Chances are the Doctor won’t be showing up at your local library anytime soon—unless, of course, you have an infestation of Vashta Nerada (in which case, don’t forget to count the shadows!). But whether in fantasy or science fiction, there are any number of amazing fictional libraries we’d love to visit, especially to meet up with the guardians of the stacks.
So we turned to Twitter to find out where your SFF librarian loyalties lie. Here are your favorites, as well as a few of our own!
Rupert Giles—Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Librarian of Sunnydale High School, Watcher of slayers, and the wizard-formerly-known-as-Ripper—is there anything this man can’t do? Giles won us over guiding Buffy toward her destiny, reminding us all that the best defense against evil is a little research. Giles was typically stuffy and intellectual, but he could cut loose from time to time—he has a passion for open mic nights, Halloween costumes, and a certain magical chocolate bar. And who could forget the practically poetic speech he gave defending the fact that knowledge should be, well… smelly.
The Librarian—The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
Transformed into an orangutan by a wayward beam of magic, the Librarian is a member of the small, elite group who have the knowledge and ability to travel through L-space. His true identity is unknown and he speaks only through a series of “ooks” and “eeks,” but he’s still a pretty low-key guy when he’s not protecting the world’s knowledge. Just don’t call him a monkey. Trust us on that one.
Evelyn Carnahan—The Mummy
How could you not love a brilliant Egyptologist who will stop at nothing to find the lost book of Amun-Ra, even when it brings her face-to-face with flesh-eating scarabs and an army of the undead? She may be a bit clumsy early on, but Evie holds her own with a gun and dagger, dishes out the sass as well as the facts, and delivers adorably drunken proclamations like this:
“I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am... I am a librarian.”
Jocasta Nu—Star Wars: The Clone Wars
As if passing the trials of the Jedi Academy wasn’t enough to secure her place on this list, Jocasta went on to serve as Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives where she faced down Darth Vader himself. She refused to ignite the Jedi Beacon, an act of bravery that would be her last. She died as a hero, defending the place, and the people, she wanted most to protect.
Lucien—The Sandman Comic Series by Neil Gaiman
The first Raven of Morpheus, Lucien is entrusted with watching over Morpheus’s crib while he’s away. Though that’s not his only job.
Lucien is also Chief Librarian of a collection that includes every book ever written, conceived, or even dreamt of. Which means he can spend his time perusing the unfinished volumes of Ray Bradbury or flipping through the dream-stories of J.R.R. Tolkien—we’re definitely jealous! Plus, if he’s been poking around in G.R.R. Martin’s thoughts, Lucien probably already knows who finally takes the Iron Throne. Sigh.
Night Vale Public Librarians—Welcome to Night Vale
Boasting more than 30 copies of Helen Hunt’s biography, the Night Vale Public Library really is the place to be. And if you’ve been drafted into the summer reading program (“Catch the flesh-eating reading bacterium!”), you really have to be there. Seriously, you have no choice.
But don’t worry, the library is totally safe now! Especially since librarian repellent dispensers have been placed throughout the building. Just remember: if you’re approached by a librarian, remain as still as possible and try to make yourself look bigger than the librarian. Right. Good luck!
Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle)—Batman
Head of Gotham Public Library by day, crime fighter by night—no one can pull this (or that shimmery purple suit) off quite like Barbara Gordon can. (We wouldn’t mind zipping through Gotham on her snazzy purple bike, either.)
Even after her role as Batgirl ended in the comics, Barbara took her librarian skills into the digital age as an information expert and super-hacker known only as Oracle.
Mr. Atoz—Star Trek: The Original Series
Like any good librarian, Mr. Atoz helped the inhabitants of Sarpeidon escape the death of their sun by transporting them into their planet’s history, letting them choose a time and place where they could live out the rest of their lives. He also accidentally sent the triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy into Sarpeidon’s past in “All Our Yesterdays.” But that could probably happen to anyone.
Rex Libris—The Rex Libris Comics by James Turner
Dealing with loitering zombies and chasing down alien overlords who refuse to pay their overdue book fees is all in a day’s work for Rex Libris, Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library. Rex will go to the farthest corners of the universe (literally—what else would those transportation crystals be used for?) to defend the sanctity of the Dewey Decimal System.
CAL—Doctor Who (“Silence in the Library” & “Forest of the Dead”)
The story of Charlotte Abigail Lux (CAL) is tragic enough to break both your hearts. When she was dying, her father preserved her consciousness within a program that simulated a dream world, giving her access to all the knowledge in the library. CAL used this knowledge to help save the Doctor, Donna, and others from the fearsome Vashta Nerada.
Wan Shi Tong—Avatar: The Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra
An ancient, wise, and powerful spirit, Wan Shi Tong is not one to be trifled with. He spent a lifetime gathering books in hopes that humans would use his library to better themselves. But when he learned that the Avatar planned to use his knowledge for violence instead, he closed the doors of his library to humans forever. Until, that is, Jinora is allowed to explore the library in exchange for her knowledge of how radios work.
Isaac Vainio—Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Brilliant but undisciplined, Isaac Vainio has the ability to reach into books and create objects from their pages. It’s a talent that almost any librarian would envy, except that the hazards of his job include a neurotic fire-spider named Smudge, a dryad with a penchant for sword fights, a missing Gutenberg, and secrets that could loose a devastating magical war upon an unsuspecting world.
The Grey Lady—Ghostbusters
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the scariest librarian of all, the ghost of the Grey Lady from the opening segment of Ghostbusters. The Grey Lady’s “full torso apparition” roams the lower stacks of the New York Public Library, emptying card catalogs, arranging books in unhelpful piles, and generally terrifying the current library staff. She may look like a harmless old lady, but speak too loudly in her library and she’ll turn into one fearsome ghoul—just ask our intrepid ghost-busting heroes, who ran away and never looked back!
Of course, we couldn’t fit all the best librarians into this post, so let us know which of your favorites we missed in the comments!
This article was written and researched by Ashley Mullins.