After reading The Midnight Library, it got me thinking about all the great books about libraries or librarians, or stories that are set largely in libraries.
I’m sure most book lovers have fond memories of their own local libraries. The first library I loved was Schimelpfenig Plano Library in my hometown of Plano, Texas. I used to just wander the shelves and randomly pick out books. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I didn’t need to read books reviews or anything like that because I could rely on the librarians’ curation to lead me to good books. It wasn’t until later that I really appreciated what a gift it was to have such wonderfully curated books laid out for me.
So, this is a list of the Best Books about Libraries and Librarians. If you have a suggestion for something to add to this list, please feel free to drop a comment. Or I’d love to hear your stories about your own favorite library!
What It's About: Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time...See the Full Summary and Review of The Midnight Library Publication Date: August 13, 2020
What It's About: On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie...Publication Date: October 16, 2018
What It's About: From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England...See the Full Summary and Review of The Giver of Stars Publication Date: October 3, 2019
What It's About: The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything--everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else...Publication Date: May 7, 2019
What It's About: A sweeping and captivating debut novel about a young librarian who is sent a mysterious old book, inscribed with his grandmother's name. What is the book's connection to his family?
Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea...Publication Date: June 23, 2015
What It's About: Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. This ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain...Publication Date: January 1, 2008
What It's About: Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer's son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author's other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written...Publication Date: May 1, 2001
What It's About: A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.
Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts...Publication Date: March 15, 2016
What It's About: Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.
Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary...Publication Date: July 9, 2013
What It's About: Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market...Publication Date: July 7, 2015
What It's About: In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road.
Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home...Publication Date: January 1, 2011
What It's About: The queen of beach books (The Star-Ledger) returns to the shores of Nantucket in a novel about one memorable summer when flirtations flourish, family dramas play out, and scandalous secrets surface.
Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket...Publication Date: May 1, 2017
What It's About: Joe is done with the cities. He’s done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now, he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.
He gets a job at the local library—he does know a thing or two about books—and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco...See the Full Summary and Review of You Love Me Publication Date: April 6, 2021
What It's About: From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami—a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library.
Opening the flaps on this unique little book, readers will find themselves immersed in the strange world of best-selling Haruki Murakami's wild imagination...Publication Date: December 2, 2014
What It's About: A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn't stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.
Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one...Publication Date: July 5, 2003
What It's About: To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history...Publication Date: June 14, 2005
What It's About: The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity...Publication Date: September 28, 1994
What It's About: Intrepid literary detective Thursday Next is back in the second installment of Jasper Fforde's one-of-a-kind series
The inventive, exuberant, and totally original literary fun that began with The Eyre Affair continues with Jasper Fforde's magnificent second adventure starring the resourceful, fearless literary sleuth Thursday Next...Publication Date: March 31, 2002
What It's About: This is where the dragons went. They lie ... not dead, not asleep, but ... dormant. And although the space they occupy isn't like normal space, nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there's a key...Publication Date: July 31, 2001
What It's About: Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out...Publication Date: January 22, 2013
What It's About: What if you had a second chance at first love?Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can't read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn't seen him for ten years...Publication Date: April 2, 2019
What It's About: The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years...Publication Date: August 18, 1943
What It's About: Going to two weddings—one of a former lover—and a funeral for a member of her disbanded crime study club keeps Aurora “Roe” Teagarden quite busy for a few months. Unfortunately, her personal life seems to be at a standstill—until her fortunes unexpectedly change.
After the funeral, Roe learns that Jane Engle, the deceased, has named her as heir to a rather substantial estate, which includes money, jewelry, and a house complete with a skull hidden in a window seat...Publication Date: November 1, 1992
What It's About: Startling, unusual, and irresistibly readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and science fiction, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment...Publication Date: January 18, 2011
What It's About: A deliciously funny novella that celebrates the pleasure of reading. When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, the Queen is transformed as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word...Publication Date: September 18, 2007
What It's About: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World was a blockbuster bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. It has sold nearly a million copies, spawned three children's books, and will be the basis for an upcoming movie. No doubt about it, Dewey has created a community. Dewey touched readers everywhere, who realized that no matter how difficult their lives might seem, or how ordinary their talents, they can-and should- make a positive difference to those around them...Publication Date: September 24, 2008
What It's About: Jorge Luis Borges's famous 1941 meditation on language, alphabets, and the library that contains all knowledge is an allegory of our Universe, and in this edition is complemented and enhanced by the etching of the French artist, Érik Desmazières.Publication Date: August 1, 2000
What It's About: Israel Armstrong is a passionate soul, lured to Ireland by the promise of an exciting new career. Alas, the job that awaits him is not quite what he has in mind. Still, Israel is not one to dwell on disappointment, as he prepares to drive a mobile library around a small, damp Irish town. After all, the scenery is lovely, the people are charming--but where are the books? The rolling library's 15,000 volumes have mysteriously gone missing, and it's up to Israel to discover who would steal them...Publication Date: January 2, 2007
What It's About: Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities...Publication Date: December 15, 2014
What It's About: Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living. But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen. But he wasn’t always that way...Publication Date: July 14, 2020
What It's About: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks...See the Full Summary and Review of The Starless Sea Publication Date: November 5, 2019
What It's About: From journalist and author Sue Halpern comes a wry, observant look at contemporary life and its refugees. Halpern’s novel is an unforgettable tale of family...the kind you come from and the kind you create.
People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship...Publication Date: February 27, 2018
What It's About: Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people - though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she's invisible.
All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep...Publication Date: March 26, 2019
What It's About: A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life...Publication Date: September 2, 2008
What It's About: A funny and uplifting story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight lifting
Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old when he first began exhibiting symptoms...Publication Date: May 2, 2013
What It's About: Buried in info? Cross-eyed over technology? From the bottom of a pile of paper, disks, books, e-books, and scattered thumb drives comes a cry of hope: Make way for the librarians—they can help!
Those who predicted the death of libraries forgot to consider that, in the automated maze of contemporary life, none of us—expert and hopelessly baffled alike—can get along without human help...Publication Date: January 15, 2010
What It's About: Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!
From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all...Publication Date: July 4, 2014
What It's About: A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met...Publication Date: September 22, 2020
What It's About: A warm, feel-good novel about the importance of finding a place where you belong - perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.
Local librarian Hanna Casey is wondering where it all went wrong ... Driving her mobile library van through Finfarran's farms and villages, she tries not to think of the sophisticated London life she abandoned when she left her cheating husband...Publication Date: November 17, 2016
What It's About: Every day after school Melvin goes to the library. Everything has its place in the library and Melvin likes it that way. And his favorite people—Marge, Betty, and Leola—are always in their place, behind the reference desk. When a subject interests Melvin, his librarian friends help him find lots and lots of books on the subject...Publication Date: March 1, 2007
What It's About: Celebrate the freedom to read with this timely, empowering middle-grade debut in the spirit of The View from Saturday or Frindle.
June Harper is a good kid. She follows the rules, plays flute in band, and spends her spare time reading. Nobody would ever call her a rebel . . . until her parents take strict parenting to a whole new level...Publication Date: September 18, 2018
What It's About: A New York Times Bestseller
Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library...Publication Date: June 25, 2013
What It's About: MATILDA IS A SWEET, 5-YEAR-OLD GENIUS with horrible, mean parents. Fortunately, she has a great time giving them what they deserve. But at school things are different. At school there's Miss Trunchbull: two hundred pounds of kid-hating headmistress. Giving Miss Trunchbull what she deserves will take more than a genius...Publication Date: October 1, 1988
What It's About: With the help of Miss Brooks, Missy's classmates all find books they love in the library--books about fairies and dogs and trains and cowboys. But Missy dismisses them all--"Too flowery, too furry, too clickety, too yippity."
Still, Miss Brooks remains undaunted. Book Week is here and Missy will find a book to love if they have to empty the entire library...Publication Date: May 24, 2006
What It's About: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is the first adventure in a fantasy series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. The fast-paced and funny series is now available in deluxe hardcover editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo.
On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother...Publication Date: October 1, 2007