Our Favorite Books About Libraries and Librarians

By on

by Briana Shemroske, Booklist

Back in May, I Love Libraries spoke with academic librarian Jennifer Snoek-Brown about portrayals of librarians in film, from “spinster librarian” Mary Hatch of It’s a Wonderful Life fame (wrong!) to the denim-organizing protagonist of Party Girl (oh so right!).

Lucky for library staff and book lovers everywhere, Hollywood’s only honed their depictions of the library space and vocation in recent years—and they’re not alone. Many books, especially lately, are serving up masterful reflections on the sometimes messy, sometimes magical, and always inspiring realm of librarianship. These stories are found not only in steamy romances, sweeping sci-fi, and dark mysteries, but in necessary nonfiction accounts, too. Read all about ‘em (23 in total!) below.


American Dreamer, by Adriana Herrera

The Book Charmer, by Karen Hawkins

The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai

Check Me Out, by Becca Wilhite

Deal with the Devil, by Kit Rocha

A Good Family, by A. H. Kim

Her Perfect Affair, by Priscilla Oliveras

The Lending Library, by Aliza Fogelson

The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library, by Susan Halpern

Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey

Weather, by Jenny Offill


Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, by Safiya Umoja Noble

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures, by the Library of Congress

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, by Annie Spence

Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries, edited by Shannon D. Jones and Beverly Murphy

E.J. Josey: Transformational Leader of the Modern Library Profession, by Renate D. Chancellor

Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South, by Mike Selby

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe, by Kathy Peiss

The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders, by Stuart Kells

The Library Book, by Susan Orlean

The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era, by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Reading behind Bars: A Memoir of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian, by Jill Grunenwald

You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf from Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia, by Jack Lynch

For more book recommendations, check out the Booklist Reader, a publication of the American Library Association; subscribe to their newsletter and follow them on Twitter for even more bookish content.