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Dawn Logsdon (San Francisco) collaborating with San Francisco Public Library and fiscal sponsor Video Veracity

Award: $40,000 Media Arts Grant awarded in 2012

Project Completed: Photo booth, February 2013; “The Library in Our Lives,” April 2013

Filmmaker Dawn Logsdon collaborated with the San Francisco Public Library on early development of the feature documentary film and new media work Free for All, which tells the story of a beloved institution–the public library. At a time when public libraries around the United States face drastic budget cuts and even closures, Free for All investigates why Americans are using their libraries more now than ever before and assesses the high stakes for democracy if public libraries become extinct.

The film chronicles a year inside San Francisco’s busy urban public library and incorporates historical chapters about how the public library has affected American civic life. The Creative Work Fund-supported portion of the project encompassed a video storytelling booth and three days of filming at the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch, a citywide archival campaign and transfer of extensive memorabilia; and a public conversation about “The Library in Our Lives”– also at the main library.

Dawn Logsdon has had a distinguished career dedicated to collaborative projects about civic issues and city life. In 2008, she produced, directed, and edited Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans, which won the San Francisco International Film Festival Golden Gate Award for Best Bay Area Documentary, and was a national PBS feature presentation.

The San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning, and the joys of reading for San Francisco’s diverse community. It includes a state-of-the-art Main Library, 27 neighborhood branches, an extensive mobile outreach division, and a popular books-by-mail program.