‘Quest for the’ Liberated Librarian

“Everybody knows that. They’re librarians. What makes you think you could be THE librarian?”

After my review of the second season premiere of ‘The Librarians’ TV series, I got to thinking that it was perfect timing to revisit the original TV movie, 2004’s The Librarian:  Quest for the Spear.

In several ways, Noah Wyle’s by-now-iconic reel librarian characterization of Flynn Carsen is the classic Liberated Librarian character type, which I will explore here in this post. As I summed up here in my “The Liberated Librarian (guys, it’s your turn)” post from 2012:

The male Liberated Librarians may begin as failures, but they grow in character throughout the film, just like their female counterparts; their latent skills and talents find a way to rise to the forefront — but only through the instigation of an outside force, action, or other person.

The male Liberated Librarian, as I mentioned, is usually young. Their physical appearance may or may not improve (compare this with their female [Liberated Librarian] counterparts, whose makeovers are practically a requirement!), but their wardrobes tend to get better. Personality-wise, they become more masculine and assertive. For major male librarian roles, the most common character type is the Liberated Librarian, with their liberation comprising the main plot.

There are many aspects from that general description of the Liberated Librarian that ring true for Flynn Carsen, aka “THE Librarian”:

  • Young in age (and a bit immature in temperament, as well)
  • Initially viewed as a “failure” in the eyes of his mother — and potential dates!
  • An outside force (in this case, the library itself!) is the catalyst for his liberation
  • He becomes more masculine and assertive throughout the TV movie
  • His “liberation” is the main plot arc of the movie

However, unlike other Liberated Librarians — who usually need to be “liberated” from their jobs as librarians — Flynn becomes “liberated” by becoming a librarian. Let’s see how!

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
The perpetual student

The TV movie starts off with Noah Wyle in an Egyptian tomb, kitted out in an ill-fitting trench, spouting off factoids about Egyptian pyramids and trigonometry. He’s generally being an annoying, socially awkward know-it-all, as illustrated in an outburst by a frustrated classmate:

Stop frickin’ posing and join the rest of the students!

The first 15 minutes of this TV movie not only set up the Liberated Librarian character type and plot arc but also contain some of the most memorable dialogue about lifelong learning and libraries. Here’s a closer look at the three main scenes that comprise the first quarter-hour:


Opening scene:


In this brief scene, Flynn’s professor tells him he has completed his work and won’t be continuing in the program.

Flynn:  But I’m your best student.

Professor: Voila, that’s the problem. You are my best student. You’re everyone’s best student. You’ve never been anything but the best student… How many degrees do you have in total, Flynn? I checked your transcript:  you have 22!

Flynn:  School is what I know, it’s what I’m good at. It’s where I feel most like myself.

Professor:  You’re a professional student, Flynn. You’re avoiding life. This is a serious problem that I will no longer enable… Have you ever been out of the city? When was the last time you went dancing or to a ball game? You need to find a job, Flynn, to get some real life experiences.

Flynn:  All I want to do is learn.

Professor:   We never stop learning, Flynn. Never. It’s only where we learn that changes. And it’s about you start doing it in the big, bad, real world. Sink or swim, Flynn. Look ahead, that way. Good luck. Off you go.


Home scene:


Flynn goes home to seek comfort — from his books, naturally.

These aren’t just books. These books are slices of the ultimate truth. The greatest thinkers of all time. And they speak to me. Like nothing else.

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
Books are my friends

Flynn goes downstairs to find that his mom has set him with a “nice girl,” Deborah, wearing a cardigan and pearl earrings. Small talk quickly touches a nerve…

Deborah:  What do you do?

Flynn:  Actually, I’m a student.

Deborah:  You’ve been a college student your entire… ?

Flynn:  I like to learn. Is that a crime? I mean, so what, I’ve spent most, if not all, of my adult life in school. Maybe I have missed out on a few extracurricular activities. That doesn’t make me a freak, does it?

Deborah:  Of course not. I understand.

Flynn:  You do?

Deborah:  Sure. You like to learn. [Flynn:  Yes!] And you’re in your 30’s and you’re still in school. [Flynn:  Exactly!] And you live with your mother and you’re ok with that.

Flynn:  Yes! No. No. Wait. I have to change my life.

Deborah:  I would.

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
Sloppy

Deborah then wishes Flynn good luck as she rushes off. And just to make the point VERY CLEAR, his mother then turns to him to say:

The things that make life worth living… they can’t be thought here [pointing to his brain]. They must be felt here [pointing to his heart]. Maybe you don’t know so much.


Librarian interview scene:


Flynn then receives a mysterious invitation to interview at the Metropolitan Public Library.

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
Magical invitation from the Metropolitan Public Library

As he walks to the library, he joins a very long line of candidates going up several flights of stairs. (This entire scene reminds one of the nanny interview scene in Mary Poppins!)

His interview is with Charlene, played by the stone-faced and implacable (and awesome) Jane Curtin, who is as imposing as the grand ballroom setting.

Charlene:  What makes you think you could be THE librarian?

Flynn:  Well, I’ve read a lot of books.

Charlene:  Don’t try to be funny. I don’t do funny… What makes you think you could be THE librarian?

Flynn:  I know the Dewey Decimal system, Library of Congress, research paper orthodoxy, web searching. I can set up an RSS feed.

Charlene:  Everybody knows that. They’re librarians. What makes you think you could be THE librarian?

Flynn:  I know… other stuff.

Charlene:  Stop wasting my time. Tell me something you know that nobody else who has walked in here can tell me.

Flynn then taps into his inner Sherlock Holmes, rattling off several facts about her, including the fact that she has three cats (a white Himalayan, a tortoiseshell, and an orange-striped tabby). Next, the disembodied voice of Judson (Bob Newhart) asks what is more important than knowledge — and Flynn totally steals his answer from his mom (“The things that make life worth living can’t be thought here. They must be felt here”).

Charlene then officially sets up the Liberated Librarian story arc of the movie:

There will be a 6-month trial period. If you don’t screw up, then you will officially be The Librarian.

Judson then makes a physical appearance and utters what is arguably the quintessential line of the entire “The Librarians” series:

You are about to begin a wondrous adventure from which you will never be the same. Welcome to the library.

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
First look at the Metropolitan Public Library’s archives

The rest of the TV movie and plot focuses on Flynn’s adventures to return a stolen artifact. Oh, and saving the fate of the world. (Obviously.) He teams up with Nicole Noone (Sonya Walger), the librarian’s bodyguard.

One of my favorite aspects of the entire “Librarian” series is how it excels at clever, seemingly throwaway moments, like when Nicole and Flynn have to waltz through a booby trap — and Nicole ends up dipping Flynn at the end of the waltz. 😉

The Librarian:  Quest for the Spear boasts multiple male reel librarian characters (as played by Noah Wyle, Kyle McLachlan, and Bob Newhart), a rarity in film. It is the character of Flynn Carsen, however, who best exemplifies the Liberated Librarian character type.

*SPOILER ALERTS*


Becoming ‘The Librarian’:


In the final action scene, Flynn has to match wits — and spears — with the last librarian, Edward Wilde (Kyle McLachlan). He also battles his former professor from the movie’s first scene, a very clever way of “closing the loop.”

Here’s a side-by-side, before-and-after visual comparison of Flynn in the opening and final action scenes of the movie.

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
Before-and-after collage of Flynn

By the end of the TV movie — and after the librarian has saved the world, as you do — the final scene showcases just how far Flynn has come. (Even Excalibur, the “sword in the stone” thinks so.)

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
The reel librarian and Excalibur

Flynn is not only dressing better, it is also obvious that he has more confidence, both inside and out. He even stands up to his mother! 😉

Screenshot from The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
Jeez, Mom, you’re embarrassing me

Margie Carsen [speaking to a group of ladies]:  Flynn is a librarian now. But he’s capable of so much more. Just needs the right woman to push him.

Flynn:  Mom, you don’t understand. Being a librarian is actually a pretty cool job.

As he speeds off on his next adventure, Flynn is now truly a Liberated Librarian; in other words, THE Librarian.


If you can’t get enough of Flynn Carsen and “The Librarian” TV movies and TV series spin-off, here are more of my posts for all-things-The-Librarian:


Next week, I’ll delve into yet another Liberated Librarian portrayal… stay tuned!


Sources used:


‘Cheers for’ library education

“It just occurred to me that with that amazing memory of yours, you might be interested in the librarian’s course.”

The 1941 film Cheers for Miss Bishop follows the story of Miss Bishop, a college English teacher, as she reflects on her life living and teaching in one small town.

DVD back cover for Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)
DVD back cover for Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)

The write-up on the back of the case reveals most of the plot:

Tomboy Ella Bishop has blossomed into a smart, sophisticated woman… From a rocky start as a young school teacher to the unexpected adoption of an abandoned child, and finally as the venerated old maid who has inspired scores of her students to achieve greatness, Miss Bishop deserves three cheers!

The film plays like it aspires to be a female version of the 1939 classic Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Martha Scott plays the title role, from a young woman through middle age to a “venerated old maid.” We first meet Miss Bishop — yes, an educated woman who never marries — when she is an old woman, as seen below. She says to her old friend, Sam (William Gargan) that “looking backward [is a] great waste of time.” Perhaps not the most encouraging way to begin a biopic… 😉

Screenshot from Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)
This film did not get nominated for Best Makeup

As a young woman eagerly starting college at the new Midwestern University — graduating as valedictorian in the early 1880s — Ella Bishop’s character is quickly established through this exchange of two admirers:

There’s not another girl in the class that can touch her.

There’s not another girl in the whole world that can touch her.

Ella herself seems quite confident that education will NOT be her entire life, with these early statements:

You don’t think I’m going to spend all my life teaching, do you?”

And don’t worry, I won’t be an old maid. I’ll know when the right man comes along. But now… there’s so much to do.

The DVD cover tries to stir up more drama than is evident in the film with the tagline, “The woman they whispered about…” and the odd central photo of Ella Bishop embracing an older man, as seen below. But it is obvious that when compared to her silly, boy-crazy cousin Amy, Miss Bishop is portrayed in the film as a good girl.

DVD front cover for Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)
DVD front cover for Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)

After graduating, the college president Corcoran (Edmund Gwenn) offers Miss Bishop a teaching position at Midwestern to teach Freshman English; her first year of teaching is 1884. Her first year does get off to a shaky start, as when her first student enters the classroom and mistakes her for a fellow student, asking if the teacher has come yet! Also in that first class, she asks her pupils to write a brief essay about their life’s ambitions.

One student, Minna Fields (the cinematic debut of Rosemary DeCamp), nervously recites her speech, “Except to get learning, I ain’t got no special life’s ambition, yet.” In the very next scene, 15 minutes into the film, Miss Bishop advises Minna to be a librarian! Coming right after Minna’s statement that she “ain’t got no special life’s ambition,” this suggestion doesn’t come across as very encouraging!

Screenshot from Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)
Have you ever thought about becoming a librarian?

Miss Bishop: It just occurred to me that with that amazing memory of yours, you might be interested in the librarian’s course. It would be an interesting job, wouldn’t it, Minna?

Minna:  Oh yes, Miss Bishop. But… I have got a life’s ambition now. It’s to be just like you.

So that’s one potential reel librarian down.

Later, Miss Bishop defends Minna in a meeting whether or not to expel her because of a plagiarism charge — but it was a misunderstanding due to Minna’s “amazing memory” mentioned earlier. (By the way, we later find out that the student, Minna, became a “world-famous historian” instead!)

In a scene almost 40 minutes in, Miss Bishop has endured heartbreak in her personal life — her fiance jilted her for her boy-crazy cousin Amy — so she writes a letter to President Corcoran that she’s leaving for New York to become a librarian. However, he convinces her not to go!

Screenshot from Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)
Librarian pep talk? I don’t think so.

President Corcoran:  I’ve just received your letter.

Miss Bishop:  I thought it easier to write. You see, Mother and I are going to New York, President Corcoran. It’s an assistant librarian’s position.

President Corcoran:  Oh I see. Of course, It is a hard job, teaching. It never pays much, and lots of the time it’s a headache, wondering if it’s worthwhile…. You’ve got it, Ella, that magic touch that makes young minds open up and flourish. Of course, Midwestern must accept your resignation. But are you sure your New York public library needs you as much as [we do] here in Midwestern?

So there’s another potential reel librarian down the drain!

It is interesting that the film mentions a college librarian course, especially set in the year 1884. This minor plot point — promoting a librarian course for women at a midwestern college in the early 1880s — is stretching history a little. Because it wasn’t until 1887 that Melvil Dewey, often referred to in the U.S. as the “Father of Modern Librarianship,” founded the world’s first library school at Columbia College, now Columbia University in New York (after first proposing the idea in 1883). Dewey also insisted on admitting women as students — against the college’s Regents’ wishes — resulting in 17 female students enrolled in the program that first year. He also helped found the American Library Association, the oldest international library association, in 1876. You can read more about the history of library science education in the U.S. in this article, “History of American Library Science: Its Origins and Early Development,” by John V. Richardson, Jr.

So although this film highlights librarianship and library education — a rarity in cinema! — Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) ends up in the Class V category, as there are no actual reel librarians. I’m a little bit relieved, as Miss Bishop — who DOES become an “old maid” — would definitely have been a stereotypical portrayal.

And what did we learn about desired qualifications or motivations for pursuing a “librarian’s course” or librarian position? Based on this film, you need to either (a) have a good memory, or (b) be unlucky in love.

I’m one for two. 😉


Sources used:


An unusual collection

Creating my own reel librarian collection in graduate school

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog — how y’all doing? —  you know that I wrote an undergraduate thesis all about librarian portrayals in film. Heck, I even wrote about the starting list of films used for that thesis a couple of weeks ago. So this subject comes up a lot, is what I’m saying. 🙂

What I haven’t talked about yet is that I even carried that love of reel librarians into graduate school, as you’ll see below. My first semester, I took a core course called “Basic Information Organization.”

One of the major projects in that course that we had to complete was creating our own library collection/database and then cataloging at least 10 items in that collection (we used the Inmagic database program). We also had to create our own system of cataloging and provide how-to instructions — going through this process made me appreciate catalogers even more! — as well as write a paper all about the collection with sections explaining who our users were, including sample user problems and questions, etc. Basically, through this project, we had to think about how we personally organize things, and then think through how others would be able to understand and use that system of organization.

We even had to do some usability testing, meaning that a real person had to search our individual databases using those sample questions and try to find the answers/items. My guinea pig? My husband, of course! I had TOTALLY forgotten about that, as had he, until I reread my paper. 🙂

So, details. I chose to place my fictional collection, “The Collection of Librarian Portrayals on Film” (continuing my streak of awkward titles) in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Why there? I bet y’all are thinking. Rereading this, I wondered that, too, but then I remembered that Berkeley is one of the few places that includes programs for both film studies and library/information science. And Bancroft Library is well-known for its special collections. Lucky Bancroft Library, eh?

Here was my project description:

Project collection description
Project collection description

Hee hee, videocassettes! But I did recognize later on in the paper that “Technology will also affect format, as videos will probably be replaced by other forms of media, such as DVDs or another future product. This collection will need to focus on archiving and maintaining the quality of its films.” Oh, past tense me, you were such a hoot! 😉

And here’s my description of user needs for this fictional library collection:

User needs for my film collection project
User needs for my film collection project

I even came up with my own call numbers, or classification code:

Classification code for Party Girl
Classification code for Party Girl

By the way, that is so NOT the kind of call number I would come up with today. Why did I think back then that the MPAA rating was so important?

And finally, here’s a sample record in my database, for the 1995 film Party Girl:

Database record for Party Girl
Database record for Party Girl

By the way, I did make a good grade on that project (I can hear my mom now, “Of course!”), and it helped me prepare for an upcoming cataloging course. It also deepened my eternal appreciation for catalogers. But I do remember my professor asking me questions about my inspiration for this collection — because she, too, had been perplexed at first about who would be the users! But by the end of this project (we had to do 4 drafts!), she was intrigued by the idea, too. 🙂

So another little step in the journey to this blog. Thank you, graduate school, for those opportunities to continue exploring my love of reel librarians. ♥

Information Provider librarians

Exploring the Information Provider character type

Now it’s time to shine the spotlight on our intrepid Information Providers (for previous entries in this series of librarian character types, click here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). As I wrote about in my previous post in this series, I used to combine this category with the Comic Relief librarians, entitled “The Librarian Who Provides Information or Humor.” Yep, telling the truth when I was said I was bad with titles.

Their role seems pretty self-explanatory:  supporting or minor characters who provide information — or misinformation — to a character.

Take the film All the President’s Men (1976), which includes a trio of Information Providers. One librarian, a female, is heard only over the phone; with her frightened manner of supplying the wrong information, she helps heighten the tension of the Watergate scandal at the center of the film. Contrast her role’s purpose with the two other Information Providers in the film:  two male librarians, one Caucasian and one African-American, both of whom work in the Library of Congress. The white male is, shall we say, reluctant to help the two reporters, but the African-American librarian’s helpful research spurs the two reporters on their successful trail to uncovering the Watergate story. The two male librarians are both more helpful than the untruthful female librarian in the film.

The Information Provider character type may also simply provide information to the audience, such as helping to establish:

For example, the library scene in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn highlights the diligence and intelligence of little Francie (Peggy Ann Garner), and in Bed of RosesLewis Farrell’s (Christian Slater) friendship with the children’s librarian at the local public library reveals his character’s inner sensitivity.

In Philadelphia, Tracey Walter plays a librarian who gives main character, Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks), a book about HIV discrimination and proceeds to ask if he wants a private room. After Andrew’s refusal, Walter is almost rude in his insistence, demonstrating his (and society’s) discrimination. This brief role helps turn the audience’s sympathy even more toward Andrew, and the movie relies on this sympathy to move the plot forward.

Physically, Information Providers are the most diverse of all the character types, spanning ages, clothing styles, gender and ethnicities.

The Information Providers are also the most identified with occupational tasks, such as shelving, filing, stamping, pushing carts, checking out books, etc. The tasks and props usually included in a reel library setting are most associated in real life with library assistants or technicians. See my post on library education and job duties.

There are so many examples of Information Providers that although they make up the majority of reel librarian roles, they are the least important roles overall of librarians in film, at least according to screen time. Makes sense, then, that they are almost exclusively ensconced in the Class III or Class IV film categories.

For my money, the most informative Information Provider ever onscreen — so far — would have to be Vox from the 2002 remake of The Time Machine. In his time travels, a disillusioned inventor (Guy Pearce) encounters Vox (Orland Jones), a holographic librarian who supplies him with information about time travel and the history and evolution of the planet and its population. Vox is truly informative, but he also embodies the library itself. Hundreds of thousands of years later, Vox IS the library, literally all that remains of the “compendium of all human knowledge.”

Next up in our series, we’ll be peeking in on the Naughty Librarians. Stay tuned! 😉

A look at ‘The Hollywood Librarian’

Reviewing “The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film” documentary

For years, I’d been excited about Ann Seidl’s documentary, The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film (2007) — another librarian who loves movies and is passionate about our profession and how we are portrayed? Count me in!

The Hollywood Librarian site heading
The Hollywood Librarian site heading

I couldn’t make it to the ALA 2007 Annual Conference where the documentary premiered. And when film screening opportunities rolled out the following year, I was disappointed that my library wasn’t able to participate (to screen the film for the public, you had to charge for tickets, which wasn’t allowed for our university library). Then I went overseas for three years, basically putting my film research on hold. So this year, FINALLY, I was able to see this documentary on dvd.

The positives? There are a lot of ’em. It is well done, a documentary both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Seidl wrote, directed, and narrated the film — it took more than 10 years to realize this goal! — combining film clips of reel librarians and libraries with interviews of real librarians and library supporters and authors, including Ray Bradbury (who wrote Fahrenheit 451, a book about book burning, in a library). Much of what the librarians have to say is meaningful and SHOULD be heard by a larger audience. There are unsung heroes amongst the librarians, along with “superstar” librarians like Nancy Pearl, the author behind the Book Lust series and the (infamous) “shushing librarian” action figure. You can feel Seidl’s passion.

The negatives? There are a lot of ’em, too. Even though the documentary ends on a positive quote from Nancy Pearl, “People absolutely adore being librarians. And who wouldn’t? I mean, it’s a perfect job,” the tone throughout is not exactly uplifting. But it’s hard to criticize this documentary because it is so well-meaning, and everything in it is of value. But it feels like a documentary splicing together 6 or 7 different documentaries in an hour and a half. The segments highlighting library issues include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • history of women in librarianship;
  • Andrew Carnegie and his legacy of public libraries;
  • benefits of children’s library services;
  • benefits of prison libraries;
  • censorship and intellectual freedom;
  • lack of public funding and the fight to keep public libraries open in Salinas, hometown of author John Steinbeck; and
  • the destruction of libraries and priceless archives during wartime, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

In short — and that previous list is long! — the film tries too hard to fit everything in. Watching it, I felt like I was watching a lot of tangents but not a cohesive whole. And that was frustrating because like I said, everything in it was good, and the points are valuable. But this is, unfortunately, an example where the sum is lesser than its parts.

Was this a conscious choice? Did the project grow too big? Was Seidl (subconsciously?) making a point about how marginalizing librarians onscreen then marginalizes librarians in real life? Seidl commented on her goals for the project:

We must insist on our right to define ourselves not only as more than a stereotype, but as a cultural imperative. We must have our positive self-image with the public.

And on The Hollywood Librarian website, she reveals more about her motivations:

The handful of films that exists on this topic [librarianship] neither examine the image and stereotype of librarians, nor portray the real work that librarians do. I want to make a film that does both.

However, the film clips that are included — the raison d’être I had assumed based on the title — seem more like a sideline, a convenient yet throwaway method to transition between chapters. Toward the beginning, Seidl seems to sum up the reel librarian with “The fussy, bad-tempered librarian is a stock stereotype in film and television. Aside from a few positive roles, being a librarian — according to the movies — is usually anything but a wonderful life,” and a quick montage of clips, including Citizen Kane (1941), Sophie’s Choice (1982), The Music Man (1962), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), and of course, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). And about an hour in, she highlights the “sexy librarian” stereotype with a few clips from The Music Man (1962), The Station Agent (2003), and No Man of Her Own (1932), among others.

This review post has taken me awhile to write — I’ve kept coming back to it, just as I’ve kept coming back to my reactions to the documentary. It is an intriguing idea, literally juxtaposing reel and real librarians and issues affecting our profession. Bottom line, I do believe media portrayals, fictional or not, of my chosen profession matter. And this documentary, in the end, also matters. It is, as they say, a noble effort. But I fear that the title will mislead, and frustrate, viewers, and leave them with more questions than answers.

But maybe that’s a good thing.

Have you seen this documentary? What are your thoughts?

The Hollywood Librarian Trailer” video uploaded by TheHollywoodLibrarian is licensed under a Standard YouTube license

Below is a list of the film clips and interviews included in The Hollywood Librarian, arranged in alphabetical order. Please note that not all of the film clips feature reel librarians.


Film clips*


  • Battlefield Earth (2000)
  • Big Bully (1996)
  • Billy Elliot (2000) *
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) *
  • Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)
  • The Cider House Rules (1999) *
  • Citizen Kane (1941) *
  • City of Angels (1998)
  • Cleopatra (1963)
  • Dangerous Minds (1995)
  • David Copperfield (1999?) *
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004) *
  • Desk Set (1957)
  • East of Eden (1955)
  • Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
  • Foul Play (1978) *
  • Gone with the Wind (1939) *
  • Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
  • I Love Trouble (1994) *
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (TV, 2004)
  • Love Story (1970)
  • Matilda (1996)
  • The Music Man (1962)
  • The New Avengers (TV, 1976) *
  • No Man of Her Own (1932)
  • Party Girl (1995)
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940) *
  • Plaza Suite (1971)
  • Sophie’s Choice (1982) *
  • Soylent Green (1973)
  • Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) *
  • The Station Agent (2003)
  • Storm Center (1956)
  • Threesome (1994)
  • The Time Machine (2002)
  • Tomcats (2001) *
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1942)
  • The Truman Show (1998) *
  • The Twilight Zone (TV, 1962)
  • Wonder Man (1945) *
  • Zardoz (1974)

* Uncredited film clips


Librarian interviews**


  • Chris Ewing (web support librarian, University of Southern California)
  • Martin Garnar (librarian and privacy expert)
  • Ruth Gilbert (retired medical librarian, Denver, CO)
  • Susan Hildreth (State Librarian of California)
  • Molly Kliss (library science graduate student, Madison, WI)
  • Jamie LaRue (library director, Douglas County, CO)
  • Rhea Lawson, PhD (library director, Houston Public Library, TX)
  • Pat Lawton, PhD (professor of library science)
  • Marilyn Martin (library media specialist, Denver Public Schools)
  • Maria Mena (children’s librarian)
  • Jan Neal (head librarian, Salinas Public Library)
  • Nancy Paradise (librarian, Long Beach, CA)
  • Christine Pawley, PhD (library professor, Univ. of Iowa)
  • Nancy Pearl (librarian and author, Seattle, WA)
  • Peg Hepburn Perry (librarian 50+ yrs, 1921-2006)

Katharine Hepburn’s sister! Even MORE reasons to love Desk Set (1957). This could be a documentary all by itself. Dear Universe, this needs to happen. Thanks for listening. ♥ Jennifer

  • Eugenie Prime (head librarian, Hewlett Packard)
  • Maria Roddy (branch manager, Cesar Chavez Branch – Salinas public libraries)
  • Eleanore Schmidt (library director, Long Beach Public Library, CA)
  • Susan Turrell (library director, Tunkhannock Public Library)

** Job titles and workplaces as listed/stated in documentary


Sources used:


  • The Hollywood Librarian. Dir. Ann Seidl. Overdue Productions, 2007.
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