A tale of two trailers | Library scenes in two upcoming movies

I’m always adding titles, both for older and newer movies, to my Master List of reel librarian movies. Friends and family members also often send me titles of movies or trailer they see with library or librarian scenes in them. Sometimes I’m excited about seeing a new reel librarian movie… other times, I am not excited.

The Public movie trailer

First up, an upcoming movie release that I am excited about, The Public. I first came across this movie a couple of months ago, when more than one friend tagged me in Facebook when sharing the trailer. The film is set in a public library (it was filmed in and around the Cincinnati Public Library) and focuses on the very real and interconnected issues of social services for homeless persona and public libraries. Which members of the public does a public library truly serve? The film stars some very big names, including Estevez as well as Christian Slater, Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union, and Jeffrey Wright, among others.

The Public – Official Trailer (2018) HD,” uploaded by MovieClips & Mashups, Standard YouTube License


The film premiered in January at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, but no official release date has been announced (yet).

The film has, understandably, attracted lots of attention amongst librarians, including a recent interview with Estevez in American Libraries, the magazine and website published by the American Library Association, as well as essays by librarians sharing personal perspectives about services and programs to help homeless members of the community. The trailer looks GOOD, y’all, tackling real-life social issues and featuring several substantial and diverse reel librarian roles. You can keep up with news about the film on its official Twitter feed.

Below are two major quotes from the trailer that have already stood out for me. One of them had me guffawing out loud in scorn; the other had me tearing up. I don’t think it will be hard to figure out which is which. 😉

“It must be really nice to have a job where you get to sit around and read all day.”

“The public library is the last bastion of true democracy that we have in this country.”

The Public seems intent on smashing stereotypes for homeless persons as well as stereotypes for librarians. It’s also an example of how movies can help focus attention on very real and very relevant social issues. Count me in!

Truth or Dare movie trailer

Contrast that with a trailer I recently watched during previews before (re)watching Black Panther, a preview for an upcoming teen horror flick, Truth or Dare. The film stars Lucy Hale, one of the stars from the Pretty Little Liars TV show. To be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention to the trailer… until 1 minute and 29 seconds into the trailer.

Truth or Dare Official Trailer #1 (2018) Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey Horror Movie HD,” uploaded by Zero Media, Standard YouTube License


When I realized the background of a scene was set in a library, I literally groaned out loud:

Oh no! Now I’m going to have to watch this movie!

It’s not clear in the 10 seconds of the library shown in the trailer if there is an actual librarian in this scene set in what is presumably a school library. Regardless, I will have to watch the movie to see if there is a librarian or not; even if there’s not — and there isn’t a role called “Librarian” on its cast list — it is often illuminating to explore a scene set in a library and analyze the purpose of the scene and setting.

Admittedly, I feel no pressure to actually watch Truth or Dare in the movie theaters when it premieres next month. But I have added it to my Master List, and I will keep an eye out for when it is released on DVD or streaming, when I can either stream it online or check it out from my local public library. If you do plan on watching Truth or Dare in theaters, let me know how the library scene goes! 🙂


Are there any other upcoming movie titles featuring librarians and/or library scenes that I may have missed? Please let me know by either emailing me at reel.librarians@gmail.com or by filling out the “Ask the Real Librarian” contact form.

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The kids shush themselves | School library scene in ‘Psych’ TV show

I have been enjoying our free preview of Amazon Prime, including watching TV series, both new (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and old (Psych). While watching Season 2 of Psych, I noted a library scene in episode 7, “If You’re So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?”

About Psych

First things first. If you’re not familiar with the comedic TV show Psych, here’s the basic premise:

Shawn Spencer (played by James Roday) has amazing powers of observation — and uses that power to pretend to be psychic. Why? So that he can solve crimes with the police, alongside his best friend, Gus (played by Dulé Hill). Corbin Bernsen plays his crotchety father, Henry Spencer, a retired cop.

Here’s a trailer for Season 2 of the TV show:

And here’s the basic plot for the “If You’re So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?” episode, which first aired in August 2007:

A group of genius teenagers go to the Psych office claiming their teacher is a murderer.

School library scene

The scene occurs 9 minutes into the 42-minute episode. Shawn and Gus arrive at the school, going undercover as guest lecturers for a paranormal studies class. The headmaster gives them a tour of the school… which apparently starts in the library! I like this school. 😉

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of library scene in 'Psych' TV episode

Let’s all go to the library!

Headmaster: Personally, I’m not sure that I see the merits of a class in paranormal studies, but we do let the students choose one guest instructor a semester. 

[A student walks past, carrying a thick book, joining a table of other students with their noses in books.]

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of library scene in 'Psych' TV episode

Reading is a recess activity

ShawnWhat is this? Like a study hall?

HeadmasterOh, no. Recess.

Shawn:  [Sniffs] Does it smell like teen spirit in here?

Student:  [Walks by] Shhhhhh!

Gus has to hold Shawn back from going after the kid!

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of library scene in 'Psych' TV episode

The kid shushes Shawn in the school library

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of library scene in 'Psych' TV episode

Shawn doesn’t react well to the shushing

The school library

The library looks to be a pretty large space, with lots of windows and light and yellow-painted walls. I’m not sure where they filmed this scene, but I do know that the series filmed primarily in Vancouver, Canada. You can read about other filming locations featured on the show via the Movie Maps site.

There are different kinds of resources in the library, including books and computers. Furniture is also set up for different kinds of learning activities, including tables, computer desks, and bookcases, both small and tall ones. This furniture is used to break up the library into different spaces.

And as Shawn and Gus walk through the library with the headmaster, we also see glimpses of various students working hard at computers and other students working in groups. The library is also quite full — at recess, as we learned! — and the students range in ages, genders, and ethnicities.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of library scene in 'Psych' TV episode

Library tour in ‘Psych’ TV episode

The only thing missing in this scene? A librarian! 😉

Why a school library scene?

The scene lasts a total of 30 seconds, and it is the only scene in the episode set in the school library. What purpose does this brief scene serve? It primarily serves to provide as not only an introduction to the school for Shawn and Gus, but also as an introduction for the audience. We have been informed already that this is a school for geniuses — what better place than a library to reinforce this concept?

The scene starts with a closeup of thick books, a bookcase of atlases. This shot efficiently establishes the setting as a library without having to actually say the word.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of library scene in 'Psych' TV episode

Bookcase closeup to set the library scene

This scene also efficiently reinforces the vibe of the school and the priorities of its students. They are serious, focused, and not afraid to stand up to authority — even shushing adults. This scene is so efficient — and the students themselves are so self-sufficient — that there is no need for a school librarian!

This also sets up a conflict in the episode, because if you’re a fan of the show, you know that Shawn jokes all the time and rarely takes anything seriously. As the audience, we are already looking forward to the students pushing back during Shawn’s upcoming lecture. After all, Shawn may be able to hoodwink the police about his “psychic” abilities… but will he able to convince these genius students? Or will the students call his bluff and shush him out of the school? 😉

Sources used:

“If You’re So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?” Psych. USA Network, 24 Aug. 2007.

Psych Season 2 Trailer,” uploaded by Shannon Haddock, Standard YouTube license.

 

Reel Librarians round-up: Private eyes in reel librarian films

I’ve written before about how I think Nancy Drew, perhaps the most famous amateur detective of them all, would have been an awesome librarian. And I’ve written about the crossovers in skills between librarians and private investigators.

So let’s follow this thread by looking at private eyes who show up in reel librarian films. Sometimes the reel librarian becomes the private detective, as well!

Collage of private detective and reel librarian silhouettes

Private eyes in reel librarian films:

Please note that the list below is not an exhaustive list, and it is arranged in chronological order. To compile this representative list of reel librarian films also featuring private detectives, I consulted my own files, as well as the invaluable 2005 book, The Image of Librarians in Cinema, 1917-1999, by Ray and Brenda Tevis, which I reviewed here.


The Captain Hates the Sea (1934)


An alcoholic newspaperman boards a ship, hoping for a restful cruise and the chance to quit drinking and begin writing a book. Also on board is a private detective hoping to nab a criminal with a fortune in stolen bonds — and a librarian on vacation! However, this reel librarian may be using this occupation as a cover for illicit activities…

Poster for 'The Captain Hates the Sea' (1934)

Poster for ‘The Captain Hates the Sea’ (1934)


Quiet Please, Murder (1942)


A public librarian helps a private detective who is investigating book forgers. The plot also includes Nazis and five (!) reel librarian roles. This film sounds AWESOME.

George Sanders Quiet Please: Murder VHS Rip,” uploaded by Jason Banks, Standard YouTube License


The Big Sleep (1946)


This is a classic, complex crime story featuring private eye Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart), who is hired to keep an eye on General Sternwood’s daughter (Lauren Bacall). In a brief library scene, a young librarian is curious about Marlowe’s reading choices.

Another young librarian also features in the film’s trailer, seen below:

The Big Sleep Official Trailer #1 – Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall Movie (1946) HD,” uploaded by Movieclips Trailer Vault, Standard YouTube License


Special Agent (1949)


In this crime thriller, special railroad agent Johnny Douglas is on the trail of an armed railway robbery. The TCM site provides a detailed synopsis, which outlines how a librarian fits into the plot:

As part of the investigation, Johnny brings the Devereaux’ belongings to University of California criminologist Jerome Bowen, who studies the items for clues about the killers. Although many false leads are phoned in by the public, Johnny finally gets some real clues … from a librarian who gave the brothers the news clipping.

Special Agent (1949) CRIME THRILLER,” uploaded by PizzaFlix, Standard YouTube License


I Was a Shoplifter (1950)


Mona Freeman stars in the leading role as shoplifter Faye Burton, an attractive 22-year-old librarian suffering from kleptomania. Plus, there’s a shoplifting gang and an undercover agent. What a plot line!

I was a shoplifter,” uploaded by hard to find films, Standard YouTube License


Hammett (1982)


In this film noir, mystery writer Dashiell Hammett (Frederic Forrest) gets involved in a real-life mystery involving a woman’s disappearance. His main squeeze is a sexy librarian (Marilu Henner).

“Hammett” (1982) Trailer,” uploaded by The Rap Sheet, Standard YouTube License


The Empty Beach (1985)


In this Australian thriller, based on the novel by Peter Corris, Bryan Brown stars as private investigator Cliff Hardy, who inquires into the disappearance of a beautiful woman’s wealthy husband from Bondi Beach. Deborah Kennedy plays the minor role of Newspaper Librarian, who aids Hardy in his investigation.

The Empty Beach (1985) Trailer,” uploaded by sms, Standard YouTube License


The Golden Child (1986)


In this Class III film, private detective Chandler Jarrell (Eddie Murphy) sets out to find the “Golden Child,” a Buddhist mystic who has been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer. Early on in a scene set in a nondescript building, a mysterious lady named Kala supplies Jarrell with information about the Golden Child and his quest. It is revealed that Kala is a librarian and a half-dragon lady over 300 years old (!). Although not the only not-quite-human reel librarian (see Necronomicon, Book of the Dead, 1993), she is quite memorable, even outside her Sacred Depository library.

Clicking here will take you to an audio clip of her brief scene.


A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (TV, 2015)


Aurora Teagarden, or “Roe” for short (played by Candice Cameron Bure), is a librarian and amateur sleuth. Her master’s thesis was in true-crime literature, which she puts to good use to solve local mysteries! This was the pilot episode of a TV series.

Reel Librarians | Roe studies a skull in 'A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery' (2015)

Screenshot from ‘A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery’ (2015)

Read my post analyzing the TV movie, A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery.

Honorable mentions:


The Kennel Murder Case (1933)


Well-known private detective Philo Vance returns again in this film, based on the series of novels by S. S. Van Dine, and this is William Powell’s fourth appearance as Vance. This is often regarded as the best of the Philo Vance screen adaptations, and it is a classic “locked room” kind of mystery.

No librarians, unfortunately, but the film does feature a private library, and this library, plus a book in its collection called Unsolved Murders, are central to the mystery plot.

Read my post analyzing The Kennel Murder Case here.

William Powell in THE KENNEL MURDER CASE (1933),” uploaded by The Video Cellar, Standard YouTube License


The FBI Story (1959)


The history of the FBI unfolds through one agent’s (Jimmy Stewart) perspective. His wife (Vera Miles) was a public librarian, and there is one early scene set in the library. Admittedly, Stewart does not play a private detective — rather, he is an official FBI agent — but he does often go undercover, so that’s why I’ve added this film to the honorable mention list.

The Fbi Story – Original Theatrical Trailer,” uploaded by Warner Bros., Standard YouTube License


Any favorites here? If I’ve missed a major film, please let me know!

Librarian on my mind

The final plot point of the indie film He’s On My Mind (2009) reads like a female counterpart to 2000’s What Women Want:

“Elementary school teacher Kayla King thought she had the perfect relationship, and after an impromptu wedding, Kayla discovers that not only is she the other woman, she’s the other wife. She is spontaneously imbued with the magic ability to intercept men’s thoughts.”

This film stars Sherial Mckinney as Kayla, who is the best thing about this film. The movie overall is admittedly rough in that “indie film” way, with lots of uncomfortable and prolonged closeups, out-of-focus transitions, and inconsistent sound levels and effects. Unfortunately, this movie falls into the “I watched this movie so you don’t have to” category. (FYI, I watched this movie through Hoopla, a free streaming service available through my local public library system.)

The last bit of the plot write-up, about being “spontaneously imbued with the magic ability to intercept men’s thoughts” is key to my own write-up — because it happens when she visits her local public library!

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

City library sign

Just after a half-hour into this 2-hour film, Kayla visits the library. The entire library scene lasts a total of 3 minutes.

Library scene:

Kayla is at a round library table, which is piled high with books, and she calls out to the librarian when he rolls past with a book cart. Read MacGuirtose plays the role of the reel librarian. You can read about this actor’s bio here and his personal website here. I have to admit, I kind of love that an actor whose name is “Read” got to play a reel librarian!

Read’s character is listed in the credits as “Cranky Librarian,” and he wastes no time living up to that description.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

Kayla asks the cranky librarian for help

Kayla:  Oh, excuse me. Can you bring me some more books on male psychology? Just bring them here.

Cranky LibrarianMa’am, does this look like the Cheesecake Factory, and do I look like a waiter? Get your own books. Psychology section is aisle 4.

Kayla [under her breath as he walks away]:  I said please, jackass.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

Cranky librarian face

I’m with Kayla here. This reel librarian IS a jackass. Another example of what NOT to do as a librarian!

Kayla then does do research on her own, as she gathers armload after armload of books and brings them back to her table. This research montage uses overhead shots to capture the passage of time — and books — as you can see in the two sceenshots below. (Also, who knew a small public library would have this many books on male psychology?!)

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

Beginning her research on men’s psychology

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

Falling asleep on top of her research of men’s psychology

Kayla falls asleep on her pile of books. It’s closing time, and the librarian comes back and jostles her shoulder to wake her up.

Cranky LibrarianMa’am, it is closing time.

KaylaWhat?

Cranky LibrarianTime to go. We’re closing. [Inner monologue:  You ain’t gotta go home, but you got to get the hell outta here.]

Closing time at the library

Closing time at the library

This is the first time Kayla can read men’s thoughts, and she is understandably confused at first.

KaylaWhat’d you say?

Cranky LibrarianI said it’s time to go. We’re closing. [Inner monologueJeez, lady, hurry it up already. I want to get home and rub one out before I get too tired.]

KaylaOh, how did you do that? [referring to the the inner monologue]

Cranky LibrarianDo what? [Inner monologueOh, great. Another nut case.]

KaylaThat. How did you do that?

Cranky LibrarianMa’am, I’m not doing anything. I’m just trying to get you to leave. [Inner monologue: Man, I don’t get paid enough to deal with this.]

KaylaWhat are you doing? Throwing your voice?

Cranky LibrarianNo, but in two seconds, I’m going to be throwing you out. [Inner monologueJeez, crazy lady, get out already!]

KaylaAll right, I’m leaving! You don’t have to yell at me! Golly!

Kayla starts to gather up all the books on the table.

Cranky Librarian:  [Inner monologueGreat. Now I’ve gotta put away all her damn books.]

KaylaLook, I’m a teacher, I know the Dewey Decimal system.

Gotta admit, I kind of cheered at this! But the Cranky Librarian is not impressed at a patron knowing about the Dewey Decimal system. Instead, he just orders her to leave.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

The cranky librarian throws Kayla out of the library

Cranky LibrarianDon’t worry about it. Just go. [Inner monologueI’m going to do your decimal if you don’t get the hell outta here! Damn, she’s got a fat ass.]

Kayla grabs her behind in embarrassment as she hurries out of the library. Double shame on that librarian for making a woman feel bad about her body!

Significance of this scene and reel librarian role

Why can Kayla suddenly read men’s thoughts after she falls asleep in the library? Are we supposed to think she soaked up all the knowledge in the world on men’s psychology so much that she can now read men’s inner thoughts? Is her city library that good? Suspension of disbelief at your local library, aisle 4!

So what role does this reel librarian play? It’s a memorable enough scene to merit a Class III category, films in which the librarian(s) plays a secondary role, ranging from a supporting character to a minor character with perhaps only a few lines in one memorable or significant scene.

I would venture to say that this reel librarian role primarily fulfills the “Anti-Social Librarian” role for male librarians. This character type:

  • hoards knowledge (he won’t help her find what she’s looking for);
  • dresses conservatively (light green polo shirt and atrociously unflattering pleated trousers);
  • made up to look generally unattractive (those closeups are not kind to this actor);
  • exhibits poor social skills (definitely);
  • very unfriendly (yep);
  • seems to dislike people (yep again); and
  • an elitist who rates the library and its rules above the public (I would say yes).
Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'He's On My Mind' (2009)

Cranky librarian face

There is that inner monologue line, “I want to get home and rub one out before I get too tired” — which made me review the characteristics of the “Naughty Librarian” character type — but this line about masturbation reveals more about his unsociable lifestyle than it does about sex or sexual attraction. Indeed, this librarian is not attracted to Kayla at all, judging by his final, derogatory comment about her bottom.

Bottom line? Not the finest three minutes of reel librarianship onscreen!

Sources used:

He’s On My Mind (dvd). Dir. Kazeem Molake. Perf. Sherial Mckinney, Ayo Sorrells, Dylan Mooney. Vanguard Cinema, 2009.

He’s On My Mind Movie Trailer (Official Version),” uploaded by Y!kes Entertainment, Standard YouTube License.

Reel librarian love for Valentine’s Day: Movies for different romantic moods

In the vein of the “Cinematherapy” books — which you saw a couple of on my movie book collection post — I have put together lists of different reel librarian movies for different romantic moods. Enjoy!

Valentine love by Nietju is licensed under a CC0 public domain license

Valentine love by Nietju is licensed under a CC0 public domain license

If you’d like to skip to a specific category, click below:

Finding your prince… with a twist || Grown-up love || Star-crossed love || Love triangles || I’m not crying… you’re crying! || Summer romances || No more drama? No way! || Love notes || Opposites attract || Love on the rocks


Finding your prince… with a twist


Ella Enchanted (2004):

This Class IV reel librarian movie features an actual “Prince Charming” (played by Hugh Dancy)! The well-known Cinderella plot hinges on Ella’s gift of obedience bestowed by a fairy godmother, Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox), whom Ella (Anne Hathaway) is trying to find in order to release this curse of a blessing. Ella tries to find a record of Lucinda’s whereabouts in the castle’s Hall of Records, where an archives clerk is most unhelpful. The twist in this movie is that Ella is the film’s true hero and savior. Read my analysis post of this film here.

Screenshot from 'Ella Enchanted'

Screenshot from ‘Ella Enchanted’ and its Hall of Records scene

Ever After (1998):

Another Cinderella story turned on its heel, starring the ever-charming Drew Barrymore as Danielle and dreamy Dougray Scott as Prince Henry. Danielle also saves the day, more than once, in this historical romance. To impress Danielle, Prince Henry takes her to a monastery library, for a fun historical version of a  “first date” — swoon! Read my analysis post of this film here.

Reel Librarians: Ever After monastery library

Fade-in from Prince Henry to the monastery library in ‘Ever After’

That Touch of Mink (1962):

If Cary Grant is your idea of a modern prince — and I join you in that thought! — then you can’t go wrong with this romantic comedy starring Grant as a millionaire playboy and Doris Day as the klutzy-but-adorable object of his affection. The twist? She wants marriage while he wants only an affair, and the movie is pretty straightforward about the conflict.

In one hilarious scene and sub-plot, Grant and his friend (Gig Young) break into a motel room in order to find Day, but they end up interrupting a romantic tryst between a librarian and her would-be lover. “You do believe I never cared for another man until you walked in the library?” Will the reel librarian find her own prince? Read my play-by-play post of this movie here.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'That Touch of Mink' (1962)

A reel librarian’s tryst from ‘That Touch of Mink’ (1962)


Grown-up love


Do you like to watch romance blossom slowly, but surely, between two adults, including scenes filled with the details and issues of real life? Then you might enjoy one of these romances, featuring both minor and major reel librarians:

Brief Encounter (1945):

This classic romance is about an ordinary English wife and mother (Celia Johnson) and an ordinary English husband and father (Trevor Howard) who meet one day by chance and fall in love. So simple, yet so devastating. The woman stops by the Boots Lending Library during her weekly shopping — and later uses the librarian as an excuse for staying out late! Click here to read my full post of this film.

Screenshot from 'Brief Encounter'

Boot’s Lending Library in ‘Brief Encounter’

Desk Set (1957):

In this sparkling workplace comedy, Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) expertly handles a TV network’s research library, as well as the attentions of an efficiency expert (Spencer Tracy). Their mutual admiration and respect for one another’s abilities and intelligence — a relationship in which they start out as competitors and then develop into friendship — is a delight to behold. Click here to read a comparison of the original play and the film adaptation.

Hepburn & Tracyy in 'Desk Set'

Hepburn & Tracyy in ‘Desk Set’

Enough Said (2013):

A quirky slice-of-life glimpse into the budding romance between two middle-aged, single parents. Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a free-spirited masseuse, and Albert (James Gandolfini) is a digital archivist at the fictional American Library of Cultural History. In one scene, Albert takes Eva on a tour of the archives, his office, and the public viewing room. Click here to read my full analysis post of this film.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Enough Said'

Kissing in the archives in ‘Enough Said’

The Magic of Ordinary Days (TV, 2005):

This TV movie romance, set during World War II, features a beautiful young woman (Keri Russell) in an arranged marriage with a lonely, good-hearted farmer (Skeet Ulrich). They slowly start to fall in love. In an early scene, they travel to the nearest public library, which is an hour away. Now that’s love! 🙂 Click here for the full analysis post of this film.

The public librarian in 'The Magic of Ordinary Days'

The public librarian in ‘The Magic of Ordinary Days’


Star-crossed love


If you like your films to have a fantastical element, like time travel or reincarnation… these films might be just what you’re looking for:

The Age of Adaline (2015):

Adaline (Blake Lively), a young woman and a recent widow, gets into a car accident in the 1930s and stops aging as a result of the accident. (Just suspend your disbelief and enjoy the costumes and the camera work.) After decades of living alone, she meets a man, Ellis (Michiel Huisman), who makes her question her life choices. Adaline works in the archives at the San Francisco Heritage Society library, and there are several scenes set in the library. Click here to read my full analysis post of this romance.

Reel Librarians | A collage of Adaline reading a book in braille on the library steps

Love meets cute… and a book from ‘The Age of Adaline’

Chances Are (1989):  

In this romantic comedy, college library assistant Alex (Robert Downey, Jr.) falls for his girlfriend’s mother (Cybill Shepherd). Oh, and there’s the bit about the mother’s husband having been reincarnated into Alex. It’s high-concept romantic comedy… just don’t think too hard about it. 😉 Click here to read my full analysis post of this romantic comedy.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Chances Are'

A ‘meet cute’ in the library in ‘Chances Are’

Somewhere in Time (1980):

A time-travel romance in which a Chicago playwright (Christopher Reeve) uses self-hypnosis to go back in time and meet the love of his life (Jane Seymour). This is Romance with a capital R. There is a brief but pivotal library scene toward the beginning of the film. Click here for the full post of this film.

Reel Librarians | Screenshots from 'Somewhere in Time'

Looking for love… in the library, in ‘Somewhere in Time’

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009):

Henry (Eric Bana), a librarian, time travels in and out of a sweeping love story with Clare (Rachel McAdams). There are a couple of early scenes set in a library, and Henry is called a “special collections librarian.” Based on the best-selling book by Audrey Niffenegger. Click here to read my full analysis post of this film, which won a reader’s poll.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'The Time Traveler's Wife'

Time-traveling romance in a library, in ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’

Wings of Desire (aka Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987):

An angel in Berlin falls in love with a mortal and wishes to become human. Although there are no reel librarians in this film, there are three memorable scenes set and filmed in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library), where angels often go to hang out with humans. Revisit each library scene here in my post about this beautiful film.

Reel Librarian | Library scene in 'Wings of Desire' (1987)


Love triangles


When you like your romances complicated…

The Philadelphia Story (1940):

This classic romantic triangle features a a rich socialite (Katharine Hepburn), her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a reporter (Jimmy Stewart). In one comedic scene set at the public library, Hepburn and Stewart discuss a book he wrote, and a Quaker librarian shushes them. What does thee wish? To rewatch this film, of course! Click here to read my full post for this film.

Reel Librarians | Library scene in 'The Philadelphia Story' (1940)

Library scene in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ (1940)

Possession (2002):  

A double-decker romance with two love triangles. Two literary researchers (Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart) track down the correspondence and relationship between two Victorian poets (Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle). Both the modern and Victorian romances include past (and present) romantic partners. It’s complicated. In an early scene, Eckhart checks out a book at the British Museum library and answers questions from a nosy male librarian. Click here for my review of this reader poll-winning film.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Possession' (2002)

Maud and Roland walk through a library en route to Maud’s office

Rome Adventure (1962):  

In this romantic drama, Prudence Bell (Suzanne Pleshette) quits her job as a librarian at a private college and sets off to Italy in search of adventure and love. She definitely finds them with both Rossano Brazzi and Troy Donahue, who later became Pleshette’s real-life husband. Click here to read my full post of this film.

Rome Adventure (1962) Official Trailer – Troy Donahue, Suzanne Pleshette Movie HD,” uploaded by Movieclips Trailer Vault, Standard YouTube License


I’m not crying… you’re crying!


“Good cry” romances, for when you need to let your emotions out:

Bed of Roses (1996):  

A romance dedicated to its genre! A career woman (Mary Stuart Masterson), who’s got a lot of emotional baggage from her childhood, falls in love with a florist (Christian Slater), who can’t stop sending her roses. The florist also has his own emotional baggage. On a day out together, they stop by the public library to hear a children’s storytime hour.

Bed of Roses (1996) Trailer,” uploaded by depplover63, Standard YouTube License

City of Angels (1998):

This romantic drama follows an angel (Nicolas Cage) who becomes romantically involved with a doctor (Meg Ryan). The angels like to visit the San Francisco Public Library — I don’t blame them — and there are several short scenes set in the library, including one featuring a young male circulation clerk. Although a remake of 1987’s Wings of Desire — also included in this round-up — this plot and tone of this film is very different from its original inspiration. Click here for my full post of this film.

City of Angels – Trailer,” uploaded by YouTube Movies, Standard YouTube License

Love Story (1970):  

The first scene of this film, set in the Radcliffe College library, sets up the five-hanky romance between Jenny (Ali MacGraw) and Oliver (Ryan O’Neal). Jenny is a student library assistant, but we quickly find out she’s a music major. Have the Kleenex ready!

Love Story (1970) – Official Trailer,” uploaded by OldSchoolTrailers, Standard YouTube License


Summer romances


For when you want to relive the fleeting love of youth…

Goodbye, Columbus (1969):  

A poor Bronx librarian (Richard Benjamin) enjoys a summer romance with a privileged “Jewish-American princess” (Ali MacGraw). Based on the book by Philip Roth.

Goodbye, Columbus | Trailer (Klara Tavakoli Goesche),” uploaded by Klara Tavakoli Goesche, Standard YouTube License

Racing with the Moon (1984):  

This is a romantic drama set during World War II. Two young men (Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage), about to join the Marines in early 1943, spend their final days in town finding out about love and growing up. Penn falls in love with the new girl in town (Elizabeth McGovern), who works part-time at the local public library. Turns out Elizabeth McGovern and Sean Penn enjoyed an off-screen romance during the making of this film, even becoming engaged for a short time afterward.

Racing With The Moon Trailer 1984,” uploaded by Video Detective, Standard YouTube License


No more drama? No way!


For when you don’t want your romance sweetened with comedy or musical numbers… just bring the drama!

Forbidden (1932):

In this film’s first scene, Lulu (Barbara Stanwyck), a lonely and idealistic young librarian, quits her library job. She cleans out her bank account and sets sail for Havana, where she becomes romantically involved with an older man (Adolphe Menjou). Romantic melodrama ensues: the plot includes an illegitimate child, a lifelong adulterous affair, murder, and a deathbed pardon!

Forbidden 1932 Barbara Stanwyck,” uploaded by SweetnSaltyLife99, Standard YouTube License

Where the Heart Is (2000):  

In this chicken-fried romance, a pregnant teen (Natalie Portman) rebuilds her life after giving birth in a small town’s Walmart. Along the way, she falls in love with a young man (James Frain), who runs the local public library and cares for his alcoholic sister, the real librarian. There are a LOT of odd and dramatic subplots and characters in this film.

Where The Heart Is ~ Mary Elizabeth Dies & Forney/Novalee Love Scene,” uploaded by Cassie Hill, Standard YouTube License


Love notes


Movie musicals that feature librarians, for when you are in the mood for love to be set to song.

Good News (1947):  

A college student and library assistant (perpetual cutie June Allyson) falls for the college’s football hero (Peter Lawford) in this musical comedy. One of musical scenes, “The French Lesson,” is set in the library.

The French Lesson,” uploaded by rokrchicky, Standard YouTube License

The Music Man (1962):

In this classic movie musical, con man Harold Hill (Robert Preston) tries to scam a community into buying band uniforms — and ends up falling for the librarian. As you do. 😉 Shirley Jones’s portrayal of Marian has been immortalized in popular culture, in part due to the song “Marian the Librarian.”

03_Marian The Librarian,”  uploaded by Night Owl TV, Standard YouTube License

Strike Up the Band (1940):

In this “putting on a show” musical romance, high schooler Jimmy Connors (Mickey Rooney) wants to start a dance orchestra band to compete in a national radio contest. His girlfriend Mary (Judy Garland) sings along for the ride. We learn later in the film that Mary works part-time at the local library. This has nothing to do with the plot of the film, except that she sings a song while closing up at the library.

JUDY GARLAND: ‘NOBODY’, 1940. A SONG TO REMEMBER.,” uploaded by Michele Bell, Standard YouTube License


Opposites attract


For when you’re in the mood for two strong personalities to crash into love and let the sparks fly!

Adventure (1945):

A buttoned-up public librarian (Greer Garson) falls for a roustabout sailor (Clark Gable) in this rocky romantic drama. The two “meet cute” in the San Francisco Public Library.

Greer Garson and Gable Adventure 1945,” uploaded by fred freeze, Standard YouTube License

Bloomington (2010):  

In this LGBTQ romance and independent film, a former child actress (Sarah Stouffer) attends college and falls in love with a female psychology professor (Allison McAtee). When she gets a chance to return to Hollywood, what will she choose? Although both women are blonde, their personalities are very different, as are their roles as student and professor. There is a sexy scene set in the college library, as well as a young reel librarian at the end of the film. Click here for the full post of this film.

Love in the stacks in 'Bloomington'

Love in the stacks in ‘Bloomington’

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961):  

In this classic romance, free spirit Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) finally finds love with writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard). You get a sense that there is an old soul within Holly’s carefully curated nonchalance, while Varjak comes off as a man-child who pretends to be suave but is really desperate for love. Opposites attract? There are a couple of scenes set in the New York Public Library; in one of those scenes, Varjak autographs a copy of his book in the library, which the librarian exclaims is “defacing public property!”

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Paul Tells Holly in the Library He Loves Her (16) – Audrey Hepburn,” uploaded by EverythingAudrey.com, Standard YouTube License

No Man of Her Own (1932):  

In this romantic drama, con artist and gambler (Clark Gable) goes to small town Glendale to escape prosecution and ends up falling in love with the young, straight-laced, and sassy-mouthed librarian (Carole Lombard). OF COURSE. A few scenes are set in the library, including one in which Gable looks up Lombard’s skirt while she shelves books!

Clark Gable in No Man of Her Own (1932)/ famous quotes,” uploaded by JohnnyDepp Persianfan, Standard YouTube License


Love on the rocks


For when you’re in an “anti-romance” mode… when love goes dark, and you’re in the mood to make some trouble:

I Love You to Death (1990):

This pitch-black comedy has a different take on a romance:  a deadly one. A loyal Italian-American wife, Rosalie (Tracey Ullman), tries several times to kill her husband (Kevin Kline) after she finds out that he is cheating. And where does she find out about his philandering ways? At the local public library. (SIGH.) Click here for the full post of this film.

Screenshot from 'I Love You to Death'

When love makes you sick, in ‘I Love You to Death’

Miranda (2002):

In this noirish romance, hapless librarian Frank (John Simm) falls in love with the mysterious Miranda (Christina Ricci) and goes after her when she disappears from his life one day. The film’s opening sequence is set in the library, which is set for demolition. Click here for a special double feature post of this film.

Reel Librarians | 'Miranda' screenshot

Love isn’t love unless it’s on an Elvis rug, in ‘Miranda’


In the mood for love…

… and more reel librarian romance? Browse to your heart’s content the following posts:

Any favorites here? Are you now in the mood for a reel librarian romance? Please leave a comment and share!