Six Action Librarians you’ll want to check out


Sometimes I read a blog post that is so lesbianic that I know I can’t improve on the topic idea. Such was the case with The Mary Sue‘s post “10 Action Librarians.” Seriously, what woman-loving woman among us is not enamored with libraries and, by association, the librarians that keep them all library-like?

Most female librarians are women of mystery because they speak in whispers and seem to know everything. Many wear glasses, which just adds to the mystery. And if one has her hair up, well, that’s the stuff fantasy is made of.

But The Mary Sue’s list isn’t about hot librarians or scary librarians — it’s about action librarians. The ones who are smart and subversive and can kick some overdue-book ass.

Evie Carnahan, The Mummy

Evelyn is in all of the Mummy movies, but the Rachel Weisz version definitely is the bravest of them all. In two movies, she gets shot, climbs into tombs, is almost kissed by a corpse and nearly becomes a human sacrifice. Then we find out Evie’s the reincarnation of Nefertiri and has serious sharp weapons skills — and she’s a crack shot. Oh, and she saves the world. 

Ariana Nolte, Family Man

If you don’t know lesbian graphic novelist Dylan Meconis, you’re in for a treat. She gained a following in college with webcomic Bite Me! and her audience kept growing when she started Family Man, a graphic novel about Luther Levi. a half-Jewish man kicked out of a Protestant seminary for being an atheist — in 1768. Eventually he gets a job at a small university where he meets Ariana, the head librarian.

Ariana not only is an incredible librarian — she invented her own card catalog system to organize the school’s vast collection — but she’s probably a werewolf. At the moment, Meconis is taking a break from the book (she promises it will return in September), but you can catch up in the interim. Then we can all find out together if Ariana is a wolf in librarian’s clothing. 

Barbara Gordon/ aka Batgirl

You forgot Dr. Barbara Gordon was a librarian? Me, too. But her dad Commissioner Gordon wouldn’t let her join the police force, so she used her PhD in library science to head of Gotham City’s public library during the day and fight crime at night. In fact, she solved a lot of Batman’s cases for him. 

After the Joker shot and paralyzed her, Gordon became The Oracle and used her library training to become information central for other superheroes — a digital librarian before digital was even a thing. I just hope DC keeps Gordon’s intelligence front and center when she is once again Batgirl in September. I, for one, will miss Oracle.

Lirael, Old Kingdom trilogy

The Abhorsen series, by Australian Garth Nix, is the story of a tribe of soothsayers called the Clayr. Lirael is happy — after a miserable childhood — as the assistant librarian in the Library of the Clayr, not knowing that her mother was part of the tribe. Like every librarian, Lirael gets a whistle (pinned to their collars so they can use it without their hands) “in case a thing is holding them”, a magical dagger “to stab the thing that is holding them” and a voice-activated mechanical mouse, powered by magic, “to run like blazes for help.” 

Lirael visits a forbidden part of the library and accidentally sets an imprisoned monster free — and is almost killed in return. Rather than running for help, she steals the head librarian’s sword and kills the thing herself. Like any good action librarian.

Yomiko Readman, Read or Die

The Read or Dream manga, Read or Die novels/manga/anime, and R.O.D the TV anime series is new to me — and it sounds awesome. Most of the stories involve Yomiko Readman (“Yomiko” means “Reading-woman”), an agent of the British Library’s Special Operations Division. Now that’s a job I’d love. 

Yomiko spends almost all of her money on books and has an apartment stacked top floor to ceiling with books. (Don’t we all?) As an agent, she is a Paper User who can bend paper (“bend” in the Avatar sense) and do things like make it bulletproof or razor sharp. The only limit to her power is her imagination. However, she is socially awkward and a bit clumsy, so needs a bit of support to get her act together. Once in action, though, she is unstoppable. 

Other action librarians on The Mary Sue’s list include the incomparable Rupert Giles, Wan Shi Tong, Dean Corso, and The Librarian.

One notable omission, however, was the first kick-ass librarian that came to mind when I saw the post title:

Iku Kasahara, Library War

Admittedly, Toshokan Sensō (Library War) is not in my own library. But I couldn’t leave out an entire series about librarian heroes. The story begins with the Japanese Media Betterment Act of 1989 allowing censorship of any material the Media Betterment Committee finds harmful to Japanese Society. Local governments have formed anti-MBC forces to protect their libraries from being raided, a struggle still going on when Library War starts in 2019.

Iku Kashahara joins the Kantō Library Base and eventually enlists in the Library Task Force, an elite special operations force, and saves countless books and related artifacts from destruction. 

Finally, since I don’t want Katchoo, from Strangers in Paradise, to be mad at me, here’s her favorite library related picture. She was only pretending to be a librarian, but I plan to respect her wishes anyway.

Who else is missing? Who’s your favorite action librarian? 

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