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Spooky Silent Library

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Seriously, we are not kidding here: "Shh."

Our library is well-stocked with priceless first editions — only ghost stories, of course — and marble busts of the greatest ghost writers the literary world has ever known. They have all retired here, to the Haunted Mansion.
The Ghost Host, The Haunted Mansion

Libraries creep some people out all on their own. So an eerily desolate and truly completely silent one is a very effective setting if you want to make the situation even creepier. The library could be lacking in patrons for any reason — it could be abandoned or merely after closing hours.

It could be shabby and full of crumbling books, or it could be in good order just without anyone there. This tends to be more effective with older styled buildings than with ultra modern libraries.

May be a Magical Library. May have a Scary Librarian, or even Evil Librarians.


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    Film — Animated 
  • The Pagemaster is set in one of these, which becomes a fantasy land once the film shifts into animation.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • In Harry Potter, the school library's restricted section gets pretty spooky at night... are those books whispering? It doesn't help that many of the books there are literally cursed, and you never know which ones...
  • Innocence by Dean Koontz. The hero sneaks into the library at night to enjoy the books. Unfortunately there's a young woman who is hiding there from a murderous stranger who knows the library itself. Remaining silent is a key to survival.
  • In Stephen King's It, one of the characters works in a library. A scene takes place with him working there after hours.
  • Help I'm a Prisoner in the Library is a children's book about two girls being trapped in a library during a snowstorm.
  • The library in M.R. James' story "The Tractate Middoth" is old and imposing, but staffed by perfectly ordinary people. Odd things start happening, though, when one of them tries to retrieve the titular volume for a visiting scholar...
  • Also by Stephen King, the novella The Library Policeman contains a couple of scenes in this trope.
  • Libiris in the Magic Kingdom of Landover books is this. Made worse by its creepy caretaker and the Throg monkeys.
  • In Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, the heroes hide from demonic carnies in the library at night.
  • Star Wars Legends: Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi takes place in part on Nespis 8, an ancient abandoned space station that contains a huge hidden library. Said library is forbidden, for Jedi only, and it's said that anyone else who finds it dies. Actually the books steal people's Life Energy.
  • The Time Machine (and subsequent adaptations) have included a scene involving an enormous abandoned library where all the books have decayed to dust.
  • In Your Secret Admirer, an early YA novel by Richard Laymon (writing under the name Carl Laymon), the teenage female protagonist is seriously spooked while searching for a friend in the public library's stacks at a late hour.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On A.N.T. Farm, when the Internet access is banned at the school in the episode ANTswers, to find facts the kids resort to visiting the library, which not only is dark, silent and full of cobwebs, the librarian is dead and all that remains is a clothed skeleton.
  • The Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale of the Quiet Librarian".
  • The school library in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is played up like this in the first episode (and, apart from the stars, few people venture there through the series).
  • Doctor Who: "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" has the titular Library. Gets extra points for being a planet-sized abandoned library. And more so when it's not actually abandoned.
  • Merlin has a dark old library full of dusty books and cobwebs — though so far, nothing horrible has happened there.
  • The Storybrooke library in Once Upon a Time is this when we first get to see it thanks to Regina keeping it locked up for 28 years (because she holds Maleficent the Dragon and the curse's failsafe trigger underneath it). After the curse is broken and Belle becomes town librarian, she starts cleaning the place up and making it warm and bright again. However, elements of danger still occur there, such as Belle getting attacked by Hook or Regina getting kidnapped by Greg and Tamara.
  • Finch sets up a base of operations in one of these in the pilot episode of Person of Interest. When it's next seen two episodes later, it's been cleaned up and all the shelves have been restocked.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Time Enough at Last" ends with a lone man, an empty library, and a broken pair of glasses. Possibly better known by now through parodies than through the original.

    Theme Parks 
  • One scene in The Haunted Mansion has guests passing through one of these, as noted in the page quote. It is a neat version of this trope, yet remains eerily abandoned. The centerpiece of this scene is the head busts which, through an optical illusion, turn to follow the guest's eyes throughout the scene.

    Video Games 
  • The Metro City Library of Condemned: Criminal Origins would certainly apply, especially when seeing thugs quickly step behind shelves.
  • The Library in the second Clock Tower game, especially with the threat of Scissorman, who happens to be inside the building too.
  • The Library of Magic in Baten Kaitos, complete with a host of undead enemies.
  • Dracula's library in several installments of Castlevania isn't exactly silent, but that's because the books are trying to kill you, and sometimes even explode when defeated.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Apocrypha is the realm of Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge. Apocrypha is a giant library said to contain all knowledge in the form of tomes. It is also filled with ghosts constantly seeking knowledge and Mora's Cthulhumanoid servants.
  • The basement of the police station in Fahrenheit is silent except for the sound of the heartbeat of the officer who's walking through it. Who suffers from nearly crippling claustrophobia, requiring a balancing mini-game to allow her to to navigate the library without panicking herself into unconsciousness.
  • Most libraries in the Resident Evil series, except in the remake of the first game, where you fight the Yawn for the second time.
  • Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, although you fight a Mini-Boss there at one point.
  • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan: The sixth maze of the game, the Hall of Darkness, is a sinister, dark, long-abandoned library slash research facility where the shelves and walls are caked with blood. And for full effect, unlike every other track in the game, the level's background 'music' is a rather creepy ambient piece.
  • There are several old and eerie libraries in the Nancy Drew computer game series, but the best example of this trope has to be the vandalized library in Treasure in the Royal Tower.
  • The Zurich library that MI6 agent Kara investigates in the 3rd Covert Front game plays this very well. After leaving the hotel in the previous chapter that some nice violin music, all you hear in this area is just the wind on a cold night. And just when Kara finds a lead to Karl Von Toten in its archives, Manfred Nikolai's thugs ambush her from the shadows.
  • The Sunken Library in Obsidian fits this trope to a degree, at least by the music. It's a very small area though, and there's nothing to do there except to change faces of the Bureau. You are able to pull some books off a shelf, when you're standing in such a way that the shelves are a ceiling and floor, and watch them fall sideways towards a pile at the "bottom". The Records Face that comes a bit later can also feel like this, as it's one of the few faces in the Bureau that no one is present on. (Except for a snarky computer terminal).
  • In Dark Souls III the Grand Archive of the Lothric Castle is one of the last areas of the game, and it's practically a love letter to this trope. It's an enormous tower filled with endless stacks of bookshelves, eerie, wax-covered scholars and cursed books that attack you with ghostly hands — as well as an extremely irritating, constantly teleporting miniboss.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game has a level set in the Metropolitan Library. The Busters have another encounter with the library ghost from the first movie, learn a bit about her backstory, and travel to another dimension.

  • A much less sinister example would be the old library in the second chapter of Gunnerkrigg Court.
  • Sequential Art shows one under the protagonist's house right next to the missile silo.
  • The main college library in Tales Of Gnosis College has dark, silent "closed stacks" filled with books of forbidden information.

    Web Original 
  • Horrible Turn, the fan-made prequel to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog contains a scene in which the protagonist, a young Billy, makes a date with a girl. A delightful song follows, which is shushed to silence at the end.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Arthur was actually about both Arthur and Francine being accidentally locked inside the library after closing hours.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Library", guarded by the huge and intimidating Knowledge Spirit Wan Shi Tong.
  • Megas XLR: "Buggin' The System" has the Ringworld Library, untouched for eons and filled with dead robots.
  • The Owl House has the Forbidden Stacks in the Bonesborough Library, which is dark, tended to by spectral arms, and off limits to everybody but the head librarian. The rest of the library is a lot more welcoming, to the point that one could easily mistake it for an ordinary Earth library if it wasn't for all the demons and witches walking around.


Video Example(s):


The Library's Forbidden Wing

While the public section of the library averts the premise, the forbidden wing fits the bill, being looked after by phantom arms, skeletal rats and the creepy Malphas overlooking it all.

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