LEWISTON – The Lewiston Public Library will present a free showing of the acclaimed documentary “The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24.

The unique feature-length film focuses on the work and lives of librarians, using the entertaining context of American movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Sophie’s Choice,” with the stereotypical bun-wearing, finger-wagging spinster; and “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Desk Set,” with more realistic portrayals of the competent professionals.

Interwoven with the movie clips of these cinematic librarians are dozens of interviews of librarians, which serve as transitions between the themes of censorship, intellectual freedom, pay equity and funding issues, and the value of reading.

“The Hollywood Librarian” was released last fall during Banned Books Week, America’s annual celebration of intellectual freedom. It includes scenes of the burning of John Steinbeck’s books during the 1930s; responses to today’s controversial USA Patriot Act.; and an interview with Ray Bradbury, author of the science-fiction classic “Fahrenheit 451” in which firemen seek out and burn books to protect the government from the dangers of an informed citizenry.

“One of the hallmarks of a healthy society is the unfettered flow of all kinds of ideas and materials, and nurturing that flow is the librarian’s mission,” said Ann Seidl, writer/director of the 96-minute film and a librarian herself.

The film’s screening is one of a dozen activities planned as part of The Big Read L-A, the local version of a national program that invites residents of communities to join their neighbors in reading and discussing a single, thought-provoking book (in L-A’s case, Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”).

A full schedule of Big Read L-A events is available on the Lewiston Public Library’s Web site at www.LPLonline.org, or by calling the library at 513-3135.

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