The library is not just a place to find books. It’s also a place to “foster community connections,” says Lisa Lindsay, supervising librarian at the downtown Fresno County Public Library.
That’s what drove the library to film a documentary about Fresno’s homeless, many of whom use the downtown branch. “Our Lives,” a 20-minute film that was produced through a grant made possible by the Library Services Technology Act, shows how the homeless are treated.
Two public screenings are planned. The first is 7 p.m. Friday, April 10, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, 2672 E Alluvial Ave. The second is 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, at the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC), 1555 Van Ness Ave.
Several of the homeless people interviewed for the film will attend the screenings and take part in a discussion. Part of the film project includes bringing together those who are living on the street and those who have the power to improve their lives. Lindsay has not heard from any elected officials whether they plan to attend the screenings.
“From my personal perspective, Fresno’s still not there when it comes to the homeless,” Lindsay says. “I think making this film and all of us coming together would be a step in the right direction.”
The grant was used to pay for library staff training at CMAC and to buy cameras to give to those living on the street so they could film the interviews.
“It made a huge difference having someone who has lived on the streets do the interviews,” Lindsay says.
Yellowfeather Noriega, a local homeless woman, agreed to film interviews. Most of the filming was done at the end of 2014 and the start of 2015. Footage was turned over to the CMAC team, who edited the production.
“Our Lives” also will air on CMAC Channel 1 (Channel 93 on Comcast and 99 on AT&T U-verse) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15.