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Magic Librarian

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Illustration by Lee White.

Books and libraries in fiction can be mystical things: keepers of information, certainly, of secrets and sometimes of magic, as well. It's natural, therefore, that some authors like to spread some of that magic onto the librarian, too—when they aren't making them hot or scary, that is. A magic librarian will very often have the ability to send readers (or people who either don't read or disparage books, to teach 'em a lesson) into the world within the books, and sometimes, pity those who don't return their books to the library before the due date.

Often overlaps with Hot Librarian, Scary Librarian, or possibly even both.

If the librarians work at a Spooky Silent Library, they may also be Evil Librarians.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Who Magazine: One comic, for an explicit homage to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, casts the Doctor as one for an extended fantasy sequence that takes almost an entire strip.
  • Hellraiser: Balberith was originally a normal human librarian and mother who, after trying and failing to find a cure for her son's illness, wound up in the possession of a Lament Configuration given to her by an Agent of Leviathan. When she solved the box, she opened a portal to Hell where she was taken and turned into a cenobite, her final human moment seeing that her son had been cured with the knowledge that she will never see him again. She now acts as the librarian to Hell's library, many of the more learned damned souls that end up in Hell transformed into books that catalogue Leviathan's history and grand plan.
  • The Sandman (1989): Lucien, who maintains the Library of Dream, which contains every book anybody ever thought or dreamed about writing, from the masterpieces of great authors who died before committing them to paper, down to the novel you always tell yourself you'll write one day. (The Bestselling Romantic Spy Thriller I Used To Think About On The Bus That Would Sell A Billion Copies And Mean I'd Never Have to Work Again. Not exactly the catchiest of titles, is it?) He knows everything about every book in the library, including where each of them is at any given moment, although at one point he admits that this comes at the cost of not being able to remember most things that happen outside the library, including who he was before he became the librarian.
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 2: The library on Themyscira is manned by ancient immortal Amazons, and contains many stacks that can only be accessed through knowing the right magic. This becomes a bit of a problem for Cassie Sandsmark when she is trying to do some research on the Olympians without drawing attention as the volumes she wants are ones she cannot just slide off a shelf.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mr. Dewey, the librarian of the The Pagemaster, is implied to be the same guy as the Pagemaster himself. They have the same (voice) actor, give the same instructions for Richard to find the exit sign, and are the first and last characters Richard meets at the start and end of his literary journey. The Pagemaster is the god and guardian of the world of books and the reason Richard crossed over.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Carl Conrad Coreander, of The Neverending Story, who kept the eponymous tome in his shop until Bastian stole it. Originally a fairly ordinary old book seller, the film series added implied magical properties (he can appear and disappear at will, apparently), and in the much-maligned third film he works as a librarian at Bastian's high school.

  • In Thursday Next, the Cheshire Cat manages the Great Library, a magical place that contains all books that have been or will be written, and claims to know everything there is to know about them, including how many times they've been read, how many of them are being read at any given time, and by whom.
  • The Librarian of the Unseen University in the Discworld series. He's a wizard, and the library is attached to a wizards' university, but he also commands magics that come from the mere fact of it being a library (most notably the secret of L-Space, which connects every library that ever existed). He was also transformed into an orangutan, and decided to stay that way - some books would drive any man insane to read... but an orangutan will merely suffer a headache.
  • In Kelly Link's short story Magic For Beginners, there's a whole TV show of magic librarians, and the entire television series the characters are watching (and, it's implied, also a part of themselves) takes place within a giant library.
  • By virtue of being staff at Hogwarts alone, Madame Pince from Harry Potter. She's also a Scary Librarian; Hogwarts library books have protective spells on them as a matter of course, but she's been known to add personal touches. Dumbledore mentions that absentmindedly doodling in the margins once caused a book to beat him violently about the head.
  • Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series is full to the brim with these:
    • The Clayr, a large and clairvoyant group of people, have a massive library that houses not only normal books, but enchanted ones, grimoires for creatures that may or may not exist, tombs of ancient beings that if let out will attempt to kill anyone they come into contact with, and, somehow, a figurine that houses the consciousness of one of the creators of reality. In a world full of shambling corpses, devious necromancers, and corrupt royalty, the library of the Clayr is probably full of the most frightening and dangerous people and artifacts.
    • The main character of the second book, Lirael, is a Second Assistant Librarian for the Clayr, and regularly not only completes her normal duties as a librarian, but runs around the extremely dangerous forbidden areas at night with a magical talking dog that she somehow created, breaking into locked chambers and reading ancient books.
  • In the Molly Moon series, Molly is introduced to hypnosis by the local librarian, Lucy Logan.
  • In one of the Bailey School Kids books, the librarian is implied to be Merlin.
  • The Evil Librarians are the main villains of the Alcatraz Series, and secretly rule the world as we know it.
  • Mr. Coreander in The Neverending Story still qualifies in the original version, although the story is a little different; at the end of the story, Bastion goes back to the store to apologize for stealing the book, but Coreander doesn't remember him or the book; however, he does know about the Childlike Empress, and tells Bastian how to meet her again if he wants. He simply has to give her another name, and he can visit her and Fantasia any time he likes.
  • The main characters in The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman are librarians of the Invisible Library, which means they can cross through the Multiverse in pursuit of rare books, and can alter reality using the Language, which is basically I Know Your True Name.
  • Stephen King's The Library Policeman has Ardelia Lortz, whom the protagonist first meets in a disused library in variation of the Phantom 309 scenario - he later finds out that she's long dead. See Scary Librarian.
  • Rivers of London: In False Value it is revealed that The New York Public Library System has a group of magic users.
  • In The Zombie Knight, the Library of Erudition maintains a mystically bound Keeper of the Library who controls access to it. The current Keeper is Gohvis, who got the position after he resisted the Library's attempts to absorb him and killed the previous Keeper for trying to restrict his reading. Scary Librarian indeed.
  • In the sequels to The Magicians, Penny becomes the Head Librarian of an interdimensional library, allowing him access to magics far beyond the reach of the other characters. It does nothing to temper his arrogant personality.
  • Harry Turtledove’s "Trantor Falls": The people from the University, especially Dean Sarns, try their best to subtly intimidate Gilmer by their vast stores of knowledge and promises to train his military in repairing and operating the technological marvels they've got. When Gilmer returns to his Imperial palace with a peace treaty between equals, his consort, Billye, complains that he must have been enspelled by the "wizards".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Evil version: "Files & Records" at Wolfram & Hart in Angel, who has no name and can mentally search the entire content of the firm's archives, apparently projecting the results onto her eyeballs.
  • Obligatory Buffy the Vampire Slayer example: Giles is a Downplayed example. The nature of Ritual Magic in the setting means that anyone who's read the right books can cast a few simple spells, and while Giles isn't especially accomplished at doing so, it's revealed that he dabbled in magic in his Dark and Troubled Past as "Ripper" and probably could have been quite powerful if he'd taken that path in life instead of becoming a Watcher who moonlights as a high school librarian. However, as a research resource for a talented witch like Willow he's invaluable.
  • The librarian of the magic school in Charmed is magical, just like the rest of the cast. The first librarian we see is a disgruntled troll that keeps burning books.
  • The Librarian of the eponymous TV film series and related spinoff series The Librarians. Recruited from the most intelligent and knowledgeable persons on Earth, it's his or her job to protect and maintain the repository of the world's magical artifacts and retrieve others to add to the collection. Fighting the forces of evil along the way is a side-line.
  • Ingrid Beauchamp of Witches of East End is a librarian. Oh, she's also a witch belonging to a family of witches and warlocks that are not originally of this World. Her family and that of her friends, brothers Dash and Killian Gardiner, have a very, very long history. And she's just finding out about it...

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine:
    • Yves, Archangel of Destiny, collects all knowledge in his Library, including the memories of everyone who has passed on.
    • His Evil Counterpart, Kronos, Demon Prince of Fate, knows the location of everything in Hell's Archives. Unlike Yves, Kronos doesn't have access to all knowledge, but he does have access to all of Hell's official records.
  • Unknown Armies: The Bibliomancer class is a magician who uses his personal library as a power source. The more books he has and the rarer they are, the more powerful he becomes.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Space Marine Librarians are responsible for their chapter's archives, the interstellar psychic communications the Chapter needs, and are also powerful psykers. The Blood Ravens have a large amount of Librarians, more than the average Chapter, which has lead fans to speculate that the Blood Ravens have a connection to the Thousand Sons, the Chaos Marines of Magnus the Red and may be loyalist Thousand Sons themselves who avoided the Rubric of Ahriman (a spell that turned their non-Psyker brothers to dust sealed within their armor).
    • The keepers of the Black Library, a hidden Eldar stronghold in the Webway said to contain all of their knowledge.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has the Synchro Monster T.G. Hyper Librarian, a very literal case, being a Spellcaster.

    Video Games 
  • The "Strange Powers" update of Don't Starve gives Wickerbottom the Librarian access to Functional Magic through her book collection.
  • Lisa from Genshin Impact is a Hot Witch in charge of the Mondstadt library. The first act of her character quest involves her trying to recover overdue library books from a few of the shopkeepers in town, an aspect of her job she finds "troublesome", especially when one of the books winds up in the hands of an Abyss Mage she eventually has to kill to get it back.
  • I. M. Meen is definitely magical and possibly some kind of librarian, or at the very least his signature spell involves a Portal Book. Unusually, though, he is not fond of people (or at least children) who actually read.
  • The librarians working in the titular Library of Ruina regularly receive guests in battle, harnessing the power of fallen guests and Abnormalities which they also fight. Their patrons are representatives of the Tree of Life and have been reincarnated from their previous robotic forms, and their leader, Angela, is a sufficiently intelligent AI and so human-like that the government actively acts against her.
  • Mario Party DS: One of the boards is a library owned by Kamek, Bowser's right-hand Evil Sorcerer. He also serves as the boss of this board in Story Mode, and to defeat him you must stain his face with your pen's ink, causing him to make a temper tantrum that makes several books fall until one of them falls into his head. Repeating this tactic three times will defeat him.
  • Spellstone: Yuriel, the Owl Mystic, is curator of the archives in the city of Luminis. He's also the Aether leader Samael's de facto second-in-command, tasked with guarding the city from outsiders. As a playable character and an enemy, he can use his magic to protect his cards with Ward and dispel status buffs, among other things.
  • Patchouli Knowledge of Touhou Project is the Scarlet Devil Mansion's resident witch, and the de facto librarian of the place. She's constantly seen with a book in her hand when fighting, to top things off. Oh, and her debut stage theme is called "Voile, the Magic Library." Her aide and familiar may also qualify.

  • Phix of Wapsi Square is definitely a magic librarian. She's a (the?) sphinx.
  • Awful Hospital: Professor Lexicovermus, the literal bookworm, is a Dimensional Traveler who manifests in extremely unlikely places across the setting's Multiverse and can even deliver library material across the fourth wall. Said library material could be anything from a Ghost Memory to a book that Was Once a Man.
  • At the beginning of Whither, Finn, The Short Guy with Glasses. As in, he'd fit this tropes if he were short. But the plot takes him out of the library and into places he never thought he'd visit. He's actually a construct — a paper golem created by the guardian witch, but he Grew Beyond Their Programming and won't do her bidding.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Wan Shi Tong, the librarian of the titular library from (you guessed it) "The Library" episode in Avatar: The Last Airbender is some kind of ancient owl spirit that keeps irritating humans out of his domain.
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Wrath of the Librarian", a Scary Librarian curses Eustace and Muriel when they don't return a book ("The Pixie and the Prickle Pirate") on time, causing them to gradually transform into the characters from said book until Courage can not only return it to her, but pay the massive late fee.
  • Hilda: Kaisa, the librarian who occasionally points Hilda and friends to books on the creatures they're dealing with that week, is oddly creepy and speculated to be a witch in season 1. And confirmed to be a(n inept) witch in season 2.
  • Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is both a powerful unicorn magician and a bibliophile who gets just as much joy out of organizing books as most ponies would get out of reading them. Her first home in Ponyville actually is the local library, and her castle has an even bigger one. In Canterlot, her home was a tower full of books.
  • Mrs. Clara in Welcome to the Wayne doesn't have magic powers but has ninja training and manages The Stanza with the help of squidjits and holds many secrets about The Wayne.