Stylish male reel librarians

It is rare to get to see a reel librarian’s style evolve, which is only possible with a lead role for a reel librarian.

Last week, I highlighted stylish female reel librarians… this week I shine the spotlight on stylish male reel librarians! Note:  I compiled this list in a totally unscientific way. I first jotted down a list of stylish reel librarians — from nothing more than my memory — and then narrowed the list down to 5 female and 5 male reel librarians.


Flynn Carsen in The Librarians:


All of the librarians in The Librarians spinoff TV series are stylish in their own ways, as seen in the screenshot directly below, but Flynn Carsen’s style has really come into its own. It is rare to get to see a reel librarian’s style evolve, which is only possible with a lead role for a reel librarian. It has been a pleasure to witness Flynn’s style evolution from oversized and ill-fitting trousers and unevenly buttoned shirts, as seen in 2004’s The Librarian: Quest for the Spear TV movie, to sharply tailored and layered in the spinoff TV series.

The librarians' style in the Season 2 premiere of The Librarians TV show
The librarians’ style in the Season 2 premiere of The Librarians TV show

Vox in The Time Machine (2002):


Vox in the 2002 remake of The Time Machine is one of my favorite reel librarian characters. He is the heart and soul of that movie — and of knowledge itself — as well as the epitome of the Information Provider character type. His style is as timeless as he is.

Vox's style in The Time Machine (2002)
Vox’s style in The Time Machine (2002)

Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV, 1996-2003):


Ah, Giles the school librarian at Sunnydale High, as played by British actor Anthony Head. A TV librarian who has reached iconic status — and I would venture to say, that status has been aided by his classic wardrobe. His wardrobe (and manner) of an English gentleman serve up a perfect contrast to modern California culture. That means lots of tweed, ties, striped button-downs, waistcoats, and three-piece suits. Well suited, indeed, Giles.

Giles the school librarian at Sunnydale High
Giles, the school librarian at Sunnydale High, looking sharp in a suit and waistcoat

You can read more about my analysis of the first episode of the series in my “Welcome to Sunnydale, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love Buffy” post.


Frank in Miranda (2002):


In Miranda, John Simm plays Frank, a reel librarian in charge of a library scheduled for demolition. His opening narration also reveals his retro-inspired style choices:

Frank. Barracloff. Rock star. Astronaut. Secret agent. Sex god. That was me, wishing my life away, listening to Elvis, munching on nuts.

His suits and wide-lapel shirts are a specific style — one not suitable for everyone — but I have to admire the way his character commits to that look!

Frank's retro-inspired style in Miranda
Frank’s retro-inspired style in Miranda
Frank's retro-inspired style in Miranda
Frank’s retro-inspired style in Miranda

Edgar Marsh in The Tell-Tale Heart (1960):


This final choice might prove a controversial or unusual choice, but stick with me. In this 1960 adaptation of the classic Edgar Allan Poe short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, Laurence Payne plays Edgar Marsh, described on the back of the DVD case as “a mentally unstable librarian.” Payne commits 110% to this film, going over-the-top in his acting and facial expressions (which you can see more of in my post about the film). To counter this, Edgar dresses quite conservatively and formally, all buttoned up in jackets, silk vests, ties, and top hats to reflect the 19th-century time period.

Edgar's style in The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar’s style in The Tell-Tale Heart

For me, though, it’s all about the poet shirt — white and billowing and ruffled and pleated. 😉 I like to think that particular sartorial choice reflects Edgar’s inner turmoil and frustrated heart beating and yearning to break free underneath all those layers of jackets and vests and ties. And when it does break free…. watch out! I love when costume choices add an extra layer to character development.


So there you have it, five stylish male reel librarians, along with five stylish female reel librarians last week.

This is not an exhaustive list, and my opinions expressed here on the stylishness of the librarians are based on personal and biased opinions.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you have more stylish reel librarians to add to the list? Please share and leave a comment!


Sources used:


  • The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV movie). Dir. Peter Winther. Perf. Noah Wyle, Sonya Walger, Bob Newhart, Kyle MacLachlan, Kelly Hu. TNT, 2004.
  • Miranda. Dir. Marc Munden. Perf. Christina Ricci, John Simm, Kyle MacLachlan, John Hurt. Feelgood Films, 2002.
  • The Tell-Tale Heart. Dir. Ernest Morris. Perf. Laurence Payne, Adrienne Corri, Dermot Walsh. Danziger Productions, 1960.
  • The Time Machine. Dir. Simon Wells. Perf. Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Orlando Jones. Warner Bros., 2002.
  • “Welcome to the Hellmouth.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The WB, 10 March 1997.

Stylish female reel librarians

A closer look at reel librarians reveals a wide range of stylish choices captured on cinema, as well, for both male and female reel librarian characters.

Librarians, in reel or real life, have not historically been lauded for their style; or, rather, so-called “librarian style” has entered the realm of stereotype. This is mostly due, I would argue, to the prevailing “Spinster Librarian” character type, wrapped up in frumpy, ill-fitting, and buttoned-up cardigans, midi skirts, sensible shoes, and glasses on a chain. This kind of stereotypical clothing, which could even be seen as a kind of uniform, serves a purpose for the “Spinster Librarian” character type, visually demonstrating the conservative and rule-abiding nature of that role.

But we are more stylish than people might think — in real and reel life!

Real librarians’ personal style is as diverse as the field of librarianship, as evidenced in websites like Librarian Wardrobe, whose tagline is “Not always buns and sensible shoes, librarians at various types of libraries have different styles (and dress codes).” A closer look at reel librarians reveals a wide range of stylish choices captured on cinema, as well, for both male and female reel librarian characters. Let’s take a closer look at stylish reel librarians, shall we?

A quick note:  Compiling this initial list was quite unscientific. I first jotted down a list of stylish reel librarians — from nothing more than my memory — and found the list to be quite extensive! I then narrowed the list down to 5 female and 5 male reel librarians to highlight on the blog.

This week, I’ll focus on stylish female reel librarians; next week is for the boys!


All the librarians in Desk Set (1957):


The reel librarian style in the classic comedy Desk Set deserves another mention — and a spot on this list! Here’s what I’ve written previously about the stylish ladies of Desk Set:

They are smart, sassy, and feminine, which their wardrobes reflect. Favoring timeless ’50s silhouettes of full skirts and cinched waistlines, they wear dresses as well as separates (cardigans, twinsets, sweaters). Although their clothing is quite simplistic in shape, the color choices are quite bold and striking. Bottom line, their collective style is both classic and comfortable. Perfect for the modern librarian!

Librarian style in Desk Set
Librarian style in Desk Set
Librarian style in Desk Set
Librarian style in Desk Set

Mary in Party Girl (1995):


Parker Posey as the title character in the 1995 independent film Party Girl is a reel librarian revelation, complete with striped tights and thick-soled ankle boots. As Mary, she starts out as an irresponsible, irreverent party girl clad in vintage threads and club gear. She has to sell most of her vintage clothing and starts working at a local public library to pay off the money her godmother paid to get her out of jail, eventually (spoiler alert!) realizing she is meant to be a librarian. (The signs were already there. After all, she did organize her friend’s jeans — and another friend’s record collection!)

The film serves almost as a backdrop for Mary’s glorious wardrobe and style choices, full of thrifted and vintage combinations. Mary is definitely not afraid of color or pattern-mixing! A thoroughly modern and fun-loving reel librarian with a wardrobe to match.

Her memorable outfits are also showcased on the film’s posters and DVD covers!

Collage of Mary's style in Party Girl
Collage of Mary’s style in Party Girl

Susan Harper in Twisted Nerve (1968):


In the 1968 thriller Twisted NerveHayley Mills plays Susan Harper, a lovely young librarian studying for a teaching degree. As I said in my analysis post about the film:

Susan is a classic Spirited Young Girl character type:  a young, physically attractive, intelligent, and modern girl who is working temporarily at the library. […] And along with Ali McGraw in Love Story (1970), she’s one of the best-dressed reel librarians ever! Behold the blonde-haired cuteness:

Susan's style in Twisted Nerve
Susan’s style in Twisted Nerve

Jenny in Love Story (1970):


In the classic weepy Love Story, Ali MacGraw stars as Jenny Cavalleri, who is working as a library assistant at Radcliffe when she meets Harvard law student and jock Oliver (Ryan O’Neal). She is a music major — fulfilling the Spirited Young Girl character type in this film — and her style is a mixture of classic and bohemian. We get to see a range of outfits and style choices, from casual tees to winter layers to her wedding dress!

Collage of Jenny's style in Love Story
Collage of Jenny’s style in Love Story

Roe in the Aurora Teagarden Mystery Movies (TV, 2015- ):


In this series of mystery TV movies, Candace Cameron Bure plays Aurora ‘Roe’ Teagarden, a young librarian with a skill for sleuthing. Roe’s fashion sense is subjected to many negative comments throughout the TV film, but I didn’t agree with this style criticism, as I also stated in my review post of the series premiere. Roe’s style of cardigans, coats, and layers looks cute, relatable, and modern to me.

Roe's blazer and braid in an Aurora Teagarden TV mystery movie
Roe’s blazer and braid
Collage of Roe's style in A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (2015)
Collage of Roe’s style in A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (2015)

These are not exhaustive lists, and my opinions expressed here on the stylishness of the librarians are based on personal and biased opinions.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you have more stylish reel librarians to add to the list? Please share and leave a comment!

Next week, check back for stylish male reel librarians!


Sources used:


  • A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (TV movie). Dir. Martin Wood. Perf. Candace Cameron Bure, Marilu Henner, Lexa Doig, Bruce Dawson. Hallmark, 2015.
  • Desk Set. Dir. Walter Lang. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gig Young, Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill. 20th Century Fox, 1957.
  • Love Story. Dir. Arthur Hiller. Perf. Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal, John Marley, Ray Milland. Paramount, 1970.
  • Party Girl. Dir. Daisy von Scherler Mayer. Perf. Parker Posey, Sasha von Scherler, Guillermo Diaz, Liev Schreiber. First Look, 1995.
  • Twisted Nerve. Dir. Roy Boulting. Perf. Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw. Charter Film Productions, 1968.

Librarian t-shirt collection

“I have secret powers… I’m a librarian!”

I was going through some of the archived posts here on this Reel Librarians blog, and I came across this early post about my “Marian the Librarian” coffee mug. And then two things clicked:

  1. My husband just gifted me a new library-themed t-shirt for my birthday
  2. I realized that I hadn’t yet highlighted my ever-growing collection of librarian t-shirts

Oversight corrected. You’re welcome. 😉

Librarian-themed t-shirts from my personal collection
Librarian-themed t-shirts from my personal collection

From top to bottom, left to right:


I became a librarian for the money — the power and fame were just a bonus.

(This t-shirt was a gift from my mom, who is also a librarian. 😉 )

Librarian Appreciation:  LONG OVERDUE

(I picked this neon green tee up as a giveaway at an American Library Association (ALA) Conference.)

The “Worship a Librarian” t-shirt is AWESOME. Behold its manifesto:

Ok, sure. We’ve all got our little preconceived notions about who Librarians are and what they do. Many people think of Librarians as diminutive civil servants, scuttling about “Sssh-ing” people and stamping things.

Well, think again buster. Librarians have degrees. They go to graduate school for information science and become masters of data systems and Human-Computer interaction. Librarians can catalog anything from an onion to a dog’s ear.

They could catalog you. Librarians wield unfathomable power. With a flip of the wrist they can hide your dissertation behind piles of old Field & Stream magazines. They can find data for your term paper that you never knew existed. They may even point you toward new and appropriate subject headings.

People become Librarians because they know too much. Their knowledge extends beyond mere categories. They cannot be confined to disciplines. Librarians are all-knowing and all-seeing.

They bring order to chaos.

They bring wisdom and culture to the masses. They preserve every aspect of human knowledge. Librarians rule.

And they will kick the crap out of anyone who says otherwise.


I have secret powers… I’m a librarian!

(I’ve had this baseball t-shirt for years!)

23 Mar 1984
04 Apr 1984
18 Jun 1984
24 Jul 1984
18 Aug 1984
28 Sep 1984

(This library-stamped t-shirt from Out of Print Clothing was a recent birthday gift from my husband!)

Li•brar•i•an  n  1 : a specialist in the management of a library
2 : an information professional
3 : the person who finds sh!t

(So true! I love this shirt, but I don’t wear it to work. 😉 )

NEVER FORGET.

(Hah! This was also a recent gift from my husband, who picked up this Unshelved t-shirt at a writer’s conference. Looooooove it.)

There are so many cute and clever librarian-themed t-shirts out there, and I love adding to my personal collection!

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