Illustrated library building with featured books with librarian main characters.

Library Love, Recommended Reads

Our favorite fictional librarians


Dec 12, 2023

I’m of the opinion that any story can be made better by including a librarian. It doesn’t matter if the story takes place on Mars or 2,000 years in the future, there’s just something about a wise, whip-smart, willful librarian that adds a certain panache to any tale.

Of course, we have lots of favorites on both the big screen and in the pages of books—Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl; Mrs. Phelps, the librarian who enriches Matilda’s fraught existence with carts of books and Rachel Weisz’s Evie from The Mummy. Also a special mention for Inspector Armand Gamache’s wife, Reine-Marie, who’s a loving, steadfast librarian if ever there was one in Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series!

If you’re looking for more librarians in literature, here are 5 books with a leading librarian to check out for free on the Libby app:

the_book_woman_of_troublesome_creek.jpgThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

This historical fiction novel is about a group of female librarians who fight to ensure their neighbors have access to books and knowledge. It’s a very popular book club pick, and it’s not hard to see why!

The year’s 1936, and the place is small-town Kentucky. Nineteen-year-old Cussy Carter is the last in her family’s blue-skinned ancestry and joins other plucky Kentucky women in librarianship, riding all over the area to deliver books via horseback for the Pack Horse Library Project. Along the way, she makes dear friends and faces turbulence in her journey to bring literacy to all.

Based on true events, Richardson’s novel displays the tenacity and compassion that these Book Women encompassed and the impact they had on the poor and needy of Appalachia. Not only a beautiful and heartbreaking story, but a wonderful representation of the importance of books and those who share them.

the_very_secret_society_of_irregular_witches.jpgThe Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Described as a cross between The House in the Cerulean Sea and Practical Magic (need I say more?!), this magical tale hits you right in the feels and delivers a warm and delightful love story to boot.

When British witch Mika Moon is hired to teach young witches how to use their powers, she knows she’ll be going against everything she’s ever been taught—witches are not supposed to gather for long periods of time. She’s always been alone because of this rule, and is in for a wild and emotional ride when handsome and closed-off Jamie, a librarian; Ken and Ian, a couple in their 70s; Lucy, a kind housekeeper who's devoted to Nowhere House; and three magical little girls take her in and teach her what it feels like to finally belong.

With found family, a creative magic system, lovable characters and a satisfying ending—not to mention a grumpy librarian with a gooey center—this book will leave you smiling and cozy this winter, and impatiently awaiting Mandanna’s next novel, A Witch's Guide to Magical Innkeeping, due out in April 2024.

the_discworld_series.jpgDiscworld series by Terry Pratchett

Ask any bookish group for their favorite fictional librarians, and you’re bound to find at least one champion of The Librarian, the orangutan librarian from The Unseen University—born from the imagination of none other than Terry Pratchett.

Debuting in the first book in the Discworld series, The Color of Magic, and later transforming into his rather hairy and ambidextrous form in The Light Fantastic, The Librarian brings levity and charm to the series (though Discworld was certainly not lacking in levity and charm by any means), and uses his skills as an orangutan to climb shelves, sort through books and intimidate errant patrons. Preferring to stay an ape, this doesn't prevent The Librarian from fulfilling his duties and, in fact, it seems to help him in these endeavors, and his colleagues come to accept and respect him as he is—though he may not have the most extensive vocabulary.

Funny, fun and truly creative, the Discworld series is science fiction at its best, and The Librarian the perfect representative of the noblest of professions.

the_midnight_library.jpgThe Midnight Library by Matt Haig

*Warning: The following description contains mention of suicide.

One of my favorite books from the last few years, it’s received quite a lot of hype, rightfully so, and is one I recommend to everyone. You can’t go wrong with either the ebook version or the audiobook, as Carey Mulligan narrates and does a fantastic job.

Thirty-five-year-old Nora Seed has nothing figured out. She feels she might have been something great, but that life has now passed her by. Her existence is so heavy, that she believes that she and everyone around her would be better off if she were no longer alive. So, one evening, when the weight of the world and her what-ifs become too much, she decides to end her life.

She doesn’t go to heaven, at least not the kind of heaven that she has ever heard of or imagined. Instead she finds herself in the midnight library in the company of only one other person: Her old school librarian, Mrs. Elm.

Mrs. Elm guides her to infinite shelves of books and explains that within each one is a life that Nora might have lived; she can open any book and live out other versions of her life. As she does, Nora learns more about herself, the world and what it means to live.

Beautiful and contemplative, Haig has written a book that keeps you thinking long after you’ve closed it, and the love for libraries and librarians is so evident and heartfelt. This is the perfect book for library lovers and introspection.

library_mouse.jpgLibrary Mouse by Daniel Kirk

Though the clear hero of this adorable story is really Sam, the talented mouse author who lives behind the children’s reference desk, the librarian, Mrs. Forrester, really captured my heart as well.

After devouring book after book in the library (metaphorically, of course), Sam starts writing stories in his little hole at night time, creating a memoir, a mystery and a story of an unknown genre called “The Lonely Cheese.” When these tiny homemade books appear on her shelves, the librarian, Mrs. Forrester, doesn’t throw them out, instead she puts them on her desk and shares them with the children who frequent the library.

When they leave a note for the mystery author, Sam decides to inspire the kids to become writers themselves, and Mrs. Forrester sets up a shelf just for them to display their stories. Together, they’re able to spark the children’s creativity and make authors of them all.

Truly one of the cutest children’s books I’ve read in a long time, and with a lovely librarian no less, Library Mouse has earned a place on my own shelf and I’m so glad to share that it’s also become a series.

*Title availability may vary by region.

❤️ Love librarians, too? Borrow any of these librarian-loving books on Libby from (where else?) your library.


About the Author

Marisa Arancibia is a Digital Content Librarian on OverDrive's Global Libraries and Education team. She loves curating collections of favorite reads and discussing nerdy lore and fan theories with her fellow book people. When she's not working, she can be found reading thriller and fantasy novels, traveling, and playing with her goofy rescue dog, Swarley.


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