Movie Mom

Movie Mom

List: Librarians in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate National Library Week! This year’s chairman is “Coraline” author Neil Gaiman. Visit your public library to take a look at what’s available in books, DVDs, and audio — and to thank your librarian. A special thank you shout-out from me to my favorite librarian, my sister Mary.

And check out some of these movies about libraries and librarians. Here’s my favorite:

  • jestrfyl

    This is an EXHAUSTIVE list!! There was not a single reference that I could think of that was not on the list. As the son of a librarian and the brother of two librarians, I have been especially attentive to the role librarians have played in many movies and TV shows. One of my all time favorite films has been Desk Set – I think it was a movie my mom had all three of us watch, and it influenced each of our career choices (I am the black sheep, the lone non-librarian, but she forgave me for becoming a minister instead).
    Do you know about Warrior Librarians? I have given both sisters Warrior Librarian mugs and tote bags. there is also a comic strip for librarians, I believe it is called Off the Shelf or something like that.

  • Alicia

    I agree with Jestrfyl, Nell. That is a very long and thorough list. Especially love the library scene in “Shadow of a Doubt.” Alfred Hitchcock captures Middle America so well in that film that I sometimes feel I have wandered into “It’s a Wonderful Life,” especially during the library scene.
    I love “The Music Man,” of course, and sometimes I think I am “Marian.”

  • Dave

    Not so much a movie librarian, but my vote for the best librarian in fiction goes to Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), high school librarian and watcher to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think a national librarians association made Giles their poster boy at one point.

  • Nell Minow

    You can count on librarians to be thorough! And I love Desk Set, too, jestrfyl. I always wanted to be like the women in that movie, with all those random facts at my fingertips. Thank goodness Google makes it possible!
    I’ve given my sister librarian t-shirts (I Read Banned Books, etc.) and have talked to the Off the Shelf people. Librarians are wonderful!

  • Nell Minow

    Great choices, Dave and Alicia! I also love the Quaker librarian in “The Philadelphia Story” (“What does thee wish?”) and the librarian in “Ghostbusters.”

  • Kevin L.

    Such a long list, but two big omissions:
    “The Day After Tomorrow”, where the heroes escape Armageddon by taking refuge in the New York Public Library (burning books for fuel), and the librarian provides some life-saving information.
    “Ball of Fire (1941)” – not technically a library, but Gary Cooper and his fellow encyclopedia researchers are turned upside down by the arrival of Barbar Stanwyck.
    The Shawshank Redemption
    The Music Man
    The Name of the Rose
    Something Wicked This Way Comes
    Soylent Green
    Top moment: In “Desk Set”, reference librarian Katherine Hepburn challenges computer expert Spencer Tracy with the line:
    “Did you invent something that carries the mail?”
    Oh, how little they knew.

  • Kevin L.

    One other omission, though ironic in nature: the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last”, where Burgess Meredith gets everything he ever wished for – then breaks his glasses.
    p.s. Thanks for upgrading your Captcha tool.

  • Nell Minow

    GREAT additions, Kevin! “Ball of Fire” is one of my very favorite movies. I couldn’t believe it in “Day After Tomorrow” when they burned books instead of, say, tables and chairs! And that “Twilight Zone” episode still haunts me.

  • Sinclair Gordon

    An blog entirely about libraries and librarians in movies

  • Nell Minow

    That’s great, Mr. Gordon, thanks!

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