Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Librarians in Comics

Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries logo

Published on March 2nd, 2015 | by Carli Spina

Librarians Portrayed 

in Comics

Graphic novel and comic book fans are book lovers, so it is 
no surprise that libraries and librarians are portrayed fairly 
frequently in all sorts of graphic works. Here are some 
comics that feature libraries and librarians and are
perfect for some light reading or for a fun library display.


Americus by MK Reed and Jonathan Hill – This book 
focuses on an event that some libraries know all too 
well – a book challenge. The main character is a teen 
named Neal Barton who really just wants to read the 
latest entry in his favorite fantasy series. But, 
unfortunately for him, a religious group objects to 
the book’s “heretical” content and requests that it 
be removed from the library. Together with a youth 
services librarian, Neal fights to keep his favorite 
series on the shelf and for the right of readers to have 
access to books of all sorts


Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi – Set in a dystopian future 
of Japan where the government is allowed to censor 
anything it finds to be objectionable, the Library Wars 
manga series follows Iku, a young girl determined to 
serve in the combat forces of the Library Defense 
Force. Members of this group save materials from 
censorship and destruction and take them to libraries 
that can legally save and protect them.


Rex Libris by James Turner – This series, which 
starts with I, Librarian, follows Rex Libris, the 
head librarian at Middleton Public Library as he 
confronts all manner of foes from the quasi-historical, 
to the literary, to the science fictional in his never 
ending quest to track down overdue books and 
protect his library. The stylized art and humorous 
tone allow Turner to poke fun at both common 
comic tropes and librarian stereotypes. Though 
the plots tend to be over-the-top, the series is a 
fun and quick read.


Unshelvedby Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes – 
Since February 2006, the Unshelved comic strip 
has chronicled the ups and downs of life in 
libraries poking fun at typical problems confronted 
by librarians and lampooning ridiculous patron 
interactions. Neither patrons nor staff are safe from 
the humor of the series. Whether you work in a 
library or just frequent them, you will probably 
find something to relate to in this series. All of 
the Unshelved strips are available online (and 
libraries and educators can even 
but the creators have also published ten collections 
of the comic over the years.


Batgirl by various authors and artists – 
One of the most iconic examples of librarians 
in comics has to be Barbara Gordon, better 
known by her alias, Batgirl. Debuting in the 1960’s,
 Batgirl’s day job was as the head librarian at 
Gotham’s public library, but she was also a s
uperheroine who aided Batman in his crime 
ighting efforts. After she was shot and paralyzed 
by the Joker in Alan Moore’s controversial 
Batman: The Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon 
went on to be Oracle, a superheroine who 
didn’t allow her disability to stop her from 
making use of her computer and information 
seeking skills as part of the Birds of Prey. 
In both incarnations, she made use of the 
skills she gained as a librarian to support 
her missions as a superheroine.

About the Author

 Carli Spina is an 
emerging technologies and 
research librarian at an academic 
library. She is a big fan of graphic novels, 
young adult and children's literature, and 
popular culture and writes about these 
topics for several blogs including the 
YALSA's The Hub blog. You can find her on
 Twitter as @CarliSpina or on her website at

No comments:

Post a Comment