by the NHFPL Communications and Marketing Team | Originally published April 7, 2024

It’s National Library Week 2024 and we’re celebrating by recognizing some of our staff’s favorite fictional library workers! We held an informal staff poll asking the question “Who is your favorite library worker from literature, stage, and screen?,” and the responses were overwhelming. From the mystical realms of magic to the heart-pounding world of crime-fighting, these remarkable individuals exemplify the timeless values of curiosity, bravery, and the pursuit of truth. Here are our favorites:

Top 5

5. Wan Shi Tong from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Photo credit: Avatar Wiki

Journey to the mystical realm of the Spirit World, where the ancient and enigmatic Wan Shi Tong reigns supreme. As the guardian of the vast Spirit Library in Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Wan Shi Tong is a creature of boundless wisdom and boundless curiosity. Though initially welcoming to human visitors seeking knowledge, his trust is betrayed when he discovers their intentions to use the knowledge for warfare. Through Wan Shi Tong’s story, viewers are reminded of the importance of safeguarding knowledge and using it wisely for the betterment of all.

As the guardian of the Spirit Library, Wan Shi Tong epitomizes the reverence and importance of knowledge preservation. Despite his initial willingness to share his vast repository of wisdom with humanity, his ultimate decision to protect the library from those who would misuse its knowledge underscores his commitment to the responsible stewardship of information. Wan Shi Tong serves as a powerful reminder of the ethical responsibilities inherent in the pursuit of knowledge and the importance of safeguarding it for the greater good. His character inspires our staff to approach their roles as librarians with a sense of duty, integrity, and dedication to promoting the thoughtful and ethical use of information within our community.

4. Zelda from The Magicians and The Librarian from the Discworld series

Photo credit: TV Fanatic
Photo credit: Christian Science Monitor

In the enchanted world of Fillory, where magic reigns supreme, stands the formidable Zelda. As the Head Librarian of the Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (and it’s corresponding TV series), Zelda embodies the quintessential librarian – wise, enigmatic, and shrouded in secrets. With her vast knowledge of arcane texts and mystical artifacts, she serves as a guiding light for young magicians seeking to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Through her unwavering dedication to the pursuit of magical knowledge, Zelda inspires readers to embrace the transformative power of learning and discovery.

As the Head Librarian of the Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, Zelda embodies the epitome of a librarian – wise, enigmatic, and deeply dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. Her vast understanding of arcane texts and mystical artifacts not only serves as a guiding light for young magicians but also inspires readers to embrace the transformative power of learning and discovery. Despite the challenges she faces in the magical world of Fillory, Zelda remains steadfast in her commitment to preserving and sharing knowledge, making her a cherished symbol of the library’s mission to enrich the lives of its patrons through education and exploration.

Photo credit: Discworld Wiki

The Librarian from the Discworld series holds a special place in the hearts of local library staff for his endearing quirks, unwavering loyalty, and unparalleled dedication to his craft. Originally a human wizard named Dr. Horace Worblehat, he was transformed into an orangutan after a magical accident involving a particularly potent spell book. Despite his unconventional appearance, The Librarian continues to serve the Unseen University Library with unparalleled passion and expertise.

What makes The Librarian truly beloved is his fierce protection of the library’s vast collection of magical tomes and his commitment to ensuring that knowledge remains accessible to all – even if it means chasing down wayward students or thwarting would-be thieves with his impressive strength and agility. His unique perspective as a former human-turned-simian offers a fresh and humorous take on the role of librarianship, reminding us that appearances can be deceiving and that true wisdom transcends physical form.

Moreover, The Librarian’s unwavering loyalty to his fellow wizards and his willingness to go to great lengths to preserve the integrity of the library make him a cherished symbol of camaraderie and solidarity among library staff. Whether he’s navigating the chaos of magical mishaps or imparting sage advice to his colleagues, The Librarian embodies the timeless virtues of curiosity, resourcefulness, and the transformative power of knowledge.

In essence, The Librarian from the Discworld series is more than just a fictional character – he’s a beloved icon of librarianship who reminds us to embrace our uniqueness, stand up for what we believe in, and never underestimate the importance of bananas in a well-balanced diet.

3. Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Photo credit: Business Insider

Venture into the dark and supernatural world of Sunnydale, and you’ll encounter the indomitable Rupert Giles, librarian by day and demon hunter by night. As the Watcher and mentor to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Joss Whedon’s iconic series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Giles epitomizes the duality of the modern librarian – scholarly and studious yet fiercely courageous when duty calls. Armed with ancient tomes and occult lore, he stands as a stalwart defender against the forces of darkness, reminding us that knowledge is not just power, but also our greatest weapon against evil.

As the librarian at Sunnydale High School, Giles seamlessly blends his scholarly expertise with a remarkable bravery in battling the supernatural forces that threaten the town. His character epitomizes the multifaceted nature of librarianship, showcasing that librarians aren’t just bookkeepers but also guardians of knowledge and defenders against darkness. Giles’ dedication to his role as both a mentor and a protector resonates deeply with the library staff, as they see in him the embodiment of their own commitment to empowering and safeguarding their community through the power of information. His portrayal serves as a reminder of the transformative impact librarians can have, both within the pages of fiction and in the real world

2. Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) from the Batman franchise

Panels from Detective Comics no. 359, published in 1967
Yvonne Craig as Batgirl; Screenshot from the 1966 Batman series

In the sprawling metropolis of Gotham City, where crime lurks in every shadow, one hero stands apart – Barbara Gordon, better known as Batgirl. By day, she is the dedicated librarian of the Gotham City Public Library, but by night, she dons the cape and cowl to fight alongside the Dark Knight himself. As one of the few female superheroes in the Batman franchise, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl embodies the spirit of empowerment and resilience. With her intellect, resourcefulness, and unwavering determination, she proves that even the quietest of librarians can become a symbol of hope and justice in a city plagued by darkness.

Barbara Gordon, better known as Batgirl, holds a special place in the hearts of the local library staff as one of their favorite fictional librarians. Barbara’s dual identity as a librarian at the Gotham City Public Library and a crime-fighting superhero embodies the essence of dedication, intellect, and empowerment. Despite facing the challenges of balancing her professional life with her superhero duties, Barbara demonstrates unwavering commitment to both roles. Her intelligence, resourcefulness, and technological skills make her a standout character who inspires readers to believe in the power of knowledge and the courage to stand up for justice. As a symbol of empowerment and resilience, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl represents the epitome of what it means to be a librarian – a guardian of knowledge and a beacon of hope in the face of adversity.

And our staff favorite, Evelyn (Evie) Carnahan from The Mummy

Prepare to journey into the sands of ancient Egypt, where adventure awaits with Evelyn Carnahan, intrepid librarian and fearless archaeologist. In “The Mummy” film series, Evelyn’s insatiable thirst for knowledge leads her on a quest for the mythical city of Hamunaptra, where she uncovers untold secrets and faces unimaginable perils. With her intellect, courage, and unwavering determination, Evelyn proves that librarians are not just keepers of books, but also seekers of truth and champions of discovery.

Evie embodies the spirit of adventure, curiosity, and courage that resonates deeply with library workers and readers alike. As a dedicated librarian and fearless archaeologist, Evie’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and unwavering determination to uncover ancient secrets make her a compelling and inspiring character. Despite facing numerous challenges and dangers, Evie remains undeterred in her quest for discovery, showcasing the resilience and resourcefulness that librarians often embody in their daily work. Her intelligence, bravery, and passion for history serve as a reminder of the transformative power of learning and exploration, making her a beloved figure among library staff who share her love for books and adventure.

Honorable Mentions

Wong, Marvel Comics/MCU

Mary, Party Girl

Twilight Sparkle, My Little Pony

The Ghost Librarian in Ghostbusters

View the Poll Results

The full poll results are listed below. Who did we forget? Who would you have voted for?

Whether they reside in the realms of fantasy or the streets of Gotham, these literary legends inspire us to embrace the transformative power of learning and discovery. So let us raise our books high and salute these unsung heroes of literature – for in their stories, we find the true magic of libraries. Happy National Library Week!