The Quotable Librarian

It’s time for another “Quotable Librarian” post! This time, in honor of the Academy Awards this past weekend, it’s an Oscars special. These quotes are from films with reel librarian roles that have been nominated for Oscars.

Oscars statuettes

Photo from Flickr – Prayitno – click image for source

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Sam Jaffe was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Doc Erwin Riedenschneider, an ex-con who was a prison librarian. How did he become a prison librarian?

I cause no trouble. The prison authorities appreciate that. They made me assistant librarian.
~ Doc Erwin Riedenschneider in The Asphalt Jungle

Love Story (1970)

Ali MacGraw was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Jennifer Cavalleri.

A Harvard law student and jock (O’Neal) falls in love with a Radcliffe music major (MacGraw). They first meet at the Radcliffe library, where MacGraw works as a library assistant.

This is their “meet cute” moment:

You have your own library, preppy.
~ Jennifer Cavalleri in Love Story

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

Richard Burton was nominated for Best Actor for his role as Alec Leamas in the film adaptation of John le Carré’s novel. The story focuses on spy Alec Leamus (Richard Burton), who pretends to quit the Secret Service and defect to the Communists. As part of his cover as a failed spy, he starts work as a librarian at the psychical research library.

From the book:

Finally he took the job in the library. The Labour Exchange had put him on to it each Thursday morning as he drew his unemployment benefit, and he’d always turned it down.

“It’s not really your cup of tea,” Mr. Pitt said, “but the pay’s fair and the work’s easy for an educated man.”

And could this following quote about spies also apply to librarians (reel or real)?:

What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They’re not! They’re just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: drunkards, queers, hen-pecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong?
~ Alec Leamas in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

For more Oscars fun on the Reel Librarians site, see here for a post on Oscar-nominated reel librarians and here for a post on Best Picture nominees featuring reel librarians.

The Quotable Librarian

bss-613.QuotationMarksIt’s time for another “Quotable Librarian” round-up! This time, the quotes are generalizations about theoretical, or would-be, librarians.

The emphases in the quotations below are mine. (Also, the films in question may not actually include a reel librarian, just a description of a librarian.)

Juno (2007)

Juno MacGuff: The funny thing is that Steve Rendazo secretly wants me. Jocks like him always want freaky girls. Girls with horn-rimmed glasses and vegan footwear and Goth makeup. Girls who play the cello and wear Converse All-Stars and want to be children’s librarians when they grow up. Oh yeah, jocks eat that shit up.

Beautiful Girls (1996)

Gina: At first, after the breakup, you’ll have these visions. Of you alone, 57,58, walking around, wearing a nightgown, your hair in a bun, maybe you’re a librarian, heating up a can of soup for one, and worrying about the cobwebs that are growing in your womb.

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for my analysis post about this film]

Motherhood (2009)

Woman in Bakery Line: You have to admit it’s your own fault. If you have named her Sophie or Ella you wouldn’t be having this problem. But you gave her an Edna name.

Eliza: A what?

Woman in Bakery Line: You know, an Edna name? Like Mabel or Agnes or Velma…

Bakery Clerk: Yeah, like lesbian librarian names.

[click here for a post about reel librarian character names]

[click here for a post about anonymous librarian characters]

The Ugly Truth (2009)

Mike Chadway: [to Abby, on how to attract a guy] You have to be two people. The saint and the sinner. The librarian and the stripper.

The Quotable Librarian

It’s time for another “Quotable Librarian” round-up! This time, the theme focuses on descriptions of librarians, from either reel librarian characters themselves or from others.

Reel Librarians Collage

Click collage for image sources

Enough Said (2013)

Will:  Eva was telling me that there are no men at this party that she’s attracted to.

Albert [who works at a television archives library]:  That’s OK, there’s no one here I’m attracted to either.


[click here for more about this film]

[click here for my analysis post about this film]

Major League (1989)

Jake Taylor: [at the library, discussing Jake’s one-night stand with a flight attendant] I had no choice. She bet me fifty dollars that she had a better body than you and I had to defend your honor.

Lynn Wells [a special collections librarian]: Oh, what a bunch of bullshit! I have a much better body than she does!

[everyone in the library turns to look]

Jake Taylor: She’s right.


[click here for more about this film]

[click here for a round-up of librarians in sports movies]

The Music Man (1962)

Marian Paroo [a public librarian]: Do you think that I’d allow a common masher – ? Now, really, mama. I have my standards where men are concerned and I have no intention…

Mrs. Paroo: I know all about your standards and if you don’t mind my sayin’ so there’s not a man alive who could hope to measure up to that blend of Paul Bunyan, Saint Pat, and Noah Webster you’ve concocted for yourself out of your Irish imagination, your Iowa stubbornness, and your li’berry full of books!


[click here for more about the film]

[click here for a “Marian or Marion?” post]

[click here for a post about Shirley Jones’s memoir]

Party Girl (1995)

Mary: You don’t think I’m smart enough to work in your fucking library?


[click here for more about this film]

[click here for more of my “Hall of Fame” of personal reel librarian faves]

Pump Up the Volume (1990)

Nora [student worker at the school library]: I’m the “Eat me, beat me” lady.


[click here for more about the film]

[click here for more about the “Spirited Young Girl” character type]

The Station Agent (2003)

Joe Oramas: It’s the librarian fantasy, man. Glasses off, hair down, books flying.

Finbar McBride: She doesn’t wear glasses [referring to librarian character Emily, played by Michelle Williams]

Olivia Harris: Well, buy her some, it’s worth it.


[click here for more about the film]

VAmL (2009)

Gina: Now that is one fucking hot librarian.

Lynn: This is a library. Shh.

Gina: What? I’m just saying?

Lynn: I know. But you are supposed to be quiet in a library.

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)

Betty Lou Perkins [a children’s librarian at a local public library]: Why is it so hard to believe, that I might be exciting to other men? People have affairs. People have lovers. Why not me, Alex?


[click here for more about this film]

[click here for more about librarians as title characters]

You’re a Big Boy Now (1966)

Barbara Darling: You’re perfect.

Bernard Chanticleer [works at the New York Public Library and son of a rare books librarian]: Me?

Barbara Darling: Absolutely hunky dory perfect. You’re just what I need in my life.


[click here for more about the film]

The Quotable Librarian

Yikes, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a “Quotable Librarian” post. For more posts featuring reel librarian quotes, click here, here, here, and here.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

Quotable Librarian
Click collage for image sources

Big Bully (1996)

David (Rick Moranis):  I’ve always wanted to tell you what a big impact this library had on my life. It was the first place that really taught me the importance of reading, of books. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that.

Mrs. Rumpert, the school librarian (Norma MacMillan):  Green Eggs … and Ham.

David:  That’s right! That was my favorite book. How did you remember that?

Mrs. Rumpert:  It’s 8,862 days overdue.

David:  You’re serious.

Mrs. Rumpert:  It’s what I live for, dear.

[click here for more about this film]

Desk Set (1957)

Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn):  They can’t build a machine to do our job. There are too many cross-references in this place. I’d match my memory against any machines, any day.

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for a side-by-side comparison of the film version and the original play]

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart):  Where’s Mary? 

Clarence (Henry Travers):  You’re not going to like it, George. She’s an old maid. She never married. She’s just about to close up the library!

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for my “It’s a Wonderful … Stereotype?” post]

[click here for an exploration of the “Spinster Librarian” character role]

Major League (1989)

Lynn Wells (Rene Russo):  I stopped being an athelete three years ago. Books are my life now. Don’t you dare laugh. In two years, I’ve put together one of the best special collection departments in the country.

[click here for more about this film]

Party Girl (1995)

Judy Lindendorf (Sasha von Scherler):  Re-code it!

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for more of my “Hall of Fame” of personal reel librarian faves]

The Quotable Librarian

This edition of “The Quotable Librarian” is dedicated to… The Librarian. The TV trilogy, that is. 🙂 In the mid-to-late 2000s, Noah Wyle starred as Flynn Carsen, aka “The Librarian” in a trilogy of fun TV movies. Sure, the movies owe more than a bit to Indiana Jones, but with a male librarian as an action hero lead (rare indeed!), I wholeheartedly enjoy and support this reel librarian’s adventures.

The Librarian

Click image for individual item details

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

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.

Charlene: 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 are The Librarian?

Nicole: [slapping him] Don’t you ever leave my sight again, do you understand?
Flynn: What is this, Slap the Librarian Day?

Nicole: Maybe you made a mistake.
Flynn: I don’t get facts wrong! It’s everything else I screw up.

Flynn: [about to go on his epic quest to save the world] The fate of the world is in my hands? That’s so… sad.

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines (TV, 2006)

[Jomo hands Flynn a chocolate bar at the airport]
Flynn: For the Hippos?
Jomo: For the Hippos!

The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (TV, 2008)

Flynn: I think it only fair to warn you that I am a librarian.

Katie: Maybe some women are ok with the wild and unpredictable lifestyle of dating a librarian, but I’m not.

Flynn: Check. Save the world no matter what.
Charlene: As long as you don’t go over budget.

Flynn: Charlene, how big is the Library?
Charlene: As big as we need it to be.