50 Fictional Librarians, Ranked
Here at Literary Hub, we love librarians. I mean, really everything about them—their knowledge, their kindness, their demon-slaying abilities. If you love them too, then you probably feel a little jolt of extra excitement whenever they show up in pop culture. Or, okay, maybe you aren’t a total nerd, but here you are looking at my ranking of fictional librarians, so I think it’s a fair bet that you are. (Don’t worry—it’s a good thing.) Either way, now that you’re here, please enjoy this totally unscientific, clearly incomplete, undoubtedly age-biased ranking of the best fictional librarians from film, literature, television, and the internet. Feel free to add on ad infinitum in the comments; that’s what comments are for.
50. Mary Hatch, It’s a Wonderful Life
Home library: Pottersville library
Special talents: Being a figment of George’s imagination, and also screaming?
The catch: Mary’s only a dowdy librarian in the world in which George had never been born—quelle horreur! He must save her from this fate of books and cute spectacles . . .
49. Helena Bonham Carter, the music video for “Out of the Game“
Home library: the Library of the Zoological Society of London
Special talents: Cigarette crushing, lip-synching, fantasizing, online shopping.
Rufus Wainwright on HBC: “[The video] features the two of us being naughty in the library. We have been friends for years. Not only is she very beautiful, very glamorous, but she is also incredibly funny. At the end of the video she is basically wearing a bra. So I very much appreciate her friendship for furthering my career.”
48. Miss Dalton, “The Librarian,” SNL
Home library: Villines Academy library
Special talents: Um, you’ll have to watch to find out.
File under: Lampshading lazy tropes
47. Madam Pince, Harry Potter
Home library: Hogwarts School Library
Special talents: Feather duster-wielding, glaring, prowling, being resolutely unhelpful
He who folds a leaf down, the devil toast brown: “Despoiled! Desecrated! Befouled!”
Seriously, though, what librarian pissed off Jo: “Madam Pince, the librarian, was a thin, irritable woman who looked like an underfed vulture.” AND “They waited, and a moment later the vulturelike countenance of Madam Pince appeared around the corner, her sunken cheeks, her skin like parchment, and her long hooked nose illuminated unflatteringly by the lamp she was carrying.”
46. The Librarian, aka Margaret Gesner, Monsters University
Home library: Monsters University Library
Special talents: Uncanny hearing ability, tentacles.
Fair warning: “In a real Scare, you do not want to get caught by a kid’s parent. And in this event, you do not want to get caught by . . . the librarian.”
45. Sally Diamon, Chainsaw Sally
Home library: Porterville Public Library
Special talents: Librarian by day . . . serial killer by night!
Here be consequences: “Is it not true that in June of last year you checked out a book from the public library? And is it not true that since then that book has not been able to be checked out by any other patron of the Porterville Public Library? Is it?”
44. Unidentified Librarian (Stan Lee), The Amazing Spider-Man
Home library: Midtown Science High School library
Special talents: Primarily ignoring the epic monster fight going on right behind him; also he’s really pulling off that bow tie
King of the cameo: Honestly.
43. Files and Records, Angel
Home library: Wolfram & Hart files and records room
Special talents: Knowing everything that is in every single file, selling Progressive Insurance (wait)
Why you should always ask the librarian before you spend hours searching: “I’m Files and Records. It’s my job.”
42. Karen, “Karen”
Home library: University of Queensland Library
Special talents: helps you find Hemingway, helps you find Genet, helps you find Brecht, helps you find Chandler, helps you find James Joyce, always makes the right choice!
You’ll just have to: listen for yourself.
41. Jenny, Love Story
Home library: Radcliffe library
Special talents: Spunk, perfect shiny hair, music appreciation
Introductory dialogue (from the book, mind you): “I’m not talking legality, Preppie, I’m talking ethics. You guys have five million books. We have a few lousy thousand.”