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Librarians On Screen

November 2 2020

People tend to think that librarianship is a rather sedate, calm, quiet kind of job (insert loud librarian laughter here). As such, it's not often that librarians are featured in adventure stories. So here is a mini celebration of adventurous librarians on screens big and small for you to check out.


Flynn Carsen in The Librarian

Would you ever think that librarians would make good characters for action movies and a tv series? Screenwriter David Titcher thought they would. So he came up with the idea of The Librarian, a movie series (and a spinoff tv show, The Librarians). In the world of the franchise not all librarians are regular librarians – some are Librarians, guardians of magical artifacts who ensure said objects don’t fall into the wrong hands. Being a Librarian is not for the faint of heart.

If you’d like to delve into the franchise, we’d recommend you start with the movies, which star Noah Wyle (better known for his role as Dr. John Carter in the tv show ER). It all begins with The Quest for the Spear, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes (best known as Will Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If you watch Buffy, it’s easy to forget that Rupert Giles is supposed to be a school librarian. While he’s good at his job of providing the protagonist with information regarding her foes, he’s... uh... not the greatest at “librarianing” when it comes to the school at large. To be fair, his work at the school is a cover for being able to remain close to his ward, the vampire slayer.

While he may not be much of a librarian when it comes to helping the public, his skills are undeniable when it comes to meeting Buffy’s information needs. Though a central character in an adventure series, he’s not typically part of the flashy portions of the show’s storylines. Rather, like your typical librarian, most of his contribution is doing the behind-the-scenes grunt work necessary for everyone else to get their job done.

Mr. Dewey in The Pagemaster

Mr. Dewey, the librarian in The Pagemaster, appears only at the beginning and the end of the movie, but he plays a pivotal role in sending the hero on his adventure. It’s not entirely clear whether he neglects his patrons like Rupert Giles or if his library is devoid of visitors because it’s magical and only appears to those in need (or, perhaps, the fact that the story is set on a late stormy night had something to do with it...).


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