about it at the library.

For Albertina Zarazua Padilla of San Leandro, the library was "a matter of survival" when growing up in Carmel Valley, where English was not her first language.

"I had to learn quickly to survive in school," said Padilla, 57. "The library was the opportunity to be at the same level as everyone else; it was the great equalizer."

Eileen Asher of Petaluma said her library in Michigan helped her do life-changing research while she was growing up. After learning as a teenager that a family member was part of the Ku Klux Klan, she devoted her time to researching the group at the library and came to the conclusion that she would never go down that path.

"I've spent my life in libraries," Asher said. "I don't know what I'd do without them."

Fire chief's memories

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White grew up next to the Merced branch. Once she had a family of her own, she made sure to instill a love of libraries among her three teenage sons. But for all the happy memories, Logsdon and Faulknor were also able to get the chief to retell a painful library experience about a 12-year-old girl who died at a Sunset branch after an asthma attack about 10 years ago.

"It was a difficult scene where she did not survive," Hayes-White said. "It's not a good story about a library, but that's what we deal with as firefighters."

Filming for the project will continue through Saturday in the Jewett Gallery, and interested participants should go to www.freeforalldocumentary.com or call (415) 824-4910. The filmmakers are working to release a feature-length documentary in two years, but an edited collection of interviews will be shown at the Main Library during National Library Week on April 20.


From libraryjournal.com:

When documentary filmmakers Lucie Faulknor and Dawn Logsdon were evacuated to Baton Rouge, LA, from their home in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, they were struck by the essential role played by the public library in the days following the disaster. Staff worked long hours to help people locate missing family members, friends, and pets; fill out FEMA forms; communicate with insurance companies; and use the library computers. "They had an assembly line to give everybody a library card," Faulknor said, "and we realized that librarians were also first responders."

That recognition, along with many hours spent in libraries researching past projects, eventually convinced Faulknor and Logsdon that the world needed a documentary focused on the importance of America's public libraries. Free for All: Inside the Public Library, which will be released in 2016, seeks to showcase the vitality of libraries large and small, urban and rural, successful and struggling, and the very personal stories of their patrons.

The evolution of the project dates back to their previous documentary film, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. While researching it, Faulknor and Logsdon spent a great deal of time in the Louisiana Historical Archives at the New Orleans Public Library, and became fascinated by the cross-section of people who passed through on a daily basis. "At some point," Faulknor told LJ, "I don't remember how exactly it came up, Lucie turned to me and said, 'You know, this would make a great movie.'"

Faulknor replied that she was sure somebody else had done it and they had just never seen it. "How can this story not have been told in a documentary form before?" they wondered, Logsdon told LJ. "It's screaming out to be told. It's one of the great American stories, to me. Ken Burns did ten hours on baseball and jazz - the public library system certainly deserves a major broadcast documentary." They discovered that smaller documentary projects about specific libraries or library subjects had been made, but nothing about the nation's public library system.


Free for All received its first development grant from Cal Humanities in 2012, and the project began to come together. Faulknor and Logsdon initially planned to pick one library system to represent the whole, and focus on its interplay in the community. They had, by then, moved to San Francisco and decided to focus on the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), but their approach changed as they learned more about libraries.

"At some point we started to understand if we wanted to tell the story of the American public library we needed to show a broader range of what libraries meant to their own communities," Logsdon explained. "Because even though it's a national institution, it's also a very profoundly local institution." After presenting some clips from the film at the 2013 American Library Association Conference in Chicago, Faulknor and Logsdon surveyed the audience to ask what they thought was missing, and the response was clear: People agreed that SFPL was a great story, but it alone didn't represent the rest of the country.

Faulknor and Logsdon decided the only way to capture that diversity would be to travel around the United States visiting different types of libraries: small town, rural, and various cities. They began interviewing library patrons, and realized that there was a second platform to the project: a series of personal narratives that will eventually be hosted on a dedicated interactive website. "When we tell people we're doing a documentary about libraries," said Faulknor, "the first thing they want to do is tell us their own library story."

They set up a storytelling booth at SFPL where patrons could record their own narratives, and it proved to be hugely popular. People told of how their local libraries helped them assimilate as immigrants and become citizens, or understand their sexuality, or just get away from their families. "When we did the booth, I think five people burst into tears as they told us their library stories," Logsdon told LJ. Some were traumatic - tales of researching abuse, or discovering that a father had been in the Ku Klux Klan - but some, said Logsdon, were just about love, like one woman's description of growing up in suburban Illinois and walking to the library with her mother every week, filling up her little red wagon with books.

"It made us realize the depth of passion that individual Americans have for the institution," said Logsdon, "and it kind of took me aback because I don't think people feel that way about other public institutions."

The two plan to take the storytelling booth on the road, although how it evolves will depend on funding. One possibility would involve an elaborate traveling mobile setup, but in its simplest form the "booth" could be a toolkit, easily set up with a camcorder in a library media lab or Maker space. Faulknor and Logsdon have applied for NEA funding to develop a prototype, and hope to eventually amass an archive that would combine contemporary and historical library stories.

"If I have a trademark in terms of what I'm drawn to for documentary storytelling," said Logsdon, "it's bringing history and contemporary stories together to illustrate each other, for the history to inform what's going on today and for what's going on today to be enriched by what happened in the past.... A lot of the library world doesn't even know [its] own history." The filmmakers are particularly excited about the idea of working with teen media labs to produce and upload their own content for the site.


Faulknor and Logsdon have received funding awards from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Humanities, Cal Humanities, the San Francisco Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, and the Eastman Fund. They also launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money they would need to travel with a cinematographer, sound person, and equipment in order to continue gathering interviews. The campaign surpassed its goal of $75,000 in October 2014.

While the Kickstarter campaign was just one prong of their fundraising strategy - it "allows us to keep the lights on," said Faulknor - it has also been a great audience-building tool, with built-in marketing and PR via social media. They continue to take contributions on the project's website.

Free for All's filmmaking team, many of whom Faulknor and Logsdon have worked with on previous films, includes noted documentarian Stanley Nelson serving as executive producer. Library historian Wayne Wiegand, whose forthcoming book A Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library will be published by Oxford University Press in 2015, is their historical research director.

Faulknor and Logsdon hope to premier the film at a major film festival, do the film circuit, and then move on to public television. Ultimately, of course, they want to show it in libraries (they have also received strong interest from library schools).

In addition, they are working to set up an advisory board of library leaders in order to ensure the broadest possible perspective. The fact that support for libraries has always crossed political lines and boundaries is significant, they emphasized, especially given the country's current political climate.

"What drew us to this story is the way it resonates for everybody," Logsdon told LJ. "Ronald Reagan talks about how he would have never become president if it hadn't been for the public library.... The Occupy kids all set up model libraries in their Occupy camps on the far left extreme, and on the right we're learning more and more about how many Christian right families rely on libraries to homeschool their kids...they feel safe and that the library experience speaks to them and their families." She recalled visiting a painting class for seniors at a library in a conservative part of Louisiana, where one woman stepped up and told her, "If the government tries to mess with our library, they're going to have a riot on their hands."

"What would our country look like without its libraries?" asks the Free for All website, "What would be lost?" In addition to collecting enthusiastic stories, the team will be traveling to places where libraries are threatened or have closed branches, such as Detroit and Stockton, CA. "The way we're going to address that question," said Logsdon, "is by showing how integral they are to a functioning democracy right now."

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