Catawba County News

Movie: The Public

Movie: The Public

Published: August 21, 2019

Add The Public to movies you love set in libraries, joining classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Breakfast Club. Incidentally, the 2019 film stars and was written and directed by Emilio Estevez, the original Brat Pack jock from The Breakfast Club.

The fictional movie is set in the midst of an intense cold spell in Cincinnati that compels a group of homeless people to stage a sit-in at the city’s public library, forcing the building to remain open so that they can stay warm during the frigid weather. In time, the police are ordered to evacuate them, although certain library staff – including Estevez – intervene to protect the homeless.

In the face of pressure from self-serving politicians, ambitious reporters, and the police force, the group of squatters and their librarian allies find an unexpected way to resolve the tension – and draw attention to the plight of the homeless.

The entertaining movie highlights some of the dilemmas faced by public libraries in larger American cities and grapples with issues of access and usage. It also looks at the tension that necessarily exists between public duty and public safety, inviting us to consider which one we’d give priority to and what we’d consider the role of a library to be.

Peopled with well-known faces like Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater, Jeffrey Wright, and Gabrielle Union, The Public will be screened at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, August 27 at the Claremont Branch Library. Join us for popcorn and a drink; reservations aren’t required.