Can a Movie About a Library Be Awesome?

Fixin’ to find out.

Cold Storage Teaser Trailer from metaLAB(at)Harvard on Vimeo.

Out at the Harvard Depository in Southborough, Massachusetts there are many stories to tell. How do the books come to and from campus nearly an hour away? What is the best way to store a library collection whose offsite holdings alone are mounting to ten million? What does it take to keep books at cold preserving temperatures and film reels at even colder ones?

Our upcoming documentary, Cold Storage, uncovers an ecosystem of laser scanners, UV fly zappers, cherry pickers and a mezzanine of machinery. It shows a place where books are sorted not by the methods of Dewey or those of the Library of Congress but by size.

In this trailer, take a peek inside the expansive interiors where our story begins and stay tuned for the debut of our film, which this summer will be incorporate the work of metaLAB alongside the projects of students from this past Spring’s Humanities Studio 1.

Coming soon is an experimental and interactive documentary to explore the HD as an offsite lens by which to examine the cultural and technical dimensions of libraries. (More: )

Hat tip to Maryn McKenna channeling Alexis Madrigal.

Added a bit later:

¡Incredible! Sharp-eyed reader Liza Gross alerted me to Toute la mémoire du monde, (All the world’s memory), an eerily, beautifully anticipatory documentary by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris. Much of the filmic technique and many of the shots are like pre-echos of the Cold Storage film above. Lovely stuff proving that Yes, a movie about a library can be awesome.

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