Libraries in Movies

by Courtney Butler, Head Editor, INALJ Idaho

Libraries in Movies

CourtneyButlerI love doing movie marathons – especially themed ones. I was recently thinking of doing such a themed marathon to commemorate my official entrance into the library profession post-degree and voilà! I came up with a list of my five favorite movies that involve libraries, books, and archives. They are as follows:

Beauty and the Beast

Ah, Belle, the quintessential bookworm. What a lucky lady. Not only does she read so much that her local librarian decides to start gifting her favorite books to her but the love of her life ends up giving her a massive, gorgeous library just to show he appreciates her. I make sure to point that out every time I watch this movie with my fiancé.

The Pagemaster

A timid McCauley Culkin stumbles into a library to shelter from a storm. He hits his head and gets knocked unconscious only to be turned into a cartoon character that befriends book versions of Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Stewart, and many others. His new book friends eventually help him discover his inner courage through a series of adventures that resemble classic stories. Between the cast, the whimsical humor, and the implication that all you need is a little imagination to have all kinds of adventures makes this one of my faaaaavorite movies of all time.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, & The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice

Sure, these made-for-TV movies are pretty corny, but they were also pretty fun. Plus, the question “So do you hunt for treasure and fight bad guys just like in that Noah Wyle movie?” ranks right up there next to “Why do you need a Master’s degree to shelve books?” in the category of ‘questions I get asked most often when people find out I have an MLS’.

Shawshank Redemption

When the main character/prisoner is assigned to work in the prison library, he finds nothing more than a back room filled with a few worn out, outdated, unorganized books. He spends years building it up into a very up-to-date and useful space. Doing so involves spending years lobbying government officials for more money – something many of us can relate to, amirite?

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Okay, so the archives reference in this one is actually incredibly brief, but I still love the sassy librarian’s line: “If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist!” I’ve had days like that too, space librarian lady.

There are many, many more great movies with library/librarian/reading/book/archives references. What are some of your favorites? Desk Set? The Day after Tomorrow? Party Girl? The Mummy? The Music Man? Others?

  11 comments for “Libraries in Movies

  1. August 29, 2013 at 11:44 am

    …And who can forget the 50-foot tall librarian in Disney’s summer hit ‘Monsters University’? She was one scary lady!

    The scene is on YouTube (‘monsters university librarian scene’). Wasn’t sure how to embed it here…sorry…

  2. August 29, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I do love the library in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and my overall favorite reel librarian film is ‘Party Girl’ 🙂 There is also an interesting and insightful blog all about libraries in films, Libraries at the Movies,

  3. Puerto Rico to Wyoming editors
    August 29, 2013 at 12:27 am

    This could definitely go hand and hand in the blog interview i did with the writer of the Reel LIbrarians blog You should definitely check her blog out when you have a chance. It will give you ideas of more librarian films to watch and she even goes pretty in depth with some of the films, it’s great! I definitely want to have a library movie marathon some day 🙂

  4. August 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    My favorite on screen librarian is Evie from The Mummy. My favorite overall movie is The Desk Set because it combined the power of the librarian and the fact checker (the career I had before I became a librarian).

  5. RM Romandia
    August 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Also: The librarian who helps Mathilda out, the librarian & her brother in “Where the Heart Is”, and I know we’re talking about libraries, but I have to put in the bookstore from “Neverending Story”. How about that dumb part in “Wonderful Life” about Donna Reed’s sad fate of becoming “the librarian”?

  6. RM Romandia
    August 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag–it has everything: romance, humor, action, librarians!

  7. Paul Hottinger
    August 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I love the librarian ghost in Ghostbusters! Sometimes I feel like her and want to just scare people away 😉

  8. VBR
    August 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Most of my favorite book and library references are in Doctor Who.

    Personal favorite: “Books: greatest arsenal we could possibly have. Arm yourself.”

    • Alia
      September 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Agreed! Did you see the episode Journey to the Center of the TARDIS? The TARDIS’ library is insane! It is probably my favorite along with Belle’s.

  9. Sarah
    August 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I love the librarian as heroin, Evy in The Mummy is a personal favorite.

    • Sarah
      August 28, 2013 at 11:59 am

      *heroine. Sticking key missed the “e.”

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