Dishonorable Mention

A few extras rounding out my bottom picks for reel librarian portrayals

Denver Librarian in Ask the Dust (2006):

In this Class III film set in Depression-era L.A., struggling writer Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell), an Italian-American immigrant, meets and falls in love with Mexican immigrant Camilla (Salma Hayek). There is a brief flashback scene set in a public library, in which a young librarian first flirts with Bandini and then rejects him based on the name on his library card. In addition to helping set the library scene, her role reflects the discrimination toward Italian immigrants at that time.

Related posts: Reader poll write-up, Spring 2018: ‘Ask the Dust’

Jude in Bookies (2003):

In this Class I film, a student library employee uses the university library as the drop-off spot in a bookmaking scheme. This shining example of a library worker smokes, drinks, curses, plays video games, and has an addiction problem with gambling and drugs (in one scene, he does drugs on the library copier!). He is called an “asshole” by everyone, including his co-workers!

Related posts: Notable additional occupations for reel librarians ; Is reading a spectator sport? Librarians in sports movies

Librarian in The Caveman’s Valentine (2001):

This Class III film features another Spinster Librarian, this time one who is outraged by a homeless man sleeping in the library.

Related posts: The Spinster Librarian

Lindgren in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011):

In this Class III film and American version of the Swedish novel, a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) investigates the 40-year disappearance of a young woman. He is aided in his search by a punk investigator/computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Late in the film, Lisbeth researches records in a company’s archives, disgruntling a steely, stern-faced archives librarian named Lindgren (Anne-Li Norberg). Lindgren is most unwilling to help Lisbeth, even ignoring her gestures for help and calling her supervisor to complain about Lisbeth’s attitude.

Related posts: If looks could kill in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ ; The Lindgren trilogy | Comparing the archivist character in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ book and film versions

White Librarian in Hidden Figures (2016):

This Oscar-nominated Class IV film spotlights the personal and professional struggles and contributions of three African-American female mathematicians — or “computers” — at NASA during the early 1960s. There is a brief, but pivotal, library scene in which mathematician and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer, in an Oscar-nominated role) enters the “whites” section of the library because the “colored” section doesn’t have what she needs; a white librarian (listed in the credits as “White Librarian”) refuses her service, causing Vaughan to spirit the book out of the library.

Related posts: First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene

School librarian in High School High (1992):

In this Class IV film, a school librarian shows up briefly twice to yell out, “You suck!” to a naïve, well-meaning teacher.

Related posts: Reel school librarians ; Reel librarians on the loose

Miss McKenzie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969):

This Class III film features another Spinster Librarian, one who shoos noisy children out of the school library and declares, “This is a library, not a fun fair!” The drab clothing and unflattering hairstyle of side buns do not help.

Related posts: The shushing librarian: Celebration or scorn? ; Revisiting favorites | ‘The shushing librarian,’ Feb. 5, 2013 ; Reel school librarians ; The Quotable Librarian 1

Miss Gottschalk in The Seventh Victim (1943):

In this Class III film — the first horror film to feature a librarian — a teenage girl (Kim Hunter) tries to find her missing sister Jacqueline and uncovers a sinister cult. Poet Jason Hoag (Erford Gage) goes to the library to gather clues from cult members’ circulation records; he flirts with the librarian, who breaks the rules to give him restricted books. The horror of an unethical librarian!

Related posts: The horror of an unethical librarian in ‘The Seventh Victim’ ; Breakin’ the rules ; Victims or villains? Librarians in horror films and thrillers

Marcia Pilborough in Wetherby (1969):

In this Class II film, a misguided scholar visits the British Library Lending Division (where he is informed by a rude, wholly disinterested librarian that they do NOT lend books) and then shoots himself in a stranger’s house later that night. Coincidence? Perhaps, but definitely not the most positive reel librarian portrayal.

Related posts: What’s in a name?


Author: Jennifer

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

2 thoughts on “Dishonorable Mention”

  1. Is it okay that I find some of these portrayals funny? Or, at least, your write-ups about them are funny. I wonder if there’s something to be said about the use of these kinds of negative portrayals for comedic purposes. Or, perhaps more revealingly, if there’s something in our culture that allows us to use/view these negative portrayals in comedic ways. Hmmm…..

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