Wallace Library Collaborates with FNMS to Diversify Film Collection

Wheaton’s Film and New Media Senior Professor of Practice, Sarah Leventer, is bringing library film curation to the classroom. Students in Leventer’s Queer Cinema course collaborated with Humanities & Student Success Librarian Cary Goudlin to add more films about transgender experiences to the Madeleine Clark Wallace Library film collection

“It’s useful for libraries to have a diverse film collection to reflect the diversity of the students that go to the institution,” she continued  “it also affects what professors have access to and are able to teach them,” said Leventer.

Researching LGBTQ representation in archival film can be a challenge, as many films produced between the years 1934-1968  adhered to the Hays Code, an industry standard that most studios followed stating various restrictions, including a ban on “inferences of homosexuality”.  

Students gain insight into how curators and librarians work. Working with a modest $250 budget, students wrote critical essays advocating for their film of choice, considering factors like availability, cost, and rationale. The class then finalized their list and worked with Gouldin to purchase the films for the library collection. 

“We like having students involved in our collection development process particularly, because it is filling in gaps in our collection, specifically around a minoritized group. And at the time, and still now, you know, that’s something that we’ve been trying to work on is to figure out ways to make sure that our collection is well rounded,” said Gouldin

Today, thanks to the library and the class’s efforts, you can borrow films like Dog Day Afternoon, Female Trouble, and Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in the Wallace Library. You can find the library’s physical DVD collection behind the main desk. 

— Written by Madison Morin ’24