Library of our Imagination
Libraries inspire the imagination. They help patrons find escape, find ideas for the future, find fun. Writers often get inspired to set stories within their walls. Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, all the material below make show how versatile a stage your local library can be.
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The Walls of Libraries that Exist Between Pages
• The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen: A lion in the library? As he has not broken any rules, then yes. He is welcome — until he breaks one. A charming story for children that teaches that rules matter, but knowing when to break them matters as well.
• The Library by Sarah Steward: What do you do if you have too many books? If you are Elizabeth Brown, you open a library. A lovely example of sharing the gift of reading.
• Matilda by Roald Dahl: The ultimate library girl! Magical Matilda loves reading and inhales books from her library. And though she has some challenges, the wisdom of books, a bit of magic, and the support of Ms. Honey saves the day. This book, while filled with Dahl’s offbeat charm, highlights the important role reading and libraries can play in the lives of kids with difficult home lives.
• Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians: Alcatraz Smedry’s life is difficult enough, he’s a foster kid with a gift for breaking things, and then he discovers the truth: librarians rule the world and must be stopped! How do they managed this? Easy, they control all the information.
• Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein: Imagine if the most brilliant game maker came to your town and built a library? For Kyle Keeley, this is a dream come true. Better yet, he is one of 12 kids chosen for a lock-in the night before it opens. What seems like fun, turns into a contest, one that they must utilize the library to win.
• The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman: Morpheus, the King of Dreams, lives in the Dreaming and, within its wall, there is a library. It contains all the books ever written. AND all the books ever dreamed up. No story is ever lost in his library.
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: What would you change about your life if you could? A trip to the midnight library will answer those questions. It contains the books of your lives. The life you are currently living. All the alternative lives you might have lived had you made other choices at key points in your life. But, would you really want to know?
- Discworld series by Terry Pratchett: This delightful fantasy series, set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork this follows several characters across 41 books, some of which take place at the Unseen University. This wizard university, of course, boast a library. As it instructs wizards, the texts are magical in nature. Oh, and the librarian is an orang-utan (and yes, that is spelled correctly!)
From Page To Screen
Novelists are not the only ones that love setting stories in libraries. Movies and television shows love them as well. The list of famous libraries of the screen is a colorful one. Hogwarts, the Egyptian museum library, before Evelyn destroys it, in The Mummy, the Jedi Archives from Star Wars, the B.P.R.D library from Hellboy, and the magnificent room of books Beast presents to Belle in Beauty and the Beast are a few of the wonderful examples of libraries we have seen on the big screen. While important, they do not play a central role in the story. In the examples below, the library plays a central role in the story, or acts as a hinge in a major plotline.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997–2003): Not everything can be found on Google. Buffy Summers is the chosen one, the one given powers to fight evil. An important role as her high school is on a Hell mound. All kinds of evil showed up on a weekly basis, and when it did. Buffy and the Scooby gang (her friends) headed to the library to figure out how to defeat their latest villain.
- Community (NBC, 2009–2014): this series centered on a study group and a community college and all the various high jinks they got up to. They met, you guessed it, in the college library
- Dr. Who (BBC, 1963–1989, 2005-present): A planet taken over by a library. This heaven for readers got explored in several episodes of this long-running television series. We first encounter this with the good doctor and his companion Donna. It contains both a physical and digital copy of every book, and this is where the problems start. The two part episode in season 4, Forest of the Dead and Silence in the Library lets our heroes “save” the library.
- The Librarians (TNT, 2014–2018): Based on three movies that introduced the world, we follow Flynn Carsen, caretaker of the Library which contains all the magical items of literature. But, as the series starts, Flynn needs help. He recruits three apprentice librarians and a protector to help him to defend the library. Oh, and, it turns out, the library is…alive.
Libraries inspire. They educate. They encourage creative endeavors of all kinds. All of these things make them a great place to set a novel or show. While your corner library cannot boast books that never got written or a librarian who changed species, the talented authors on this list can. Come down to your local library and check them out.