NEH Funds Film About America's Public Libraries

NEH Grant Recipient 2016

Beloved and endangered institution examined
in first major documentary on the subject


Serendipity Films, LLC
Media Contact: Lucie Faulknor, (415) 824-4910,
Photos Available

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – New Orleans’ Video Veracity and San Francisco/New Orleans-based Serendipity Films, LLC are pleased to announce a $500,000 media production award from The National Endowment for Humanities (NEH). The grant will be used to complete the documentary Free for All: Inside the Public Library and to develop a companion web project and a community engagement outreach campaign.

Free for All juxtaposes two revolutionary moments in the American library story – the original “Library Movement” that swept the country in late 19th century, and current early 21st century struggle to keep libraries thriving in the digital age. 

“We have lost a lot of public space in American life in the last few decades with the general trend towards privatization” says historian, writer and project advisor Jill Lepore. “The atomization of American life is a real problem for our political and civic culture. So the public library is to me one of the last bulwarks against a kind of profound isolation. It’s one of the last public spaces that is dedicated to the common good.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be awarded support from the NEH” says Director/Producer Dawn Logsdon, “So many people have their own personal library stories; one of our goals is to bring together the amazing diversity of the American library experience - from turn-of- the-century immigrants in New York City navigating a new country, to post-disaster families in Louisiana seeking loved ones, to scholars in San Francisco discovering forgotten culinary history, to people with diabetes in Kansas City learning new habits and exercises.”

The project is one of only five films awarded media production funds, among 290 grantees to receive funding from the NEH in this funding cycle. Led by Logsdon and Producer Lucie Faulknor (Faubourg Treme) with Executive Producer Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders), the Emmy-award winning and Oscar-nominated Free for All team has received wide acclaim for their social issue and historical films.


Video Veracity is a 501(c)3 non-profit filmmakers support organization based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Serendipity Films, LLC is a documentary film production company based in San Francisco, California and New Orleans, Louisiana. Learn more about Serendipity Films, LLC at