Monday, July 30, 2018


I just returned a Netflix DVD that I’ve had for 2.5 months: Ex Libris: The New York Public Library. The trailer looked fascinating to me. I love the main building, and I’ve been to a couple of the other branches. I figured I could watch this documentary while I worked out on my elliptical.

But then it arrived, and I discovered two things: first, that it’s 3.5 hours long; second, that there is no closed captioning. Without it, I can’t really watch it while I’m on the elliptical, because I often can’t hear what’s being said.

So I would watch a little here and a little there. And I found it both incredibly fascinating and profoundly boring. Which I think is the point.

There were scenes from big events featuring big-name celebrity and academic speakers. There were local meetings, there were staff meetings, and there were meetings of people in power. Sometimes it really felt like I was attending these meetings, going over the necessary and mundane. And that’s important, but oy. Meetings.

A lot of it was about modernizing and what it means to be a library today.

And some of the parts that I loved were purely physical: shots of the main building itself, items in their collection, the way that books are sorted and the people who and machines that do that. It’s incredible.

And now USPS and Netflix will sort that disk quickly and send me something else. I’m hoping for Isle of Dogs.


  1. This set my mind going, and now I know what I'm going to write about tomorrow. Thank you! (And I'm hoping you get Isle of Dogs too...I love that movie!)

    1. Netflix, just now: "We shipped you Isle of Dogs"!!!!!

  2. Isle of dogs piqued my interest but this one sounds like.something to fall asleep to!

  3. But oy, meetings.
    I hate meetings.

  4. I'm intrigued... it sounds like the library movie equivalent of a Karl Ove Knausgård autobiography.

  5. I didn't know Netflix sent out DVDs. Always just thought of it as a streaming service. I like to think of you getting deliveries that brighten your day.