This film is part of Rentals

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library 12 rating

An immersive journey into the New York Public Library with great documentarian Frederick Wiseman.

Documentary 2017 206 mins

Director: Frederick Wiseman


In his latest captivating endeavour to explore the great American institutions, legendary documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his inquisitive eye to the New York Public Library. It encompasses 92 branches throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and receives 32 million online visitors annually. NYC’s beloved institution is an incredible resource of knowledge as well as community support for all the city’s inhabitants, no matter their social status or ethnicity.

Wiseman goes behind the scenes to record animated board meetings, talks with guest speakers such as Patti Smith and Elvis Costello, book club events and donors’ dinners, as well as the day-to-day activity of lending books. Wiseman’s patient, observational style, combined with his deft editing, draws you into this fascinating world. The result is a thought-provoking love letter to a model of inclusion and knowledge sharing, and a topical reminder of the preciousness of libraries everywhere.