Award-Winning Documentary Filmmakers Launch Public Library Storytelling Booth Project at SFPL Main

February 8, 2012 Contact: Lucie Faulknor 415-572-5912 Contact: Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282  

Award-Winning Documentary Filmmakers Launch

Public Library Storytelling Booth Project at SFPL Main

  San Francisco, CA – When Director/Editor Dawn Logsdon (Faubourg Treme, Big Joy, Paragraph 175, Weather Underground) tells someone that she’s working on Free for All, a documentary and new media project about public libraries, invariably they begin to tell her a story about a personal library experience. Logsdon and her team have decided to capture those stories on film during three days of filming at the San Francisco Public Library Main branch, February 21-23rd. The public is invited to schedule a 15-minute appointment (email: info@ or walk-in during normal library hours on those days to tell their story. The crew, including Academy Award-nominated local cinematographer Vicente Franco (Most Dangerous Man in America, Daughter from Danang) will set up the library storytelling “booth” inside the Jewett Gallery on the lower level of the Main Library, 100 Larkin Street. Below are excerpts from preliminary interviews:
  • Gloria Cowert, SFPL Security Guard: “People think when you say library, it’s all quiet all the time. I say ‘you’d be surprised!’”
  • Eddie Fung, born and raised in Chinatown, WWII POW, Metallurgist, age 90: “Growing up in Chinatown, I wasn't interested in things Chinese, I was interested in things other than Chinese, like the Plains Indians. Through reading I discovered I could ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow... and when I was 16 I went to Texas to be a cowboy…That's what the library did for me, expanded my restricted view of life." 
  • Gray Brechin, Geographic Historian and Author: “I was a latchkey kid, my parents were divorced, and I was gay and just learning that…and libraries saved my life”
  • Charles Houston, Drug Counselor, formerly homeless: “A few years ago I was living on the sidewalk across the street from the library.  I was a drug addict and a drunk. I went to the library to be safe and not be afraid of someone stealing the shoes off my feet.”
  • Maria Tamara, Lithuanian immigrant, age 96: “We could not afford to buy books. It was library, library, library all the time and it didn't cost anything. That is the treasure we discovered in the United States.”
  • Sam Cormier, Claire Lilienthal student, age 13: “For me the public library is a place to be away from normal life and be in your own world.”
The stories will be edited down and presented during National Library Week in SFPL’s Koret Auditorium on Saturday April 20, 2013 at 2 pm, along with excerpts of the Free for All documentary-in-progress and a talk by preeminent library historian, Wayne Wiegand, discussing his upcoming book: Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library. For more information, go to or call 415.824.4910. This storytelling project is in collaboration with the SFPL and Serendipity Films, and is funded in part by the Creative Work Fund (a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund supported by grants from ArtPlace, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The James Irvine Foundation).
February 8, 2013