Characters who are Librarians

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Sun Jan 9 17:57:32 EST 2005

A few years ago I wrote a piece for a local library
journal on librarians in fiction. I will email you a
copy off-list (so look for a message with an
attachment. For the benefit of the list a few
First librarian in fiction - Tom Pinch in Dicken's
"Martin Chuzzlewit" (1843)
First librarian as central character George
Macdonald's "Alec Forbes of Howglen" (1865)
First libraian in a fantasy novel Mr Raven in "Lilith"
(1985)(George Macdonald again - who also had another
librarian character in "There and Back" [1891])
First  librarian to be banned; Carol Kennicott in
Sinclair Lewis's "Main Street" (1920)
Other early librarians Charity Royall in Edith
Wharton's "Summer" (1917)
Personal favorite fictional librarian; Highliber
Zavora in Sean Macmullen's "Souls in the Great
Machine" (1999)
Worst fictional librarian of all time; "Colin the
Librarian" by Rich Parsons and Tony Keaveny 

“After worrying about it for two or three years, he
decided that this was one of the Funny Ideas which she
caught as a librarian and from which she would never
entirely recover”  Sinclair Lewis "Main Street" (1920)

“No one is obliged to become a librarian. It must be a
relief to parents in the provinces that their runaway
daughters are unlikely to be met at Euston station by
evil men who force them to become librarians." Barry
Bowes "Between the Stacks" (1979)

 “ we are librarians, and therefore the elect of God.
To read is human, to catalogue divine” Charity
Blackstock "Dewey Death" (1958)

"Nowadays, trendy librarians, wanting to be important,
say, Knowledge is power. I know better. Knowledge is
love." Elizabeth McCracken "The Giant’s House ; a
romance" (1996). 

“A librarian was ye?….a wastrel by any other name, I
tell ye. Readin’ and writin’ and such – faugh! An’
when has them skills been for naught but misfortune, I
ask ye?” Mel Odom "The Rover" (2001)

 "Mary Kay, is one of the hidden masters of the world
- a librarian. They control information. Don't ever
piss one off." Spider Robinson "The Calahan Touch"

“She bowed with a brisk, birdlike movement and
presented her papers. Drusas accepted them, noting
that she wore no jewellery aside from her hairclasps,
and that her gunbelt was severely functional. Typical
new-blade career librarian he decided.” Sean Macmullen
"Souls in the Great Machine"

“I challenge your system, I challenge you!” shrieked
the Chief Cataloguer. At the word “challenge” the
cataloguers cringed,  and Closter and Lermai took
refuge behind the trolley. The door of the office was
flung open.
“Meet me in the duelling cloisters at dawn or report
for exile…”  ibid

"To the older staff of Libris it seemed that the end
of the century was bringing with it the end of their
world as well.  Under Highliber Zavora books were no
longer revered as the symbol of civilisation's former
greatness and ikons of unattainable power :  they had
become mere tools for answering questions."   ibid


--- jack at wrote:

> I'm looking for Librarians as characters in fiction.
> Who do you know who is?
> --
> To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with
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