FEATURE: Education and Your Public Library

As more and more libraries join GFI’s Global Public program, Laura Brewer discusses how public libraries aren’t just for books anymore…

The dazzling interior of the Seattle Public Library.

Fall, or “Back-to-school” season, used to be one of my favorite times of year. I loved checking school supply items off my lengthy list. I looked forward to pouring over syllabi, seeing my friends more regularly, and holing up in the library doing research for term papers. But more than anything, by the end of August I was eager to leave summer’s freeform behind for the structure of the academic year.

No longer in school, my schedule doesn’t much change between July and September. But August still carries that sense of desire for quiet, thoughtful pursuits. As students pack their backpacks, I’m reminded of my ever-present yearning to learn.

Enter the public library. If you read this blog, then you know that we here at GFI love them. Not only are libraries calm, full of wisdom, and free, they’re also the perfect spots for a nostalgic intellectual to get her fill of post-academia education. Knowledge-hungry folks like myself have options for satiating their appetites at the library: One can go the classic route by checking out a book, while the more aurally inclined can explore audio books. And this year, film lovers can find screenings of Global Lens films!

This passion for inventive education and cultural engagement is what drew me to GFI. These films continually demonstrate unusual approaches to universal circumstances, and they highlight the many lenses through which to view the world. We value these differing perspectives not just in theory but in practice as well; by funding socially conscious filmmakers, we give weight to diversity of thought and expression. It is education in its truest form.

So whether you’re heading back to class or just taking part in some independent learning, check out your local library’s calendar. You never know when you might discover something truly eye-opening.

GFI’s Global Public program is expanding:  The Seattle Public Library’s innovatively designed Central branch, along with branches throughout the Emerald City, will begin hosting Global Lens 2012 screenings in mid-September. The Hartford Public Library in Hartford, CT will also screen the 2012 film series beginning in mid-September. The historic Chicago Public Library follows shortly thereafter in October with Washington D.C. on the horizon. GFI has already been partnering with libraries from Brooklyn to Missoula, and we’re pleased to add even more cities to the list!

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Laura Brewer  joined the Global Film Initiative staff after most recently working in Seattle’s film and music industries with such arts organizations as the Seattle Office of Film + Music and the Seattle International Film Festival, as well as freelancing as a writer and documentary producer. She has a B.A. in English and in Media Studies with a minor in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago.

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