This month I’m taking a break from watching heaps of sad movies to focus on something a little happier — namely libraries and my favorite movie librarians.
As noted earlier on this fine blog, September is officially Love Your Library Month in Allegheny County. Donations given during this month will be eligible for a match from the Jack Buncher Foundation. The generous match of $125,000 will be split among all libraries in the Allegheny County Library Association.
In celebration of Love Your Library Month, here’s a rundown of five of the boldest and brassiest librarians to ever grace the silver screen.
Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan — The Mummy
Evie initially seems like a bit of a stereotype — while re-shelving a book she clumsily knocks over a bookshelf, which in turn sets off a chain reaction that topples every bookshelf in her library. (Side note: it’s kind of a charming scene actually). Don’t be misled though — librarian Evie is no damsel in distress. She turns out to be a brave adventurer who will stop at nothing to keep an ancient curse from destroying the world. And she’s very, very proud about being a librarian, even when she’s been drinking a little too much.
Gloria Mundy — Foul Play
This little comedy caper was a family favorite growing up, but it had been so long since I’d seen it that I completely forgot about the main character, Gloria Mundy, being a librarian. Gloria (played by the always adorable Goldie Hawn) is living a pretty humdrum existence after a recent divorce, so with a friend’s encouragement, she decides to strike out on her own and live a little. This leads to a sort-of-date, before Gloria’s date is murdered and warns her to, “Beware of the dwarf.” She then finds herself embroiled in a wild conspiracy involving a packet of cigarettes, a killer albino and the Pope.
Bunny Watson — Desk Set
Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy go together like peanut butter and chocolate (or, substitute your own favorite food pairing if that doesn’t work for you). Hepburn plays the head research librarian at a television network, whose department is thrown into a tizzy when an efficiency expert named Richard (Spencer Tracey) is hired to install two new super computers in their library. Naturally sparks fly between Bunny and Richard, and eventually they come to a truce when it’s proven that not even a fancy super computer can beat Bunny’s mad reference skills.
Mary — Party Girl
Hands down the most stylish and sassy librarian to grace this list. In the beginning of this librarian-to-be’s journey, Mary is mostly making ends meet by throwing lavish, wild rent parties in her rundown loft. When she gets in trouble for said parties she’s forced to call on her godmother Judy for help. Judy is fed up with Mary, but none-the-less offers her a clerical job at her library. While Mary initially alienates both her co-workers and patrons, she eventually wins them over and discovers her true calling as a librarian. Parker Posey as Mary is both hysterical and rude, but you still wind up rooting for her, and her expletive laden take-down of a library patron’s disregard for the Dewey Decimal System has become the stuff of legend in librarian circles.
Marian Paroo — The Music Man
A film librarian so iconic that she has a song named after her. Marian is not only the librarian in her small town of Mason City, Iowa, she is also the town’s sole trained musician and piano teacher. This makes her a perfect foil for “Professor” Harold Hill, the slippery con man who has come to town with his latest scheme. Marian is the only one in town who immediately sees him for the fraud he is and eventually comes up with a scheme of her own — to trick Harold into following through on his false promises by making him fall in love with her. Which of course he does, because who could resist Shirley Jones as an adorable, sassy and all together no-nonsense librarian?
For even more library fun, you can check out a rare documentary in our collection called The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film.
How about you? Do you have any favorite librarians or libraries featured in film? Feel free to share in the comments below!
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Tara is a Librarian in the Music, Film & Audio Department, and loves to make film & book recommendations. Some of her interests include gardening, cookbooks, foreign films, comedy albums and devastating literary fiction.