The Best Librarians in Pop Culture

Entering the library, there’s stacks and stacks of books to your left. On your right is a crabby elderly woman hunched over the front desk, sneering at you over her glasses like you’ve ascended from the dregs of a sewer rat colony. Not quite right? Maybe yours wore a pink cardigan and gave out stale butterscotch candies, and always smelled like honey and lavender. Or maybe it was a dude that scoffed at your book taste whenever you checked out – the bitter ex-professor that never waved your late fee. My point is, our Dewey decimal devotees come in all shapes and sizes. As easy as it is to typecast your librarian, don’t be fooled by the glasses –  they’re a diverse breed of bookies. To prove it, here’s a few of our favorite mold-breaking, ISBN-slaying librarians from you favorite movies and shows.


Evelyn O’Connell, The Mummy


Intrigued by ancient Egypt and it’s hidden relics and gems, Evelyn became a librarian to delve deeper into her childhood fascination. She’s clumsy and brilliant, not to mention killing it in the librarian babe pool. Her wits aid the crew and saves them more than once, and best of all she’s proud of her job – just like any alphabetizing wiz should be.


Taystee, Orange is the New Black 

Everyone needs a recommendation go-to, and as a prison inmate it’s no different. Intelligent, clever, knowledgeable, and yes a criminal, Taystee doesn’t mess around with books – and doesn’t like others messing around in the library when she’s on duty either.


The Library Cop, Seinfeld

Eh, so we’re bending the rules on what it means to be a librarian… If you’re remotely familiar with the episode “The Library”, you know that this employee from the New York public Library is enough of a book enthusiast to claim the title of librarian – at least without anyone second guessing his elite bibliophile status. In this episode, seeking justice against the “hippies burning library cards” and other grievances, the library cop makes a visit to Jerry’s to sort out an unpaid book fee.   


Tammy 2, Parks and Rec

This is the librarian who would bring inordinate amounts of booze to the book club and debatably, illegal drugs. By far the funniest and most oversexed librarian in the realm of pop culture, Tammy is a typecast breaking character who brings together the world of books with the world of the bat-shit crazy.


Margaret Gesner, Monsters University

Although stereotypes are frowned upon, Margaret Gesner truly epitomizes the curmudgeon old librarian. Her form is ambiguous – snail, slug, squid? – but then again, I’ve always assumed Mike Wazowski was an edamame bean so at least hers is beyond the realm of side dishes. From first looks, she appears to be just your average librarian, but concealed beneath her desk are a swarm of tentacles. Equally useful to speedily categorize titles or throw whispering patrons out the window, she commands control over her library with a rigor unknown to any other spineless cephalopod.


Ghost Librarian, Ghost Busters

Ghosts, they’re just like us. Although this librarian appears all sweet and demure at first, try to interrupt her reading and you’re in for a gnash of teeth and a piercing howl… Nothing bolsters the incentive to pay your 35 cent late fee like a ghost in a pink dress!


Belle, Beauty and the Beast

Because it wouldn’t be a pop culture list without at least one Disney reference. She’s the paragon of the literary morals we all seek to live by: don’t judge a book by it’s cover, don’t dog ear, sing about how much you love books. Belle turns down the hunky and vapid Gaston because he doesn’t read, and opts instead for the Beast. Like any good Disney story, love sets him free and viola, he’s a hunk. Belle and the Beast live happily ever after, enjoying their lavish library and hanging out with Lenox’s finest kitchenware.


Barbara Gordon, Batman

Librarian by day, crime fighting heroine by night – Barbara Gordon tops the charts for most bad-ass librarian. 


Conan the Librarian, UHF

Imagine your local librarian, then imagine his or her face slowly morphing into that of a chiselled Austrian build, and donning the clothes of a barbarian. It’s the lofty dream of many a librarian – to achieve the kind of force that can only be the emblem of the most ardent book lovers. Although superficially Conan is a parody of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian and our favorite household-name Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the character is also an assertive defence against librarianship being a strictly female trade.

Of course, we can’t include every cool, nerdy, awesome, brainiac librarian in this list. Who’s your favorite?


Featured image courtesy of Lib Guides.