Friday Favourites: Fictional Libraries
By Hodderscape Team
Posted on February 5, 2016 in Friday Favourites with tags
In honour of National Libraries Day we’re sharing our favourite fictional libraries! Your local library may not have attractive vampires, caged werewolves or lost masterpieces, but you never know… Why not head down there and see?
The Great Library from The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
From The Eyre Affair on, Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series has been one of my absolute favourite series: it’s a bit like Candyland for booklovers, with each book bursting with wonderful, inventive references to thousands of years of literature. One of my absolute most favourite details from the series is the Great Library, the public gateway to every book ever created. There are 26 upper levels, filled with every book ever published… and 26 levels below ground, called the Well of Lost Plots and filled with every unpublished book ever. Naturally, the Cheshire Cat is the Great Library’s librarian. Given the chance I don’t know how I’d decide between going straight upstairs and finding all the great lost published books from history… or downstairs, to discover what treasures lie within. Like Buridan’s ass, I’d probably just stand on the stairs, unable to make up my mind until I finally died of hunger.
The labyrinthine library from The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
At the heart of Umberto Eco’s Medieval masterpiece is the fortified library in an unnamed North Italian monastery. William of Baskerville is asked to solve an unexplained death (soon to be deaths) at the abbot’s request. The forbidden, labyrinthine library guarded by a blind monk holds clues and mysteries in its elaborately constructed 56 rooms. Perhaps the deaths have been caused by the discovery of the most famous missing book of classical antiquity, Aristotle’s On Comedy? A book that may subvert the social and religious order of all things…
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books from The Shadow of the Wind
In the book a big, secret library is full of old books and if you are chosen you can pick one book that you must treasure for the rest of your life. Even though I love the idea of a secret book society, it was a single sentiment that has stuck with me for the last ten years: when an author writes a book a part of their soul enters its pages. It’s a pretty beautiful idea, especially when you consider The Cemetery of Forgotten Books keeps at least one copy of every single book to ensure an author’s immortality.
Sunnydale High Library from Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Who would have thought that a stuffy old school library run by a straight-laced English librarian could be the scene of so many demonic ‘disturbances’. A LOT of supernatural sh*t went down in the Sunnydale library before the school got blown up in the process of eradicating Mayor Wilkins/Giant Snake Demon on graduation day – it was on a Hellmouth after all:
- Lost in the stacks: when the gang are swept up in the influence of a young boy’s worst nightmares their own start to come true, and Giles gets lost in the stacks of his own library.
- Goodbye Master: the big bad of series one, The Master, meets his gristly end by falling through the roof of the library onto a very large, and conveniently positioned, wooden spike.
- The Zeppo: while Xander is fighting his own battle with the psychotic living dead, the rest of the gang fight a giant squiggly tentacled monster that has erupted from the Hellmouth into the library.
- Werewolf/Vampire/Zombie/general-troublemaker holding cage: the library cage containing restricted books and lethal weapons often doubled as a holding cell for dangerous creatures. The most frequent visitor being Oz in his wolfy form – you know, just so he didn’t try to eat his friends.
- The slaying of Kendra: and thank god (sorry) we didn’t have to listen to that terrible accent anymore. Drusilla did us all a kindness by bagging that slayer – with the sharp fingernail, in the library. Cluedo!
- Lovers’ canoodling spot: and yes, even after all the gruesome events witnessed in the library it’s still a place for a bit of after-hours smooching, most notably Xander and Willow’s adulterous fumbling, and the frankly embarrassing kiss between Cordelia and Wesley. Yuck. Aww, and Giles and Miss Calendar! Bless.
Night Vale Public Library from Welcome to Nightvale
Forget these establishments with charmingly eccentric librarians. Vast arrays of wonderful books. Excellent lending periods. Nightvale Public Library is a shambles. In fact, it’s a death trap. With a fatality rate ‘well above the national average for libraries’, 33 copies of the biography of Helen Hunt, and a staff consisting entirely of malevolant librarians called ‘Randall’, Nightvale Public Library is not a place for book lovers.
The Hogwarts Library from Harry Potter
It is the best library ever, clearly, because of the restricted section. Whether you’re after Polyjuice potion or searching for some info on horcruxes (Tom Riddle, you naughty boy), the restricted section is where it’s at… if you can sneaky past Madam Pince, of course. You may need an invisibility cloak.