Image of Libraries in Popular Culture


Selected Resources

Children's Fiction About Libraries or Librarians

Image of Libraries or Librarians in Literature



Selected Resources


Bender, Aimee. 1998. The girl in the flammable skirt: stories. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday.

Eco, Umberto. 1983. The name of the rose. 1st ed. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Freud, Sigmund. 1920. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Translated and Edited by James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton.

MacCann, Donnarae. 1989. Libraries for Immigrants and "Minorities": A Study in Contrasts. Social Responsibility in Librarianship: Essays on Equality. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

McConnell, Melissa A. 1998. The presence of stereotypes about librarians: a content analysis of children's picture books. Missouri: Central Missouri State University.


Adams, Katherine C. 2000. Loveless frump as hip and sexy party girl: a reevaluation of the old-maid stereotype. Library Quarterly, July, 287.

Carmichael, James V. 1994. Gender issues in the workplace: male librarians tell their side. American Libraries, March, 25(3):227-230.

Cullen, John. 2000. Rupert Giles, the professional-image slayer. American Libraries, May, 42.

DeCandido, GraceAnne A. 1999. Bibliographic good vs. evil in Buffy the vampire slayer. American Libraries, Sept, 44.

Liebold, Louise Condak. 1997. Changing the librarian stereotype. Library Imagination Paper, Spring, 19(2):4.

Patterson, Thomas. 2001. "Idea stores": London's New Libraries. Library Journal, May, 48-49.

Pierce, William. 1997. Library cafes: next logical step. LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research, 7(1). Available at:

Radford, Gary P., and Marie L. Radford. 2001. Libraries, Librarians, and the discourse of fear. Library Quarterly, July, 299.

Radford, Marie L., and Radford, Gary P. Power, knowledge, and fear: feminism, foucault, and the stereotype of the female librarian. Library Quarterly v67, n3 (July, 1997): 250 (17 pages)

Scherdin, Mary Jane, and Anne K. Beaubien. 1995. Shattering our stereotype: librarian's new image. Library Journal, July, 35.

Schuman, Patricia Glass. 1990. The image of librarians: Substance or shadow? Journal of Academic Librarianship, 16 (2):86-89.

Stevens, Norman D. 2001. The last librarian. American Libraries, Oct, 60.

Stern, Stephen. 1991. Ethnic Libraries and Librarianship in the United STates: Models nad Prospects. Advances in Librarianship. 15, 77-102.

Walker, S. and Lawson, VL. 1993. The Librarian stereotype and the movies. The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship, 1 (1). Available at:

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Arnot, Chris. 1998. The old stereotype of fusty men and women among shelves of musty books is way off line. The Guardian Unlimited, Society Page. 26 August, 2.

Fountain, John W. Librarians adjust image in an effort to fill jobs. New York Times 08/23/2001, Nat'l Desk, Sec. A, p.12, col.1

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Hall, Alison. Behind the bun, or Batgirl was a librarian. Saundra Kae Rubel's Cybrary of Resources, CA.. Accessed 24 October 2001.

Hitchcock, Laura. 1999. Defiled: A curtainUp LA review. [online]. Los Angeles, CA. Available at Accessed 15 October 2001.

Humanmetrics. 1995. Humanmetrics: try your traits before trying fate. [online]. Israel. Available at: Accessed 16 October 2001.

Kwak, Gail. modified librarian. 1999. [online]. Available at: Accessed 14 October 2001.

National Public Radio: The Connection. 2001. The future of the public library: with interviewer John DonVan. [online]. Boston, MA. Available at: Aired 18 July 2001. Accessed 7 October 2001.

Olsen, E. 2000. Librarian avengers. [online]. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. Available at: Accessed 14 October 2001.

Raisch, Martin. 2001. Librarians in the movies: an annotated filmography. [online]. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. Available at: Accessed 14 October 2001.

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Children's Fiction About Libraries or Librarians


Alexander, Martha. How my Library Grew. New York: H.W. Wilson and Company, 1983. Neither Dinah nor her Teddy Bear have ever been to a library, but when one is built just down the street, she looks forward to the opening day.

Best, Cari. Red Light Green Light, Mama and Me. New York: Orchard Books, 1995.
After taking the train downtown, Lizzie spends the day at the public library, helping her mother who is a children's librarian.

Caseley, Judith. Sophie and Sammy's Library Sleepover. Illustrated by Judith Caseley. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1993 ISBN: 0-688-10616-1
Sophie and her little brother Sammy create their own adorable library sleepover ritual once he finally learns not to treat books destructively.

Deedy, Carmen Agra. The Library Dragon. Illustrated by Michael P. White. Atlanta, Georgia: Peachtree Publishers, 1994. ISBN: 1-56145-091-X
Children who love puns and word plays will enjoy this story of Miss Lotta Scales the librarian, a dragon who fiercely guards her treasure of orderly books until she is softened by the children who love them.

Freeman, Don. Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library. San Carolos California: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1969.
A little girl who reguarly goes to the public library, imagines what she would do as a librarian and fantasizes about inviting all kinds of animals in --until they get out of hand.

Kimmel, Eric A. I Took My Frog to the Library. Illustrated by Blanche Sims. New York: Penguin Books, 1990. ISBN: 0-670-82418-6
A read-aloud story in which a little girl brings each of her pet animals to the library, until her elephant wrecks havoc and the menagerie goes back home to stay and read library books!

Miller, William. Richard Wright and the Library Card. Illustrated by Gregory Christie. New York: Lee and Low Books, 1997. ISBN: 1-880-00057-1
An eye-opening story for children based on an account in Richard Wright's autobiography Black Boy about the time he attempts to obtain and use a library card in a racist Southern town in which African Americans are not allowed to check out books.

Stewart, Sarah. The Library. Illustrated by David Small. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1995. ISBN: 0374343888
A wonderfully illustrated rhyming story about Elizabeth Brown, whose life so revolves around books that she must think of an unusual solution when the books pile up and begin to block her doors and windows.

Thaler, Mike. The Librarian from the Black Lagoon. Illustrated by Jared Lee. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1997. ISBN: 0-590-50311-1
A just-for-fun story about a surprising visit to the school librarian, a.k.a. " The Laminator" who is reputed to bolt the books to the shelves in alphabetical order and read from the card catalogue for storytime.

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Levinson, Nancy Smiler. Clara and the Bookwagon. Illustrations by Carolyn Croll. NewYork: Harper Collins, 1988 ISBN: 0-06-023838-0
A wonderful story based on a true account, of Clara who yearns to check a book out from the bookwagon which serves her rural community even though her father disapproves of her learning to read. A level 3 easy reader.

Porte, Barbara Ann. Harry in Trouble. Illustrated by Yossi Abolafia. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1989. ISBN 0-688-07722-6
Harry, whose mother died when he was one, strikes a deal with the librarian Mrs.Katz after he loses his library card three times in a row. An ALA Notable easy reader level 2.


Spinelli, Jerry. The Library Card. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1997 ISBN: 0-590-3863306
Many kids will feel they can relate to these four short stories linked together by a floating blue library card which appears and reappears to various children whom no one would ever mistake for goody-two-shoes.


Bellairs, John. The Dark Secret of Weatherend. New York: Penguin Books, 1984. ISBN: 0-14-038006-X
Fourteen-year-old Anthony Monday, aided by his friend Miss Eells the librarian, must solve the mystery of increasingly bizarre weather patterns before it is too late to stop the evil which threatens his town. Children who love this book may find themselves hooked on John Bellairs many compelling mysteries.

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Image of Libraries and Librarians in Literature: Fiction About Libraries, Librarians and Writers


Ackroyd, Peter. Chatterton
Poet Charles Wynchwood believes writer Chatterton did not commit suicide at 18 as believed by all, due to the discovery of a painting depicting Chatterton at a much older age. He obtains a manuscript that seems to indicate that Chatterton faked his own death.

Anderson, Sherwood. Beyond Desire
A Georgia librarian gets involved in the labor struggle of Southern mill workers.

Astley, Thea. Reaching Tin River
While working as a librarian trainee in Australia, Belle, she discovers a photograph of Gaden Lockyer while in the archives. She becomes intrigued, then obsessed as she begins researching his life while leaving her own behind, and eventually finds herself in the town of Tin River, where Lockyer spent his final days.

Cambor, Kathleen. In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club built in the hills of Pennsylvania, exists for the elite including Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie. The dam, separating the club above and Johnstown below, eventually gives way wreaking devastation to be called the 1889 Johnstown flood hereafter. The lives of several characters entertwine including the intrepid librarian, Grace who is interested in starting anew with Frank

Cooley, Martha. The Archivist
Matthias, the central character, is the archivist in charge of a series of letters from T.S. Eliot.

Cussler, Clive. Valhalla Rising
action-adventure novel (and the entire "Dirk Pitt" series) features an extremely advance computer system that the main characters use for all their information seeking needs. The computer mastermind is Hiram Yeager, who developed an artificial intelligence system with a 3-d interface he modelled on his wife. The computer has access to an extensive collection of information on topics related to the ocean, but also independently hacks into other computer systems to get information to answer questions on any other topics.

Ende, Michael. The Neverending Story
This fantasy, originally written in German, features a young boy, Bastian Balthazar Bux, who begins reading about the imaginary world of Fantastica and literally becomes lost in the story.

Findley, Timothy. Headhunter
Lilah Kemp, a schizophrenic and former librarian is a self-proclaimed psychic. She has a tendency to bring fictional characters and dead people into this world. The book opens in the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library when she accidentally lets the evil Kurtz escape from Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and is compelled to find a Marlow to capture Kurtz and return him to the pages where he belongs.

Fitzgerald, Penelope. The Bookshop
It's 1959 and widow Florence Green uses her small inheritance to start a bookshop in a tiny Suffolk town. She meets resistance in the form of a Mrs. Gamart, who desires to erect an arts center on the same property.

Giles, Molly. Iron Shoes
Kay, a branch library employee, discovers one day that her life resembles the fairy tale she reads at night to her son titled "Iron Shoes". Her overbearing parents and distant husband are the iron shoes that keep her in place and holds her back from experiencing life.

Grayson, Emily. The Observatory
Indentical twin sisters could be no less alike than Liz Mallory, the shy librarian and Harper, the wild and artistic one. As a result of a family tragedy, Liz becomes closer to her sister and nephew and accidentally falls in love with an astronomer who, you guessed it...takes her to see his observatory.

Hegi, Ursula. Stones From the River
Trudi Montag, a dwarf and the librarian/historian in her German town, always wanted to be like everyone else. She harbors fugitives during World War II from the Nazis and records the town secrets. In the process, she discovers that, like stones from the river bottom which are only seen if one dives deep enough, being different is a secret everyone shares.

King, Stephen. Bag of Bones
Suspense writer Mike Noonan is suffering from a four-year case of writer's block after the sudden death of his wife. He returns to their summer lakeside home to quell his nightmares and bring closure to that portion of his life. While confronting his past, he discovers the troubled spirits, including his wife's, haunting the house.

King, Stephen. It
A librarian in a small town in Maine is the keeper of an ancient secret, and must bring his childhood friends back home to fight evil in this frightening tale from the master of horror.

Kurzweil, Allen. The Grand Complication.
NYPL Reference librarian Alexander Short is hired by elderly wealthy bibliophile Henry James Jesson III to discover what happened to "The Grand Complication", which was contained within one of the compartments of a glass-front cabinet of curiosities that tell the life of an 18th-century inventor. Theft, mystery and intrigue await the reader.

Leclaire, Anne. Sideshow
A museum librarian volunteers for an unusual exhibit in which her dreams are projected for all to see.

Mattison, Alice. The Book Borrower
Two young mothers meet in a park and over the plot of a book that one loans to the other, they form a lifelong friendship.

McCracken, Elizabeth. The Giant's House
The story of an unusual friendship between a lonely librarian and an extremely tall young man, and how their growing relationship benefits them both.

Nicholson, Geoff. Hunters and Gatherers
A failed writer doing research for a book about unusual collections finds the odd people he meets tell him a great deal about the creative process.

Peck, Richard. The Last Safe Place on Earth
In a "perfect" suburb parents hope they can keep bad influences at bay by making sure there are no controversial books in the schools.

Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Club Dumas.
The main character in this novel is an rare book researcher who is simultaneously tracking down books on Dumas and the occult. This was the basis for the movie "The Ninth Gate," although most of the plot was cut out.

Phillips, Susan E. This Heart of Mine
A romance of star-crossed lovers, one of whom is a children's book illustrator.

Preston, Caroline. Lucy Crocker 2.0
A children's librarian creates a computer game, saves a company, and pulls her children away from the computer in this fun book!

Spencer, William Zod. Wallop
A children's book writer, institutionalized and tormented by grief, fears a story he has written is coming true.

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Abbott, Jeff. Do unto others
Jordan Poteet does not have an MLS degree, but manages to hire on as the head of the Mirabeau library in Texas. Jordan becomes a suspect after police discover one of his patrons dead after complaining to him about smut like Lawrence and Twain on the shelves.

Beaton, M.C. Death of a Scriptwriter
When a woman's beloved mystery book is altered for a T.V. series, is she angry enough at the changes to murder the scriptwriter?

Block, Lawrence. The Burglar in the Library
A group of guests, snowbound in an English style inn, find a body in the library! All of this author's "Bernard Rhodenbarr" mysteries feature a burglar who runs a bookstore on the side. For those who like rare books mixed with murder!

Carl, Lillian Stewart. Memory and Desire
Claire Godwin, a Texas high school librarian, travels to London to discover what happened to her best friend one year after her disappearance. Melinda ventured to London and began assisting in the restoration of a historic building. Her body was not found at the time, but mysteriously appears after Claire arrives.

Christie, Agatha. The Body in the Library
At 7AM, in the private library of Gossington Hall, a beautiful but quite dead woman in an evening dress is found by the Bantry's housemaid and Miss Marple is called to investigate.

Dereske, Jo. Miss Zukas shelves the evidence
Librarian and amateur detective Helma Zukas starts an investigation when her neighbor's garden produces a fresh corpse and a curious library book.

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose
A murder mystery set in an Italian monastic library.

Estleman, Loren D. A Smile on the Face of the Tiger
A fifties pulp fiction writer, who is about to have is work reprinted, has returned his book advance and disappeared.

Giencke, Jill. Fatal facts
Archivist Rose Claypool is Lunham College's first librarian to organize the archives and she's looking forward to delving into documents, but a murderer is intent on stopping her.

Goodrum, Charles A. The Best Cellar
Murder and mystery in the Werner-Bok Library, and, as in all the books in this series, librarian Crighton Jones must solve the case! History states that in 1814, the British burned Washington, D.C. thus destroying the White House, the Capitol and the Library of Congress and its entire collection. Replacement books came as a result of former President Thomas Jefferson selling his 6000-volume collection for $24,000 to Congress. Librarian Jones investigates to discover what truly occurred after letters indicate that the original books may still exist.

Goor, Batya. Literary Murder
A famous book critic and professor of literature is found murdered … did an author take a bad review too seriously?

Hall, James. Rough Draft
A former cop turned mystery writer finds that a copy of one of her books seems to have been added to in strange code by her parent's killers!

Harris, Charlaine. Real murders
Librarian Aurora Teagarden once again finds herself investigating the murders of her fellow members of The Real Murders Society in Lawrenceton, Georgia.

Howard, Linda. Open Season
Librarian Daisy Minor awakens one day to the ringing of her biological clock and springs into action. After a complete makeover, the new blond searches for a Mr. Right at the Buffalo club. Police Chief Jack Russo comes to her rescue during a brawl at the club while investigating a case of date rate drugs and a white-slavery sex ring.

King, Ross. Ex-Libris
A "literate historical mystery" featuring a mild-mannered London bookseller searching for a rare manuscript.

McDermid, Val. Booked for Murder
When a bestselling author is killed, police discover the manner of her death matches one of her unfinished novels!

Meier, Leslie. Valentine Murder
Who murdered Bitsy Howell, the new librarian? She was in the children's room preparing for storytime and later found by Lucy Stone, a new library board member. Lucy embarks on an investigation of her fellow board members despite someone's attempts to frighten her away.

Meredith, D. R. By Hook or By Book.
26 year old Megan Clark, a reference librarian in Amarillo, Texas, ellicts the assistance of the mystery buffs in The Murder by the Yard book club when a valuble manuscript is missing and its owner is found murdered.

Meredith, D. R. Murder in Volume.
The membership of the Murder by the Yard book club is suspect when one of their own is found murdered. Reference librarian Megan Clark and her group members investigate the crime to discover the identity of the killer.

Meredith, D. R. Murder Past Due.
The Murder by the Yard book club takes a tour of famous Amarillo murder sites and they find the facts surrounding of the murder-suicide at the Gorman estate of particular interest, unfortunately their probing induces the murderer to return to quell their curiousity.

Michaels, Barbara. Shattered Silk
A librarian turned romance writer solves a mystery.

Monfredo, Miriam. Seneca Falls Inheritance : A Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery
Librarian Glynis Tryon is cataloging a donation to the Seneca Falls library from a Friedrich Steicher. When Steicher family Bible is mistakely included in the donation, the illegitimate half-sister of Karl Steicher asks her to handle it. She refuses, but becomes involved after the woman is found murdered.

Power, M.S. Nathan Crosby's Fan Mail
In this psychological thriller, first time author Gideon Turner writes an novel using his knowledge of horses and the turf and scores an instant hit. However, his fictional murder mystery turns deatly when the book's murderer pens a letter to the author.

Roberts, Gillian. Adam and Evil
This ninth Amanda Pepper mystery finds teacher Amanda wondering where her troubled student Adam Evans has disappeared to during a field trip to the Philadelphia Free Library. After the librarian conducting the tour is found murdered, Amanda vows to solve the mystery.

Robinson, Lilian S. Murder Most Puzzling: A Literary Mystery
When Margaret Jameson becomes a professor of poetry and stumbles upon an old manuscript, she never believes it will lead to murder.

Truman, Margaret. Murder at the Library of Congress
"Violence among the scholarly stacks" occurs when Pre-Columbian art expert Annabel Reed investigates the disappearance of a scholar and the appearance of a second diary of Columbus' voyage in our National Library. First, one LC employee, Michele Paul, is found murdered and Annabel's investigation uncovers a second murder of an LC employee that took place eight years earlier.

Van Gieson, Judith. The Stolen Blue
Rare books librarian Claire Reynier visits the home of her mentor to collect his private collection of rare and valuable books about New Mexico. While there she bears witness to the signing of his will; later the next day, she discovers he died of exposure during the night.

Westlake, Donald. The Hook
At the New York Public Library, well-known author Proctor offers to publish the novel of languishing author Prentice and give him half the advance ($500,000). The hook is that Prentice must eliminate Proctor's greedy soon-to-be ex-wife.

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Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451
In a future society books are banned, so a group of underground rebels memorize the classics to preserve them for the future.

Card, Orson Scott. Wyrms
One chapter in this book from a classic science fiction writer concerns "Heffiji," a creature who collects answers and provides them free upon request. Heffiji is the otherworld reference librarian!

Goldstein, Lisa Summer King, Winter Fool
King Gobro exiles minor courtier Valemar to Tobol, a rural fishing community. There he mees Taja, the beautiful librarian who guards the library containing all the ancient history in the kingdom. Documents disocvered by Taja could remove the current King and place the rightful heir, Valemar, on the throne, but will he act upon them?

McMullen, Sean. Souls in the Great Machine
Government is based on libraries and librarians rule the world in 40th century Australia. After surviving the nuclear winter called Greatwinter, humans fear the Mirrorsun, a steadily growing band across the sun. 'The Call' is a periodic phenomenon causing humans and other mammals to amble mindlessly toward the the ocean unless restrained. Zarvora has develped a machine to unify the world, The Calculor, a machine running off humans that may defeat the Call.

Miller, Walter. A Canticle for Liebowitz
After a nuclear war, monks struggle to preserve the writings of humanity.

Odom, Mel Rover, The
Timid little halfling Edgewick (Wick) Lamplighter, third level librarian in the remote and secret Vault of All Known Knowledge usually reads about adventures rather than participating. When an errand goes awry and he kills some Boneblights, he is shanghaied by dwaves as they believe him to be a fierce fighter and the adventures begin.

Orwell, George. 1984
The central character in this science fiction classic works in the library for the all-powerful "Ministry of Truth."

Powers, Richard. The Gold Bug Variations
Librarian Jan O'Deigh researches the past of brilliant geneticist Stuart Ressler, at his former colleague's request, and discovers him wasting his life a dead-end job. Jan finds herself delving into the connections between different encrypted messages in our universe such as genetic code and musical notes .

Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories
After this author was sentenced to death for a book he wrote, he created this fantasy about how it feels to have your words and stories taken away.

Vinge, Vernor A. Fire Upon the Deep
In future worlds whole civilizations depend on connectivity to "the net" and it is up to librarians to interpret layers of indexing to find the meaningful information that lies buried.

Wilson, Robert. The Perseids and Other Stories
Short stories in a bookshop setting.


Drake, David. Overdue Notice: Poems From the Library
A wonderful collection of humerous and acerbic poetry that seeks to break the stereotypes of librarianship.


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