Libraries in pop culture: The Librarian movie franchise

In 2004 the first in what became The Librarian movie franchise was released: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.The movie follows the path of Flynn Carsen (played by Noah Wyle, previously known for appearing on ER), an over-30 and over-educated student, who finds himself hired by the Metropolitan Public Library (note: the Library in this case appears to have a mind of its own, and makes its own hiring decisions). Flynn discovers that the role of Librarian is actually a protector of magical artefacts held by the Library, ensuring that they don’t fall into the hands of the forces of evil, who would then unleash chaos on the world. This is a kind of librarian-as-Indiana-Jones movie, full of fun adventure and witty quips.

The first movie spawned two sequels: The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines and The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice. A television series The Librarians was recently released based on the same characters and mythology. Flynn realises that he needs to allow future Librarians to be trained and handle the ‘daily’ work of protecting and restoring magical artefacts, while he travels time and space searching for the now-lost Library. The series features an ensemble cast, none of whom have any magical powers but do have special talents, such as the synesthete maths expert, the art thief, and the burly-but-troubled genius. With homages to many other science fiction/fantasy/adventure series (obvious comparisons can be made to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate), the series continues the sense of rollicking fun, without any sophisticated dialogue, logic or even plot consistency getting in the way of telling a good story! While it can be interesting to watch the show from a librarian perspective (one could perceive commentary about old- versus new-school interpretations of the profession), mostly it’s just a bunch of fun.

Thanks to our Canadian Ambassador Cate Carlyle for pointing out that one of the lead actors in The Librarians, Lindy Booth, is Canadian! Another lead, John Kim, is from Australia.

The original trailer for The Librarians very cutely plays on perceptions of librarians as, well, not protectors of the universe:

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2015A and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. Are RLO series on the horizon?? “Real Librarians of”…. “This week Susie works through her lunch hour updating social media and planning for her summer-reading school visits…”;) On a serious note though, I think reality TV surrounding librarians would be quite interesting-amazing what happens in the public library system each day!

    • Cate, keep an eye out for an upcoming post about the Australian TV series ‘The Librarians’. I’ve had several public librarian friends tell me they can’t watch it because it’s too realistic!

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