To See Ourselves as Others See Us: Novels Featuring Librarians

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Lynn Abbey. Behind Time (2001). Librarian Emma Merrigan must struggle to save her mother, whose soul is trapped in another realm in this fantasy thriller.

Jeff Abbott . Jordan Poteet is the librarian (without an MLS) in a small Texas town in a mystery series beginning with Do Unto Others (1994).

Kingsley Amis. That Uncertain Feeling (1955). John Aneuris Lewis is an assistant academic librarian and budding lecher. Made into a Peter Sellers movie, Any Two Can Play. The Folks That Live on the Hill (1990.) Retired librarian Harry Caldecote's quest for a quiet life is hampered by his eccentric relatives.

Doris Betts. Heading West (1981). A small-town librarian with big dreams is resigned to a dull vacation with her sister and brother-in-law until a thief attacks the group and kidnaps her.

Martha Cooley. The Archivist (1998). Matthias Lane is the archivist in charge of a series of letters from T.S. Eliot in this literary suspense story.

Jo Dereske. Helma Zukas is a librarian in a fictional Pacific Northwest town in this cozy mystery series beginning with Miss Zukas and the Library Murders (1994).

Clyde Edgerton. Raney (1985). Charles, a liberal librarian from Atlanta marries Raney, a small town Baptist.

Howard Fast (writing as E.V. Cunningham) Sylvia (1960). A hard boiled thriller with a classically stereotypical depiction of a librarian, who is, among other things, “dessicated.”

Charlaine Harris. Aurora Teagarden is a librarian turned real estate agent in small town Georgia in this cozy mystery series beginning with Real Murders (1990).

Ursula Hegi. Stones From the River (1994). Trudi Montag is the librarian in a small town in Germany as the Nazis come to power. She also happens to be a dwarf.

Allen Kurzweil. The Grand Complication (2001). New York Public reference librarian Alexander Short seeks a stolen watch supposedly owned by Marie Antoinette.

Anne Leclaire. Sideshow (1994). In this thriller, Soleil Browne, a librarian in a Boston museum, enters the world of a traumatized child in the 1930s when she agrees to be a subject in a sleep experiment in which dream states trigger an audiovisual display.

Sinclair Lewis. Main Street (1920) Librarian Carol Kennicott struggles to bring enlightenment to the bourgeois town of Gopher Prairie , Minnesota .

Elizabeth McCracken. The Giant's House: a Romance (1997). A lonely librarian in a 1950s small town in Massachusetts befriends a young man afflicted with gigantism.

Sean McMullen. Souls in the Great Machine (1999). Librarians rule the post nuclear winter world in 40C Australia in this science fiction novel.

D.R. Meredith. Megan Clark, reference librarian in Amarillo Texas , leads a mystery book club and solves crimes in this cozy mystery series beginning with Murder in Volume (2000).

Miriam Grace Monfredo. Librarian Glynis Tryon in mid-19C Seneca Falls , NY participates in the cataclysmic events of her day from the beginnings of the Women's Rights movement to the Civil War in this historical mystery series beginning with Seneca Falls Inheritance (1992).

Audrey Niffenegger. The Time Traveler's Wife (2003). Henry De Tamble, a librarian at the Newberry in Chicago , has "Chrono Displacement" disorder, which causes him to disappear without warning into the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life.

Garth Nix. Lirael (2001). The librarian wields a sword in the library full of danger in this fantasy novel for young adults.

Lily Prior. La Cucina (2001). Rosa Fiore, a librarian and excellent cook in 1960s Palermo , Sicily finds love after many years of solitude.

Jincy Willett. Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather (2003). Dorcas Mather, middle-aged librarian who prefers books to people, recounts her polar opposite twin sister Abigail's relationship with an abusive man in 1980s Rhode Island in this witty and literary black comedy.


Helene Androski for Wisconsin Library Association Readers Section
Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Conference 2004
handroski@library.wisc.edu