More stylish reel librarians + archivists

Let’s enjoy more sartorial variety, in and out of the stacks!

Since I’ve been highlighting some real-life librarian style lately, as seen in the most recent post about my librarian-themed jewelry collection, let’s now revisit some reel librarian style! Back in 2016, I spotlighted stylish reel librarians in 2 posts, here and here, and it felt high time to revisit some of the style from reel librarians and archivists I’ve appreciated in the last few years… and add more variety to the list!

(And for a more in-depth, critical analysis of reel librarian style, be sure to check out this post, “Beauty, dress codes, and fashion: Examining twenty fictional White female librarians,” on Burkely Hermann’s Pop Culture Library Review site.)

“Amma” Treadeau in Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Viola Davis plays Amarie “Amma” Treadeau in Beautiful Creatures (2013), and her character in the movie merged two characters from the source novel: Amma Treadeau, a grandmotherly figure and Seer, and Marian Ashcroft, the local librarian (and librarian of the secret Caster libraries). Viola Davis is the best (or only?) reason to watch this middling film, as she gives it her all in a multi-faceted portrayal. She also gives it her all in the style department.

Here’s how I described Amma’s style in my first analysis post about the movie:

I love that her hairstyle, clothing, and jewelry all reflect her Black and African identity and culture. Amma comes across as very rooted in her personal identity, and that her culture — and her personal expression of that culture — help ground her. She experiments with patterns and colors, and her jewelry is always front-and-center. Amma is no wallflower reel librarian. As a Black woman in a South Carolina town that seems mostly full of White people (except at church), there’s no way she could visually blend in, even if she wanted to. And it’s clear she doesn’t want to blend in; rather, she seems to radiate joy and self-confidence in her personal appearance. I found myself looking for Amma in every scene, eagerly anticipating what amazing jewelry or pattern-mixing combination she would wear next.

Related post: A reel librarian’s multi-faceted role in ‘Beautiful Creatures’ (2013)

Lucienne in The Sandman (2022- )

I am a newcomer to The Sandman realm, and I live-tweeted my reactions last fall while watching the first season of The Sandman TV series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s iconic series of graphic novels. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the character of Lucienne, the librarian of The Dreaming, played by Vivienne Acheampong, a British actress of Ghanaian heritage.

Here’s what I wrote in my recap reactions post:

Lucienne, the librarian of The Dreaming, played by Vivienne Acheampong. Loved EVERYTHING about this portrayal and character, the actor, the costume, the little elf ears, everything.

Lucienne’s style is very buttoned-up, very tailored, with collared shirts, black suit coat, and waistcoat. I liked the subtle bits of stylish touches like the watch chain on the waistcoat, the skinny little ties/cravats, the swirling swallowtails on the long coat, and the round eyeglasses. Plus, in at least one glorious episode, Lucienne wears a suit in a deep purple color!

Related post: My thoughts, reactions, and questions while watching ‘The Sandman’ TV series

All the librarians in A Winter Romance (2021)

A Winter Romance stars White actress Jessica Lowndes as reel librarian Taylor, and also features two Black women as library directors, Jenni Burke as Linda and Darlene Cooke as Joyce. Besides the love of research that Taylor demonstrates throughout this TV movie, the aspect I most enjoyed was the buffet of reel librarian style onscreen, with different kinds of librarian style, both professional and casual style, on different women and age ranges. Each reel librarian had their own distinctive style, which was a treat to see onscreen.

In fact, “These librarians have style” was #30 in my post featuring 31 thoughts and questions I had while watching this TV romance! See the full post below:

Related post: 31 thoughts and questions I had while watching ‘A Winter Romance’ (2021)

Adaline in The Age of Adaline (2015)

In late 2016, I watched The Age of Adaline (2015), starring Blake Lively in the title role. Adaline works in San Francisco Heritage Society’s library and archives. In my analysis post, I described her AMAZING style this way:

We also get introduced to the style of Adaline, who is in her prime — and dresses accordingly — through multiple decades. She has a classic style, which comes across as retro-inspired in the present day. She is a lady, and her clothing and hairstyles reflect that. I am definitely adding Adaline to my list of most stylish reel librarians!

I admit it, I’ve rewatched The Age of Adaline just for the swoonworthy style!

Related post: A reel librarian for the ages in ‘The Age of Adaline’

Delores Rodriguez in Just Cause (1995)

 The thriller Just Cause (1995) stars Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Blair Underwood, Kate Capshaw, and Ed Harris, and also features Emmy-nominated comedian Liz Torres as newspaper archivist Delores Rodriguez.

Although this film itself has major issues — not least of which that Delores is the ONLY LATINX PERSON in a film set in and around Miami and southern Florida, yeah righhhhhhhhhht — let’s for now just enjoy Delores’s fun, colorful style and accessories:

You can read my entire post below:

Related post: ‘Just Cause’ to re-examine a Latina newspaper archivist portrayal

Deborah and Evelyn in All About Evil (2010)

Indie horror film All About Evil (2010) was finallllllllly released on Blu-Ray last year, so I was finally able to see this cult classic movie that stars two reel librarians: Natasha Lyonne as Deborah Tennis, and Mink Stole as Evelyn. Deb’s style really evolves AFTER she quits the public library to run her late father’s movie theater; her style, hair, and makeup reflect stylish screen icons, such as Clara Bow and Joan Crawford. Evelyn, the director of a public library branch in San Francisco, also shows a bit of personality in her bold colors, printed tops, and costume jewelry.

Enjoy more librarian style and shenanigans here in my analysis post for All About Evil:

Related post: All about the reel librarians in ‘All About Evil’ (2010)

Any favorites of yours here? Do you have more stylish reel librarians to add to the list? Please leave a comment and share!

Sources used

  • The Age of Adaline. Dir. Lee Toland Krieger. Perf. Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn. Lionsgate, 2015.
  • All About Evil. Dir. Joshua Grannell. Perf. Natasha Lyonne, Mink Stole, Thomas Dekker, Cassandra Peterson. Severin Films, 2010.
  • Beautiful Creatures. Dir. Richard LaGravenese. Perf. Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson. Summit, 2013. Based on the 2009 novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
  • Just Cause. Dir. Arne Glimcher. Perf. Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Blair Underwood, Kate Capshaw, Ed Harris. Warner Bros., 1995.
  • The Sandman. Created by Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg. Perf. Tom Sturridge, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, David Thewlis, Jenna Coleman, Gwendolyn Christie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Netflix, 2022. Based on the graphic novel series by Neil Gaiman.
  • A Winter Romance (aka Colors of LoveAn Autumn Romance). Dir. Bradley Walsh. Perf. Jessica Lowndes, Chad Michael Murray, Dennis Andres. Hideaway Pictures via Amazon Prime Video, 2021. Based on the novel The Tycoon’s Kiss by Jane Porter.

Librarian-themed clothing collection (2022 update)

Featuring books, cats, library cards, microfiche, and more!

Related post: Librarian t-shirt collection (Aug. 2014)

My “Librarian t-shirt collection” post from 2014 continues to be one of my most popular posts, again cracking the top 10 viewed posts during this 10th blog anniversary year. As I mentioned back in 2014, I love adding to my personal collection, and indeed, my librarian-themed clothing items has grown substantially since then. I’ve said for awhile that I needed to do an update to that original post… so today is the day!

Please note that this is NOT a sponsored post, and there are no affiliate links in this post. These are are all items from my personal wardrobe that I have either personally purchased or received as gifts from friends and family.

Previous librarian-themed t-shirt collection

First, here is a quick look at the librarian-themed t-shirts I had in my wardrobe back in 2014:

Reel Librarians | Librarian t-shirt collection
Librarian t-shirt collection, as seen in 2014

For details on these t-shirts and their designs, etc., see my “Librarian t-shirt collection” post from 2014.


Librarian tees
Librarian tees

Details, from left to right:

  • #Librarian t-shirt (made and gifted by my sister-in-law)
  • “Never Forget” card catalog t-shirt (TopatoCo, past personal purchase)


Book print & microfiche print dresses
Book print & microfiche print dresses

Details, from left to right:

  • Green bookshelf print dress (Svaha, birthday present last year)
  • Cats & bookshelves print dress (Svaha, past birthday present)
  • Microfiche print dress (Svaha, past birthday present)
Book mandala print dress
Book mandala print dress
  • Book mandala print dress (Svaha, past personal purchase)


Book print skirts
Book print skirts

Details, from left to right:

  • Book spines print skirt (Svaha, past birthday present)
  • Cats & books print skirt (ModCloth, past Christmas present)

“Librarian’s Secret Chamber” print items

"Librarian's Secret Chamber" print pajamas and dress
“Librarian’s Secret Chamber” print pajamas and dress

Details, from left to right:

  • Pajama pants (Svaha, past Christmas present)
  • Dress (Svaha, past Christmas present)

Eyeglasses-print items

Eyeglasses-themed dress and t-shirt
Eyeglasses-themed dress and t-shirt

Details, from left to right:

  • Dress (Svaha, past personal purchase)
  • T-shirt (Liz Claiborne, past personal purchase)

Bags, totes, & accessories

Library-themed bags
Library-themed bags

Details, from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Bookshelf print lunch bag (Svaha, past Christmas present)
  • Library shelves & ladders print tote bag (no tag, past Christmas present)
  • Yellow library card print tote bag (Out of Print, past birthday present)
Book print bags, scarf, and face mask
Book print bags, scarf, and face mask

Details, from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Purses made from books (won at a past librarian conference raffle)
  • Banned books print zip purse (Out of Print, past personal purchase)
  • Composition book print zip purse (Out of Print, past personal purchase)
  • Open book infinity scarf (Svaha, past Christmas present)
  • Book spines print face mask (Svaha, personal purchase)


Book theme socks
Book theme socks

Details, left to right, top to bottom:

  • Blue library card print socks (Out of Print, past gift)
  • Banned books print socks (Out of Print, past gift)
  • “Fuck off, I’m reading” socks by Blue Q (Blue Q, past Christmas present)
  • Bookworm socks (no tag, past gift)

I debated on whether or not to include librarian-themed jewelry (of which I have a few) in this post, and I finally decided not to overload you all. But if you would like to see an additional post featuring librarian-themed jewelry, please leave a comment and let me know!

Lego Librarian Halloween costume

A Lego Librarian + a real-life librarian together on the Reel Librarians blog. What more could you ask for?

If you’re a long-time reader of Reel Librarians (thank you!), then you will be familiar with my hunt for the Lego Librarian minifigure. I also use photos of the Lego Librarian every year for my blog anniversary posts. And because I grew my hair longer due to the pandemic and lockdowns, I decided this year to dress up as a real-life Lego Librarian! It’s SO META.


Collage of the Lego Librarian minifigure (left) and my Lego Librarian costume (right)
Collage of the Lego Librarian minifigure (left) and my Lego Librarian costume (right)

For almost a decade now, I’ve enjoyed dressing up for Halloween by putting together a costume from items already in my closet. No-cost costumes for the win! And this year may be my favorite costume yet. And I never worry about exact recreations; rather, I like to focus on capturing the overall effect and feel of a costume or character. And I definitely felt like I was channeling the Lego Librarian in this costume, with the tan pleated skirt, Fair Isle sweater, buttoned-up shirt, bright red lipstick, and tiny little smirk. (The extreme side part of the hair was the final touch that transformed this costume for me.)

And to be clear: This IS a costume for me. Both my husband and my mom gasped at how different I looked in this costume, LOL! Yes, I am a real-life librarian, and yes, these are all items from my wardrobe, but my own personal style is different and much less preppy than the Lego Librarian’s style. But I do love red lipstick! 😉

The props

The Lego Librarian minifigure comes with a coffee cup that reads “Shhhh” plus a book entitled “Oranges and Peaches.” (And the book title is an inside joke that circles back to the world of reel librarians, a scene from 1995’s indie cult classic Party Girl, in which library worker Mary (Parker Posey) mistakes a library patron’s request for Origin of Species.)

Closeup of the Lego Librarian and props

So yes, I created a facsimile cover of the minifigure book — with the EXACT FONT as the original!!! #LibrarianNerd #FontNerd #NoRegrets

And I’ve featured before on this Reel Librarians blog my librarian coffee cup that reads, “Marian retired. I’m in charge now!” This is a reference to another reel librarian movie, to the character “Marian the Librarian” from 1962’s classic The Music Man.

In this photo, I mimicked the pose and props of the Lego Librarian
Marian retired. I’m in charge now!

The locale

And OF COURSE I had to take photos in front of a “Little Free Library” in the neighborhood. And as my husband pointed out, this “Little Free Library” is made from a toy bookcase (or toy house?), so it fits this Lego toy theme even more. Soooooo satisfying! 😀

Adding “Oranges and Peaches” to a neighborhood Little Free Library
The Lego Librarian visits a Little Free Library

Although I took these photos early in order to be able to publish them on the blog in time for Halloween, I will be rewearing this costume on Halloween itself.

And here are some final photos of me and my minifig. A Lego Librarian + a real-life librarian together on the Reel Librarians blog. What more could you ask for? 😉

Me and my Lego Librarian minifigure
Shhhhh! Don’t tell anybody that I don’t shush people in the library!

This is how pleased I am with my Lego Librarian costume, LOL! 😀

Having fun dressing up as the Lego Librarian

And if you’d like more Lego Librarian fun, please explore my prior posts about Lego Librarians:

Did I capture the Lego Librarian spirit in my Halloween costume this year? What is your Halloween costume this year? Have you ever dressed up as a reel librarian character? Please leave a comment and share!

‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ follow-up

I hope you enjoy this additional sojourn into real librarians — and librarian style!

Last week, I shared the news and background story about being included in a book about librarians, This is What a Librarian Looks Like, by Kyle Cassidy. This week, I have follow-up news and photos!

Being featured in The Guardian:

News first:  On May 29th, London newspaper The Guardian published a photo essay, “Tattoos and baseball caps: This is What a Librarian Looks Like — in pictures” of librarian fashion, highlighting a selection of photos from Kyle Cassidy’s book. And I was included in the photo essay!

Again, my reaction was:  WHUT?!

The Guardian's librarian fashion photo essay
The Guardian’s librarian fashion photo essay
That's me! Screenshot from The Guardian's librarian fashion photo essay
That’s me! Screenshot from The Guardian’s librarian fashion photo essay

I loved that my cheeky card catalog tee was featured in order to illustrate how librarians are “in on the joke” about our own stereotypes. And that’s what this Reel Librarians site is all about, too! 😉

It was also very sweet how many people shared the news about me being featured in The Guardian‘s photo essay, including family, friends, and even co-workers!

Never forget, then and now:

I received my complimentary copy of the book the same day that my library received their own copy of the book they ordered. And I still have the same library card catalog tee (and denim jacket) that I wore in the portrait that Cassidy took three years ago… and thus, an idea was born. A library colleague took photos of me in our library, with my current (shorter) hairstyle, with the book and my portrait. Fun!

Librarian book and card catalog tee, then and now
Librarian book and card catalog tee, then and now

And here I am shelving my library’s copy of the book on our bookshelves:

Shelving the book This Is What a Librarian Looks Like
Shelving the book This Is What a Librarian Looks Like

How do you classify librarians?

Here’s a closeup of the call number for the book:  Z682 C37 2017

LC call number for This Is What a Librarian Looks Like book
LC call number for This Is What a Librarian Looks Like book

Let’s break down that call number, shall we?

First things first:  This is a call number using the Library of Congress classification system.

Library card catalog tee closeup
Library card catalog tee closeup

And finally, one last funny thing that happened this past week. After a colleague shared the news on campus about me being featured in The Guardian and the This is What a Librarian Looks Like book, a fellow (non-librarian) instructor emailed me, wondering if the card catalog on the t-shirt was the Library of Congress or the Dewey Decimal system… and I loved that this instructor asked which which classification system the card catalog drawer was for! 😃

Here was my response:

Since the label reads “a-d” (i.e. letters), then it would most likely be the Library of Congress system, which combines letters and numbers together (with the letters coming first, organized by alphabetical order, and then by numbers. So A 100 would come before A 102, which would come before AF 100, and so on). Library of Congress includes both fiction and non-fiction, which is why it’s used for larger collections, like in college and university libraries.

The Dewey Decimal system is numbers only, 000’s through 900’s, and covers mostly non-fiction. That’s why most public libraries, which use the Dewey Decimal system, usually have separate classification systems for collections like fiction, usually alphabetized by authors’ last names, etc. So this card catalog drawer could also be for a special collection like fiction, representing authors’ last names, A-D.

It was super fun to geek out a bit — by request! — about library classification systems! 😃

Back to reel librarians next week… but I hope you enjoyed this additional sojourn into real librarians — and librarian style!

Have you read or gotten a copy of This is What a Librarian Looks Like? Please leave a comment and share.

Sources used:

A reel librarian for the ages in ‘The Age of Adaline’

“Too bad, I adore know-it-alls.”

Earlier this year, I watched the 2015 film The Age of Adaline, starring Blake Lively as the title character. I saved my analysis post of this film for the end of this month, as the film is set around the New Year holidays.

Here’s a trailer for the film:

The Age of Adaline Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Blake Lively, Harrison Ford Movie HD” video uploaded by Movieclips Trailers is licensed under a Standard YouTube license

The plot? Adaline, a young woman and a recent widow, gets into a car accident in the 1930s and stops aging as a result of the accident. After decades of living alone, she meets a man, Ellis (Michiel Huisman) who makes her question her life choices. Even though that plot has a bit of mumbo jumbo narration thrown in to try and explain the scientific reasoning behind Adaline’s agelessness, it’s played as a pretty straightforward romantic drama. Blake Lively definitely commits to the title role and brings a world-weariness to her portrayal of Adaline. However, the real stars that shine in the movie are Harrison Ford, who plays Ellis’s father, William, and Ellen Burstyn, who plays Adaline’s daughter, Flemming.

The director, Lee Toland Krieger, reveals on the bonus features how much thought he put into the look and feel of the film, focusing on different camera techniques to visually depict the different decades of the film and its flashbacks. The film is stunning to look at.


Just five minutes into the film, we get a sweeping view of Adaline as she walks up the steps of a library. The film is set in San Francisco, but these scenes were filmed at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Adaline walks up the library steps
Adaline walks up the library steps

As she walks into a light-filled room rimmed with bookcases and filing cabinets and card catalogs, we see a woman sitting at the desk by a computer (Cora, played by Indian-British actress Anjali Jay), and a man standing by the window (Kenneth, played by Japanese-Canadian actor Hiro Kanagawa). We also glimpse an older woman in the background by the bookshelves, but she doesn’t get a screen credit. Adaline’s co-workers are surprised to see her.

Adaline's co-workers are surprised to her on New Year's Eve
Adaline’s co-workers are surprised to her on New Year’s Eve
Adaline greets her co-workers at the library on New Year's Eve
Adaline greets her co-workers at the library on New Year’s Eve

Kenneth:  We thought you might not be coming in today, it being New Year’s Eve and all.

Adaline:  It’s still a Wednesday. The fun doesn’t start till tonight anyway.

Kenneth:  Well, are you up for a little excitement right now?

Adaline:  Sure, what is it?

Kenneth:  Your favorite. The news reel archives. It’s finally being digitized. We need a little help getting it ready to be shipped.

Adaline:  I’d love to.

Adaline and the archives
Adaline and the archives

We then go into a scene in which Adaline sets up the film reel projector and settles in to watch news reel archives of San Francisco. This is a clever set-up for the narrator to take over and introduce her life while a montage of clips visually accompany the central plot phenomenon. As the narrator explains, at age 29 in 1937, Adaline gets into a car accident. As a result, her cells stop aging, leaving her perpetually 29 years old, even as her daughter and everyone else around her ages.

Adaline watches a news reel from the early 1900s
Adaline watches a news reel from the early 1900s

Although only a few minutes long, these scenes in the library archives are crucial to introducing the film and introducing us to the character (and motivations) of Adaline. Through her conversation with Kenneth, we learn that Adaline eschews socializing and is committed to her work, and that she loves working with archives. And then we find out why through the montage. We also see in the montage that Adaline studies up on her condition, taking a clerical job at a school of medicine. It’s a very clever and compact scene, one that includes an emphasis on archives and the value of researching and reading.

We also get introduced to the style of Adaline, who is in her prime — and dresses accordingly — through multiple decades. She has a classic style, which comes across as retro-inspired in the present day. She is a lady, and her clothing and hairstyles reflect that. I am definitely adding Adaline to my list of most stylish reel librarians!

Adaline in her closet
Adaline in her closet
A collage of Adaline's style through the decades
A collage of Adaline’s style through the decades

Adaline then dresses up for a New Year’s Eve party, where she “meets cute” with Ellis in the hotel elevator, setting off the romance part of the film’s plot.

Ellis:  I don’t want to come across like a know-it-all.

Adaline:  Too bad, I adore know-it-alls.

Ellis is (understandably) smitten, but Adaline keeps an emotional distance, as she doesn’t want to get involved with anyone. She is also about to change identities yet again, something she does every decade to escape notice.

Unbeknownst to her, Ellis had already noticed Adaline before the party. Later, he describes how he first noticed her when she was reading a Braille book on the front steps of the library. For someone who’s trying to go unnoticed, she fails spectacularly!

Adaline reads a book in Braille on the library steps
Adaline reads a book in Braille on the library steps

A half-hour into the film, Ellis returns to the library to donate a lot of rare first editions. (It turns out he has made a lot of money in the tech industry and is now giving back and doing good works.) Just the way to capture a reel librarian’s heart!

Ellis returns to the library to donate books
Ellis returns to the library to donate books

Adaline’s co-worker, Cora, gets some lines to provide the backstory — plus reveals the name of where they work.

Cora:  Major news. Mr. Jones is donating $50,000 worth of first edition classics to this library.

Adaline:  What books? Do you know?

Cora:  We’re going to find out very soon. Because his office called to say that he’ll be here to deliver them himself.

Cora [to Ellis]:  On behalf of the San Francisco Heritage Society, I’d like to express our sincere gratitude for your most generous gift.

Note:  I could not find record of a San Francisco Heritage Society (y’all knew I would look that up, right?). However, I suspect it’s standing in for the California Historical Society, which has headquarters in San Francisco. The California Historical Society does have its own library.

Ellis then proceeds with his real mission: to flirt with Adaline. Cue the obligatory library ladder scene!

Library ladder scene alert!
Library ladder scene alert!

Ellis:  Hey, it’s me. The know-it-all. I got something for you, too. Some flowers. [Gives her a gift of first editions: Daisy Miller, Dandelion Wine, White Oleander.]

Adaline:  Very clever. How did you know I work here?

Ellis:  I just joined the board. I saw you coming out of our meeting.

Adaline:  Oh. You could have mentioned that in the elevator.

Ellis:  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some donating.

Adaline:  Great. I’ll be here.

Ellis:  No way. I would like for you to accept the books on behalf of the library.

Ellis wants to take a photograph of Adaline accepting the books, but of course, she has her own reasons for not wanting to be photographed. She initially refuses, giving him a stern look, as seen in the screenshot below. (By the way, I love the composition of this shot! They all look like professionals, but Adaline stands out in green against the blacks and greys of her reel librarian co-workers.)

Adaline refuses to be photographed accepting a donation of books to the library
Adaline refuses to be photographed accepting a donation of books to the library

Then Ellis threatens to take away his donation.

Ellis:  Suit yourself. If you won’t accept them, I won’t donate them.

Adaline:  You wouldn’t do that.

Ellis:  I will. I’ll even have a book burning. Okay, fine, fine. Here’s an alternative. Let me take you out tomorrow.

I know this is the central romance of the film, and this is supposed to be another “meet cute” scene, but I was incensed at this. A man “joking” about a book burning?! I was literally shouting at the screen, “NO!!!! That is NOT the man for you. Walk away!”

Ellis then attempts to make up for this later when he woos Adaline by complimenting the way she reads. He seems to appreciate Adaline’s intelligence and knowledge, even saying, “You can tell me anything you want, and I’ll believe it.”

His father, William, is not so easily convinced. Ellis wants Adaline to meet his parents, and we get a brief scene an hour into the film between William and his wife, Kathy. William questions any woman who’s beautiful who is “hiding out in a library,” and he suspects her of being a gold-digger.

William:  So, what’s the story with this girl? She works there?

Kathy:  I’ve told you everything Ellis told me.

William:  A beautiful girl working in a public library.

Kathy:  Maybe she likes books. And silence.

William:  Or maybe she Googled him, and found out about his generous contribution and then worked her way in there so she could get her hooks into him.

But Adaline shows up William when they all play Trivial Pursuit. William has had a longtime winning streak — he’s a professor — but Adaline sweeps the game due to her lifetime of knowledge. It’s an enjoyable scene.

More romantic drama ensues, including a super-awkward love triangle, plus some more scientific mumbo jumbo thrown into the mix. I won’t reveal the ending of the film, but it’s pretty predictable. Enjoyably predictable, but predictable nonetheless.

So why is Adaline working in a library? As the New York Times review puts it, “By the time the present rolls around, Adaline has become an emotional shut-in.” The library — or at least the library at this particular historical society — is a quiet place, which suits her. There is no mention of qualifications or education for any of the four librarians pictured onscreen, but it’s obvious that Adaline has lots of personal experience with the older technology and artifacts.

We see Adaline do a variety of tasks in the library, including helping out with archives, running news reels on film projectors, stacking and shelving books, and filing cards. Her co-workers are seen working on computers. They must leave the older technology to Adaline! 😉

Adaline uses older technology in the library
Adaline uses older technology in the library

Adaline mentions several times about having to work for a living:

I only get an hour” [for lunch]

Some of us work for a living.”

However, we witness a flashback scene in which we learn that she has bought stock in Xerox. My thoughts are that she doesn’t actually need to work for a living; she simply prefers to do so in order to keep her mind alert, to utilize her knowledge and skills, and to indulge her nostalgia for the past. An historical library and museum are a good fit for those purposes.

Adaline’s co-workers serve the role of Information Providers, which is pretty straightforward. We don’t learn much about them as individuals, but I do enjoy the diversity of the reel librarians seen onscreen, representing different ages, genders, and ethnicities.

What purpose then does Adaline provide in this role as a reel librarian? I believe she serves the role of a Liberated Librarian:

  • Female Liberated Librarians tend to “discover” themselves with the help of a man or in the face of an adventure/disaster. (Check. Her life does change when she meet Ellis.)
  • The “liberations” can be positive or negative. (It’s positive in this film)
  • They are usually substantial roles with the librarian’s “liberation” often the film’s major plot. (Check and check. Adaline is the title character, and her “liberation” is both emotional and physical.)

Adaline is, indeed, “hiding out” in the library, trying to go unnoticed and to stay emotionally unattached. She is perfectly content in her life and at the library — but she is also content to leave that job and move on in order to preserve her privacy.

The Age of Adaline (2015) ends up in the Class II category, films in which the protagonist or other major characters are librarians, but the librarian’s occupation does not directly affect the plot.

The film’s conclusion, however, does not answer whether or not she will continue to work at the library. My guess — or rather, hope? — is that she will, but then, I’m also a romantic librarian at heart. ♥

And with that, 2016 comes to a close for Reel Librarians. I’ll be back next week — and next year! — with a wrap-up for 2016. Have a great New Year’s holiday!

Sources used:

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