Librarians are usually thought of as quiet, bookish types. If there's any pushback on this image in the public mind, it's the aggressive shusher of noisy children. However, this doesn't do justice to what librarians do. Librarians are information scientists, researchers, teachers, crusaders. Also, book nerds, but that's not the story's end! A Master's in Library Science is what makes someone a librarian. As Doctor Who's Alice Obiefune was fond of reminding The Doctor, without the MLS you're a library assistant.
These guys, though? These guys get it. These are librarians as adventurers, fighters, crusaders, weirdos. The people who assist heroes, chronicle truths, and otherwise improve the world. Next time you check out a book, understand that the brilliant mind on the counter's other side could be...
10 Vanessa Cubbins (Something Positive)
Vanessa is Davan MacIntire's wife in the long-running webcomic Something Positive. Through SP's cynical lens, readers have followed her journey through library school. As a graduate student she's taught classes, fought with students over grades, and worried about the job market.
All this while dressed as a delightfully angry bisexual pink dinosaur! Vanessa's shy but sharp, and doesn't let anyone walk over her making her a role model for introverts everywhere.
9 Love Händel's 'Swampy'
The former drummer in the hair metal band Love Händel, Swampy lost his sense of rhythm when he was trapped in a metronome factory. He became a librarian and was happy with his job until terrifying child-gods Phineas and Ferb found him. The two were trying to get their parents' favorite band back together as an anniversary present.
Like everything the siblings attempt, they were able to cure Swampy's musical impairment and he rejoined his band. Evidence suggests he still plays with the band for fun, but enjoys his work with the LOL (League of Little Old Ladies) that secretly run libraries (and most other institutions that keep society running).
8 Eleanor Twitty (Ghostbusters)
Her appearance at the beginning of the original Ghostbusters (1984) is brief but unforgettable. Eleanor Twitty is the ghost that haunts the New York Public Library. More importantly, she's the ghost who got away!
Mostly content to invisibly reshelve books, Twitty was originally confronted first by a shocked (living) librarian and then by the newly-formed 'Busters. Things went bad for the team when they ignored her warning ("Shhhh!") and Ray shouted "Get her!"
They did not get her. Good for Eleanor, not taking their guff.
7 Tammy 2
Fans of Parks and Recreation will recognize Ron Swanson's scheming second wife, Tammy 2. She's a bit of a villain, but like a lot of villains, truly awesome. She's one of the only people that can stand up to both Leslie Knope's and Ron's iron wills. The mere fact that she still has Ron wrapped around her finger illustrates this, as does the sheer psychotic lengths she'll go to to get to him.
Pawnee's Deputy Director of Library Services, she's still willing to forgo dignity by living in Ron's house for 6 days on "rats and rainwater" to get a crack at him. Also props to her for proving that "middle aged librarian" and "master seductress" aren't mutually exclusive career paths.
A man with no last name, Lucien the Librarian works as librarian for Dream of the Endless in Neil Gaiman's Sandman. His immaculate library holds every book that has never been written, imagined but unpenned, from Melville's The Minnow to The Great American Novel everyone talks about writing.
Lucien is characterized by quiet kindness. After Dream's death/rebirth, Lucien is the first to forgive his friend Nuala, a fairy whose mistake helped kill the Sandman. Long before she could pardon herself he was there to offer a friend's absolution.
5 Maggie Leigh (N0S4A2)
Joe Hill's 2013 horror novel N0S4A2 (and the AMC show of the same name) features people with powers... but ah! What powers! Vic McQueen, the hero, has the ability to jump on her bicycle and find anything she's looking for.
When she goes looking for help, she finds Maggie Leigh. A children's librarian with purple hair and tattoos, Leigh is funny and sharp. Armed with only a fake gun-- Chekov's gun, to be precise-- and an oracular bag of Scrabble tiles Leigh's the one brave enough to help Vic take down the monstrous Charles Talent Manx III.
4 Rupert Giles
A credit to school librarians everywhere, Giles is Buffy "The Vampire Slayer" Summers' Watcher. He guides and trains her. More importantly, he gives the study-averse Slayer both the information and the fatherly affection she's sorely lacking throughout the series. He also protects her from the other Watchers, one of the keys to Buffy's long-term survival.
Giles is smart, awkward, and tweedy as well as dashing and quietly rebellious. His past as a magical bad boy comes as a terrific surprise in the second season, as does his previous identity as "Ripper." Giles is an able magician and fighter, and the Scooby Gang's father figure. He's also the only one in the group morally flexible enough to save the world when someone has to die to do it. Not the first quality one looks for in a librarian, but a good trait to have at the gates of Hell.
3 Unseen University's Librarian
Ook! Terry Pratchett's Discworld has its share of curiosities, but one of the most charismatic is the orangutan who guards the forbidden stacks of its premier wizarding school's library. A wizard accidentally transformed into an orange-furred ape, the Librarian has resisted all attempts to undo the metamorphosis. He likes being a fantastically ugly critter with no speech but more than 6 times the strength of a strong man.
The Librarian is a brawler, sometime adventurer, and drinker but that doesn't mean he's bad at his job. Brachiating through the shelves, he can find any book with ease. He no longer uses magic, but he knows his way around a spell so well that no other wizards will cross him. He treats the information in his care like his children. In a land without printing presses, each datum is unique and beautiful. He also serves as the University's (British) football goalie, much to the chagrin of any player who gets too close.
2 Barbara Gordon
Like most superheroes with distinguished pedigrees, there are a lot of Barbara Gordons in pop culture. Co-created by the infamously misogynistic Gardner Fox, Babs is now a feminist icon. She's been Batgirl for over 50 years. Ally to the Batman, on the 1966 television series she was the damsel-in-distress who could turn the tables on her captors.
In comics she's long been Commissioner Jim Gordon's lovingly rebellious daughter. Brilliant and brave, she highlights librarians' Information Science skills through her computer expertise and superhuman fact-finding powers. After the Joker paralyzed her legs in The Killing Joke she showed that a potent hero doesn't have to punch criminals in the teeth. Instead, she took on the mantle of master researcher and champion of knowledge, Oracle.
1 Nancy Pearl
Even in pop culture, achievements in reality beat triumphs in fiction. The Deputy Director of the Seattle Public Library, Pearl's had a significant impact on pop culture through her show, Book Lust. She regularly does readers' advisory (book recommendation) work on NPR's Morning Edition and writes book reviews for The Seattle Times and Library Journal. If that wasn't enough, she's written multiple books, not just on readers' advisory but also a memoir and a novel. Finally, as an editor, she's brought 12 out-of-print books back from extinction thus far.
Plus, she's the model for the Librarian Action Figure, "with real shushing action." She's fun, takes herself not at all seriously, and provides hope for the flowers.
Okay, that's all everybody. Read a book!