To most people, librarians are merely the custodians of their local libraries, armed with withering glare and a loud "shhhhh" to discourage patrons from talking too loud. While society largely takes librarians for granted, these highly trained professionals are the first line of defense for preserving the written word for future generations. As the pre-Internet home to much of the world's collected knowledge, librarians had the critical job of collecting and cataloguing libraries for the public's use.
That's why today is National Librarians Day, where we acknowledge librarians for their largely unheralded work. And what better way to celebrate National Librarians Day then to run down some of our favorite fictional librarians? So, pay any outstanding late fees and then check out our top five fictional librarians:
Although she's better known for her late night adventures as Batgirl, Barbara Gordon is also an accomplished professional librarian. When DC first introduced her in 1967, Gordon had a PhD in Library Science and was the head of the Gotham City public library. That makes her superhero career even more impressive, as she juggled the demands of running a large urban library system with her responsibilities as one of Batman's many operatives. Although DC eventually shuffled Gordon away from her profession after the Joker shot her and left her paralyzed, Gordon still used her librarian skills when collecting and organizing information as Oracle. Sure, Oracle was a world class hacker and computer specialist, but it takes a real pro to disseminate all that collected knowledge and make sure it got to the right superheroes!prevnext
Although most of Sunnydale knew him as the stuffy librarian at the local high school, Rupert Giles was actually the Watcher for Buffy Summers, a fledgling vampire slayer. It's unclear whether Giles actually has a library science degree or if it was just part of his "cover", but his library served as Buffy's base during the show's first few seasons. Giles was an essential part of Buffy's support team, providing information on many of the demons and creatures she and the rest of the "Scooby Gang" faced, and provided emotional support for Buffy and her friends. And while he certainly looked the part of a librarian with a tweed jacket and glasses, Giles was also handy in a fight and helped train Buffy in becoming a "proper" Slayer. In later seasons, Giles transitioned away from being a librarian, in part because he blew up his library to kill the demonic Mayor of Sunnydale.prevnext
Neil Gaiman's Sandman introduced readers to Morpheus, the ruler of the Dreaming and the personification of both dreams and stories. Since Morpheus is literally every story ever conceived, it stands to reason he has an extensive personal library in his realm, which contains every book ever dreamed of, which includes books that were never actually written. Morpheus gave the task of protecting his Library to Lucien, his first and most loyal companion. When Morpheus disappeared from the Dreaming for an extended period of time, Lucien became the effective caretaker for the entire realm, maintaining it as best he could until his master returned home. As Sandman progressed, Morpheus relied on Lucien more and more, and even gave Lucien authority over the Dreaming during his many absences. Even with his increased responsibilities, Lucien was still a librarian first and used deadly force to protect his library from several creatures that had invaded Morpheus's castle.prevnext
An amateur librarian living in Cairo during the 1920s, Evie Carnahan's true passion was Egyptology. Unfortunately, no school would accept Evie due to her lack of field experience and her gender, so she leapt at the chance to find the lost City of the Dead alongside the rugged American soldier Rick O'Connell. Unfortunately, the group accidentally awoke a cursed Mummy, who then proceeded to unleash Biblical plagues upon Egypt while trying to capture Evie in order to sacrifice her and resurrect his lost love. During their final showdown with the mummy, it wasn't Rick's brute strength or fighting abilities that saved the day, it was Evie's fluency in ancient Egyptian. Reading a page from an ancient Egyptian book of rituals, Evie turned the mummy mortal, allowing Rick to "kill" the mummy…until he returned for the sequel.prevnext
Xi'an Coy Manh
A member of Professor Xavier's third class of mutant students, Xi'an Coy Manh was one of the founding members of the New Mutants and the team's first unofficial leader. Nicknamed Karma, Manh had the power to "possess" others with her mind, a skill with some use in the field but wasn't nearly as useful as most of her other teammates. That's possibly why Manh eventually left the New Mutants to become a librarian at the University of Chicago. She later reunited with her friend and fellow X-Men Kitty Pryde at the University and helped Kitty defeat a mutant hate group on campus. She later returned to the Xavier Institute at the urging of her ex-teammate Danielle Moonstar and became the school's librarian and French teacher. Karma held that role until Cyclops disbanded the school and moved the team to San Francisco.prev