For my Christmas gift this year, my husband gifted me the brand-new version of the librarian action figure!
The first librarian figure was produced in 2003 by Archie McPhee, and this figure was modeled on legendary librarian Nancy Pearl, outfitted in a blue skirt suit. You can read more about the history of the librarian action figure here on the company’s website.
We librarians have had a love-loathe relationship with that original librarian action figure. We LOVED that we had an action figure of our own and that it was based on an awesome real-life librarian, Nancy Pearl, who inspired “one city, one book” programming and is the author of several Book Lust books. But we LOATHED the fact that the “super power” was shushing, and that the figure looked, well, so stereotypically dowdy (it was the shapeless skirt suit, y’all, not Nancy Pearl herself!). And the librarian outrage was global, as you can read more about here in this 2003 news article entitled ‘Outcry over librarian doll,’ published in an Australian newspaper.
Here’s a video starring the original librarian action figure:
A “deluxe” version of this figure was released a few years later, featuring Nancy Pearl in a burgundy skirt suit, which Archie McPhee optimistically described as “stylish.” (You can see my list of ACTUAL stylish librarians onscreen here and here.) The deluxe set included a rolling cart, stacks of books, and a computer. Bless. ♥
And this past year, Archie McPhee released — by popular demand — a superhero version of the librarian action figure! As the company describes it:
“She has a removable cape and a deep understanding of how knowledge is organized. Celebrate an everyday hero!”
I love the call-out to action on the front of the librarian action figure:
“When an age of darkness comes, a hero must rise!”
And they included an inspiring “librarian code” on the back of the packaging:
I love that the librarian code encapsulates more than a love of books — that it’s also about access to information, experiencing empathy, connecting with people, and checking facts, in addition to organizing the world. ♥ Action verbs befitting a real-life action hero.
Excuse me, I now have to find my own librarian superhero cape… 😉
- “The History of the Librarian Action Figure and Nancy Pearl.” Archie McPhee, n.d.
- “Outcry Over Librarian Doll.” The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Sept. 2003.
4 thoughts on “Librarian action figure”
Well done, you. Curious, whip-smart, tenacious, inquisitive, empathetic, dogged, & daring are all words to describe Librarians. We are rarely shushers. The stereotypes of yore are outdated and annoying. Thank you for this, I Tweeted it out to the FussyLibrarian website who has a shushing Librarian graphic as their logo. Love the site, didn’t love the visual.
Thanks so much for commenting — and for tweeting it out to the FussyLibrarian site! I totally agree with you, we are rarely shushers! ❤