Activism doesn’t always have to take place in government offices or with signs and shouting; it can take place in quiet libraries. Library systems are the target of Cindy Downey’s efforts to make Jen Brea’s documentary Unrest accessible to all.
Downey, of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, donated copies of Unrest to three provincial library systems in February and March. She requested that a fourth purchase a copy, which requires a longer process. As of March 22, there were three holds on two copies at Okanagan Regional Library (which has spurred the ordering of additional copies), the copy at Salt Spring Island Public Library was checked out the day it became available and four holds have been placed on copies at Greater Victoria Public Library.
“It was very gratifying to see the interest for [the] film take off,” she said. “The usage in my area indicates an interest and thirst for this film that confirms some have not been able to access it through PBS, Netflix etc. I am gradually working on other library regions.”
Downey also wrote a letter to the Salt Spring Island newspaper to announce the availability of Unrest and to educate readers about the local prevalence and devastating effects of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
“One strategy I plan to work on is finding out where medical decision makers’ medical practices are, which town or city, and aim for those newspapers,” she said.
Downey’s advice for donating Unrest to libraries:
1) Find out how to donate a film and what information the library will want. That information could include an estimate of how many people in the area have ME, basic facts about ME (see links below). Buy copies of Unrest here.
2) Make the process easy. Do not ask for anything like a receipt for tax purposes from the library.
3) Follow up with a phone call or email.
4) Tell the ME community via social or mainstream media that Unrest is available in their library system.
“As we all know, even this seemingly small task can leave us exhausted and in post-exertional malaise,” Downey said. “Your persistence and generosity can be worth it, as you see the awareness of ME issues spread through this powerful documentary.”
Facts about ME
Prevalence spreadsheet – If you’re in the U.S., find out how many people are affected with ME in your community.
Suggest a Library Purchase:
Also, libraries are often very open to suggestions for purchases. If you are unable to donate a copy of Unrest to your local library, you can also suggest that the librarian purchase a copy of Unrest for the library. Typically, this can be done online if your library has an online system.