Librarians are misunderstood creatures. We see ourselves as warriors: defenders of information, crusaders against censorship, guardians of knowledge! Most everyone else sees us as old maids who wear cardigans and shush people. When I first told people I was going to library school, I got scoffs and sneers, “What do they teach you, how to alphabetize?”
Ask a librarian what their job entails, and you’ll probably get as many different answers as there are librarians (and none will be, “Alphabetizing stuff”). Chances are, you’ll get an impassioned speech. For us, libraries are truly a calling. And it seems like other people are catching on. Three new movies about libraries and librarians are currently making the film festival circuits: Emilio Estevez’s The Public, Bart Layton’s American Animals, and Douglas King’s Super November.
If you’re reading this, chances are you think libraries are pretty swell, too. So come with me on a journey deep into the land of self-congratulatory fiction. I give you…
Books (and a movie…and a TV show) about libraries and librarians!
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness
Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches, and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure. This book made me fall in love with Oxford's Bodleian Library. It’s on my list of must-visit libraries. Yes, I have one.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
An undercover librarian who works for an occult organization that collects books from different realities must determine what happened to a particularly dangerous book that has been stolen and becomes mired in a mystery infused with peril and conflicting clues.
Ink and bone by Rachel Caine
Working in an alternate universe where the Great Library of Alexandria survived destruction, Jess is torn between his employers and his family's black-market book ring before an illegal innovation leads to a terrible discovery.
The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
Placed in an impossible situation when her favorite patron, a book-loving 10-year old, runs away from overbearing parents who force him to attend anti-gay classes with a celebrity pastor, children's librarian Lucy Hull flees with the boy only to discover that they are being pursued by an anonymous adversary.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
After she and a dozen other children are taken and raised by "Father," a cruel man with mysterious powers, Carolyn and her "siblings" begin to think he might be God; so when he dies, they square off against each other to determine who will inherit his library, which they believe holds the power to all Creation.
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, is gifted a mysterious book that holds the key to a curse that has haunted a family of traveling circus performers for generations. If you loved Morgenstern’s The Night Circus or Kostova’s The Historian, this is the book for you.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author's works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written.
The Undateable by Sarah Title
Rendered as a love-hating, undateable librarian after a video of her rolling her eyes at a marriage proposal goes viral, Melissa “Bernie” Bernard, who doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters, but never backs down from a challenge, agrees to let reporter Colin Rodriguez find her the perfect match. This is the first book in the Librarians in Love series.
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear
When a piece of the magical Spear of Destiny goes missing from the Metropolitan Library's secret collection of artifacts, it is up to a meek librarian and his female bodyguard to keep it out of the hands of an evil brotherhood bent on using it for world domination. Starring Noah Wylie, Jane Curtain, and Bob Newhart, this movie—the first in a trilogy—is action/comedy gold.
A team of librarians working for an ancient organization hidden under the Metropolitan Public Library recover artifacts and fight against supernatural threats as they investigate various mysteries. This TV series spin-off of the Librarian movies doesn’t quite capture the trilogy’s magic, but it does star my boyfriend Christian Kane (okay, I must admit he’s not actually my boyfriend, but he did flirt with me once. True story).