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New York Public Library Star of Film Screening at Santa Monica Library


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By Lookout Staff

January 3, 2018 -- The New York Public Library, the subject of a documentary film that will be screened in Santa Monica Tuesday, is the second-largest library in the nation and the fourth largest in the world.

In "Ex Libris: The New York Public Library," legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman let's the monumental marble structure speak for itself, eschewing the traditional narrator used in most documentary films.

The film, which runs 3 hours and 25 minutes, brings Wiseman's "incisive vision behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest institutions of learning, capturing the vast programmatic scope of the New York City Public Library system," event organizers said.

The library, which is the nation's second-largest after the Library of Congress, has been a major draw since 1911, when it first opened its doors flanked by stone lions.

Inside what was once the largest marble structure in the country, Wiseman "sweeps into atriums and down corridors, pauses in reading and meeting rooms, and lays bare this complex, glorious organism that is the democratic ideal incarnate," the New York Times wrote in September.

Wiseman "gathers details ranging from the prosaic to the peculiar for his evolving mosaiclike picture" that "incessantly shifts between quiet and noise, macro and micro, patrons and administrators," the Times wrote.

The film also features some of the main library's many branches spread across the city.

"Ex Libris: The New York Public Library" -- which is Wiseman's 42nd documentary -- will be screened January 9 at 5 p.m. in the Main Library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium.

The presentation at the Main Library's Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium is free and open to all ages. Seating is limited and on a first arrival basis.

The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 7, R7, R10 and 18 and provides bicycle parking racks.

For more information, visit or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.



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