Is reading a spectator sport? Librarians in sports movies

The Olympics have begun! Oh, you haven’t heard? 😉 I ♥ me some Olympics, so that got me thinking about any sports movies featuring reel librarians. Are there any?

Of course!


Major League (1989)

The flag-bearer in this procession goes to reel librarian Lynn Wells in Major League (1989). Rene Russo plays Lynn, a former swimmer — and alternate for the ’80 Olympics in the 200 individual medley, no less! — and ex-wife of baseball catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger). After her athletic career, she turned to librarianship (a natural progression), and “in two years, […] put together one of the best special collections in the country.” Of course. 🙂

Lynn in Major League (1989) is the only example I’ve been able to find so far of a reel librarian who is also an athlete. But there are a few additional examples of major characters and athletes who fall in love with librarians. Of course. 🙂


Good News (1947)

First up is 1947 musical Good News, starring college football hero Tommy (Lawford), who falls for fellow student and college library assistant Connie (June Allyson). You can check out their Meet Cute moment and duet sung in the library by clicking here.


Love Story (1970)

In Love Story (1970), Harvard law student and jock Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) falls in love with Jennifer, a Radcliffe music major (Ali MacGraw). The opening scene features their first encounter, set at the Radcliffe library where MacGraw works as a library assistant.


Movie Movie (1978)

The 1978 film Movie Movie is made up of a twin bill of 1930s spoofs, including the boxing-themed “Dynamite Hands.” Delivery boy Joey (Harry Hamlin) becomes a boxing success, supported by Betsy (Trish Van Devere), his loyal girlfriend who works at the New York Public Library.


Rudy (1993)

The quintessential underdog, feel-good sports movie has got to be Rudy (1993), starring Sean Astin as the title character, a below-average student with no natural athletic ability. Nevertheless, he has the determination and spirit to join the Notre Dame football team. In one scene, a kindly librarian (Marie Anspaugh) wakes Rudy up after a study marathon in the college library.


Finding Forrester (2000)

In Finding Forrester (2000), reclusive author (Sean Connery) becomes a mentor to a young African-American writing prodigy, Jamal (Rob Brown), who also happens to be a standout basketball player. In one brief scene, Jamal visits the library, where we see a reel librarian cameo (Sophia Wu).


Bookies (2003)

A negative side of sports is shown in Bookies (2003), in which three college roommates set up a bookmaking business in their dorm room. Jude (Johnny Galecki) works as a student library worker, using the library as the drop-off spot in their bookmaking scheme. (Sigh.)


Murder at the Gallop (1963)

Murder at the Gallop (1963) is set amidst a backdrop of horse racing at an English country estate. Stringer Davis plays his usual role of village librarian and sidekick in this entry of the Margaret Rutherford-as-Miss Marple series.


Rollerball (1975)

In Rollerball (1975), Jonathan (James Caan) is the star of the ultra-violent sport Rollerball. He rebels against the corporate rulers, which involves two library scenes. Unfortunately, the librarians are less than useless in this dystopian future.


Billy Elliot (2000)

And last but not least, Jamie Bell stars as title character Billy Elliot (2000), who wants to become a ballet dancer even though his family expects him to be interested in boxing and become a miner. In one short scene, Billy steals a book from a library bookmobile  because the stern librarian (Carol McGuigan) won’t let him check it out on a junior ticket.

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2 comments on “Is reading a spectator sport? Librarians in sports movies

  1. Great idea for a post! Also, when is Rollerball finally going to be an Olympic sport? 😉

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