Librarians aren’t just found in libraries…they can be found as characters in many books!

Begun in 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA), National Library Week is celebrated this year from April 7-13, 2024. This year’s theme is “Ready, Set, Library,” which draws attention to the way libraries connect peoples through their shared interests and knowledge and build friendships, working relationships, and community. Westlake Porter Public library is proud to celebrate National Library Week with a series of blog posts that highlight different aspects of our collection and services and programming we provide.


In the 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart), assisted by the wingless-angel Clarence, is allowed to see what the world would be like without him. When it comes to find out about his wife’s, Mary (played by Donna Reed), life Clarence tells him “You’re not going to like it George. She’s an old maid. She’s just about to close up the library!” Without George in her life she’s become a plain, joyless spinster librarian doomed to toil endless hours in the library.

The library has plenty of examples of librarians who are anything but plain, joyless spinster librarians. One only needs to search our shelves or log into digital services such as Hoopla or Libby by Overdrive to find librarians saving priceless manuscripts, solving crimes, and much, much more.


The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk

“Liesl Weiss has been (mostly) happy working in the rare books department of a large university, managing details and working behind the scenes to make the head of the department look good. But when her boss has a stroke and she’s left to run things, she discovers that the library’s most prized manuscript is missing. Liesl tries to sound the alarm and inform the police about the missing priceless book but is told repeatedly to keep quiet to keep the doors open and the donors happy. But then a librarian goes missing as well. Liesl must investigate both disappearances, unspooling her colleagues’ pasts like the threads of a rare book binding as it becomes clear that someone in the department must be responsible for the theft. What Liesl discovers about the dusty manuscripts she has worked among for so long-and about the people who preserve and revere them-shakes the very foundation on which she has built her life”–


The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

“Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years–a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II–an experience Eva remembers well–and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral-und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from–or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer–but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war? As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.”–Amazon.


The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

“In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white–her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go-for the protection of her family and her legacy-to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives”–


The Librarian Spy: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin

Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the U.S. military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence. Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them. As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.


The Lost Book of Bonn by Brianna Labuskes

“Germany, 1946: Emmy Clarke is a librarian not a soldier. But that doesn’t stop the Library of Congress from sending her overseas to Germany to help the Monuments Men retrieve and catalog precious literature that was plundered by the Nazis. The Offenbach Archival Depot and its work may get less attention than returning art to its rightful owners, but for Emmy, who sees the personalized messages on the inside of the books and the notes in margins of pages, it feels just as important. On Emmy’s first day at work, she finds a poetry collection by Rainer Maria Rilke, and on the title page is a handwritten dedication: “To Annelise, my brave Edelweiss Pirate.” Emmy is instantly intrigued by the story behind the dedication and becomes determined to figure out what happened. The hunt for the rightful owner of the book leads Emmy to two sisters, a horrific betrayal, and an extraordinary protest against the Nazis that was held in Berlin at the height of the war. Nearly a decade earlier, hundreds of brave women gathered in the streets after their Jewish husbands were detained by the Gestapo. Through freezing rain and RAF bombings, the women faced down certain death and did what so few others dared to do under the Third Reich. They said no. Emmy grapples with her own ghosts as she begins to wonder if she’s just chasing two more. What she finds instead is a powerful story of love, forgiveness, and courage that brings light to even the darkest of postwar days”


The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

“Paris, 1939. Young, ambitious, and tempestuous, Odile Souchet has it all: Paul, her handsome police officer beau; Margaret, her best friend from England; her adored twin brother Remy; and a dream job at the American Library in Paris, working alongside the library’s legendary director, Dorothy Reeder. But when World War II breaks out, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear–including her beloved library. After the invasion, as the Nazis declare a war on words and darkness falls over the City of Light, Odile and her fellow librarians join the Resistance with the best weapons they have: books. They risk their lives again and again to help their fellow Jewish readers. When the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal. Montana, 1983. Odile’s solitary existence in gossipy small-town Montana is unexpectedly interrupted by Lily, her neighbor, a lonely teenager longing for adventure. As Lily uncovers more about Odile’s mysterious past, they find they share a love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy. Odile helps Lily navigate the troubled waters of adolescence by always recommending just the right book at the right time, never suspecting that Lily will be the one to help her reckon with her own terrible secret. Based on the true story of the American Library in Paris, The Paris Library explores the geography of resentment, the consequences of terrible choices made, and how extraordinary heroism can be found in the quietest of places”


The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

Describes how a group of Timbuktu librarians enacted a daring plan to smuggle the city’s great collection of rare Islamic manuscripts away from the threat of destruction at the hands of Al Qaeda militants to the safety of southern Mali.


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

“Information Hunters examines the unprecedented American effort to acquire foreign publications and information in World War II Europe. An unlikely band of librarians, scholars, soldiers, and spies went to Europe to collect books and documents to aid the Allies’ cause. They travelled to neutral cities to find enemy publications for intelligence analysis and followed advancing armies to capture records in a massive program of confiscation. After the war, they seized Nazi works from bookstores and schools and gathered together countless looted Jewish books. Improvising library techniques in wartime conditions, they contributed to Allied intelligence, preserved endangered books, engaged in restitution, and participated in the denazification of book collections. Information Hunters explores what collecting meant to the men and women who embarked on these missions, and how the challenges of a total war led to an intense focus on books and documents. It uncovers the worlds of collecting, in spy-ridden Stockholm and Lisbon, in liberated Paris and devastated Berlin, and in German caves and mineshafts. The wartime collecting missions had lasting effects. They intensified the relationship between libraries and academic institutions, on the one hand, and the government and military, on the other. Book and document acquisition became part of the apparatus of national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction. These efforts also spurred the development of information science and boosted research libraries’ ambitions to be great national repositories for research and the dissemination of knowledge that would support American global leadership, politically and intellectually.”


The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

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. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend–her grandmother Zelda–who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.


The Librarianist by Patrick DeWitt

“Bob Comet is a retired librarian, isolated but not lonely, living out his quiet days in a mint-colored house in Oregon, surrounded by his books and small comforts. One morning, out on his daily walk, he performs an act of kindness that brings him into contact with a nearby senior center, where he soon begins volunteering. Here, as a community of peers and friends gathers around Bob, and following a happenstance brush with a painful complication from his past, the events of his life and the details of his character are revealed. Behind Bob Comet’s plain facade is the story of an unhappy child’s runaway adventure, of true love found and stolen away, of the purpose and pride found in vocation, and the ultimate acceptance of a life lived to the side of the masses.”


The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

“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. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested–the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something–secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option–because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself..”


Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly

“In 2003 New York, a genderqueer book conservator who feels trapped by her gender presentation, ill-fitting relationship, and artistic block discovers a decades-old hidden queer love letter and becomes obsessed with tracking down its author”–


The Widening Stain by W. Bolingbroke Johnson

“Murders plague a university library…and only an intrepid book cataloger can solve them. For the staff of the library at the center of The Widening Stain, it’s easy enough to dismiss the death of a woman who fell from a rolling ladder as nothing more than an unfortunate accident. It’s more difficult, however, to explain away the strangled corpse of a man found inside a locked room, surrounded by rare and obscure erotica. And that’s not all…a valuable manuscript has vanished from the stacks, which means that both a killer and a thief are loose in the facility’s hallowed halls. It’s up to chief cataloger Gilda Gorham to solve the crimes but, unless she’s careful, the next death in the library might just be her own…”