|Special Collections front and center: opening shot of episode 6, The Keepers|
And when I say the library is “featured extensively,” I mean Langsdale is all over this program: eagle-eyed library habitues can spot the location cropping up in multiple scenes beginning in episode 4, where super-sleuth, retiree, and 1970 Archbishop Keough High School graduate Abbie Schaub visits the former Special Collections research room on the 4th floor (currently where the Achievement and Learning Center is housed).
|Top: Abbie wrestles with our analog machinery in a
screenshot from The Keepers;
Bottom: the culprit (file photo)
The opening shot of episode six lingers on a UB-labeled book cart and a storage box–fairly ordinary tools of the archival trade. The very VCR / ¾-tape player/ DVD setup that so confounds Ms. Schaub in episode four, as she attempts to operate the ancient analog machinery, is an apparatus that still frustrates Archives staffers on a quasi-regular basis. Abbie is also seen walking through the book stacks on the third floor of Learning Commons; sitting by the gorgeous picture windows on the fourth floor (and surely enjoying its excellent view of Station North); and using the student computers in close proximity to the reference desk.
While it’s not unusual for documentary filmmakers to enhance the narrative in their movies by using photos, documents, film, and ephemera obtained via archival research, The Keepers takes the unusual step of showing their subjects actually digging up the data. The series provides a sort of road map for what in-depth, thorough, creative, tenacious archival investigation looks like, and how libraries– both public and academic– play a huge role in what that entails. Ms. Schaub and director Ryan White visited Special Collections repeatedly throughout a 2-month period in 2015 to sort through a box of videotapes of raw news footage from local TV news stations in order to find a “smoking gun” regarding a suspect in the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik.
|The Catherine Cesnik file from our Archives of Maryland Polonia|
They found several gems in the collection, as Schaub recently shared with Dean Lucy Holman:“When we sought information to figure out who killed our Archbishop Keough High School teacher Sister