The Greatest Books about Libraries and Librarians
The April reading challenge prompt is a story set in a library, so we asked Guest Blogger Rachel, from Never Enough Novels, to round up her favorite books about libraries and librarians.
If you are looking for more book lists about books, head here for our Ultimate List of Books about Books.
Before we get into the book list, we asked Rachel to tell us a little about herself.
Rachel from Never Enough Novels
Never Enough Novels has evolved from a personal diary/lifestyle/travel/reading log into a blog that’s dedicated to helping readers find their next great book. I primarily share mini-reviews of what I’m reading, unique themed book lists, and upcoming new releases to add to your TBR list!
I’m a frequent visitor to my local library, so naturally, I adore reading books set in libraries or featuring librarians as the main character. Libraries are inherently magical places that all look and feel different but serve the same purpose of putting books in everyone’s hands.
In case you’re “overdue” for reading books set in libraries, this booklist will be a great starting point to find one you’ll love!
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Books about Libraries
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
A nonfiction option to add to your list of books set in libraries! Explore the role that libraries play in our lives through a detailed investigation into the fire that consumed the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986.
If your local library has touched your life in some way, you’ll easily get caught up in this exploration of their purpose in communities. Plus, the bonus unsolved mystery of how the library caught fire ensures this nonfiction book is an engaging read!
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
What makes this story different from all the other WWII books is the setting – The American Library in Paris. I mean, it’s basically destined to be on our list of books about libraries. It’s fascinating to hear about the librarians and how they tried to help their Jewish subscribers and American patrons during the war. The story will have you thinking about the war in a new light.
The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick
When librarian Martha Storm finds a book of fairytales on her doorstep she is intrigued. When she reads the dedication written to her by her grandmother who had died three years before the inscription, she is inspired to find answers. Martha uncovers secrets in her past that will change her life as she knows it.
A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan
This middle-grade story revolves around Jaime, who is being punished with community service hours at the library for the summer after she did something wrong in school. Jaime is reluctant to volunteer at first but quickly grows to love the staff and regulars at the library. This is a wonderful story of kids and adults that shows the community aspect of a library.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Another middle-grade story that adults will enjoy too. Mr. Lemoncello’s library is one of a kind. It’s full of holograms, logic puzzles, and hidden games. To officially open the new library, a few lucky kids get to spend the night inside as they try to win Mr. Lemoncello’s game and be the first team to escape.
Fantasy Books about Libraries
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
This is an impossible novel to describe in a few sentences! It features stories within stories, secret societies, an underground library and a prolonged fight to protect it. This is a slow burn with an ambiguous ending, so prepare yourself for quite a journey.
I actually highly recommend listening to this one on audio if you can since it has a full cast! I adored hearing the various stories told by different actors.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Delve into the world of fantasy with this scholarly novel that explores the history of witches, wizards, and vampres. Diana is an Oxford scholar who discovers an ancient manuscript in the Bodleian Library that triggers a magical reactin. She quickly realizes that there are creatures who will go to any lengths necessary to find this book.
However, an unexpected alliance forms with Matthew, a vampire who has spent centuries searching for this manuscript. When he meets Diana though, he cannot help but protect her as she discovers her magical heritage and new powers.
A blend of heart-pounding action and historical study, this book was the perfect mix of fantasy and history. It’s one of my favorites on my list of Halloween Books For Adults!
Adore this series? Check out our list of books like A Discovery of Witches!
The Librarian by Christy Sloat
This is the perfect book for fans of Outlander! When Emme’s grandmother dies, she agrees to take over Gram’s library despite plans to head to college abroad. When she opens a book from Gra’s special collection, she finds herself face to face with Jack Ridgewell in 1892 England. Emme is part of an elite group of women who can travel to the past through books. When it comes to fantasy books about libraries, this one redefines the meaning of book boyfriend.
Books about Librarians
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murphy
This fictionalized version of Belle de Costa Greene was wonderful, I’m so glad it was a GMA pick!
Greene was J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian and later the librarian for his heir. She was also a black woman passing as white. She had to keep her roots hidden in order to hold her job, but I’m glad her real truth is being told now.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
The good sister is a psychological thriller that will keep you on your toes until the very end. Fern and Rose are twins who have always had each other. Rose is the responsible one who has always looked out for Fern.
Fern has trouble reading social situations, doesn’t like loud noises and makes dangerous mistakes all the time.
Rose’s most important job was protecting Fern from their crazy mother. When Fern decides to have a baby for Rose, secrets start to come out. This one will keep you guessing until the end and even then, you’ll be thinking about this book.
The Time Traveler’s Wife By Audrey Niffenegger
Clare and Henry have an unusual love story. They’ve known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, but got married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry was thirty-one. You see, Henry is an adventurous librarian who inadvertently travels through time.
I adore how this story explores very real challenges that any couple faces. With the added time travel element, it become an unforgettable read.
While I realize there is only the loose librarian connection to this book list, Henry and Clare’s story is one of my all-time favorites and it shouldn’t be missed.
What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Another addition to this list that features a librarian as the main character! In simple terms, Samantha is a school librarian who joins with the other teachers to try to save their beautiful, creative school from a strict new principal.
Throughout the pages, it also turns into a story about dealing with grief and fear and opening your heart to new ways to love. This novel is ultimately the complete embodiment of joy. I honestly adored it and when I ranked my Top 10 books of 2020, this came in at #2!
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Between life and death, there is a library filled with an infinite number of books. When Nora arrives, she is faced with every possible alternative life she could have lived. She must find her best life before time runs out. What happens when you’re given the chance to see how your life would turn out if you’d made different choices?
This is a fascinating exploration of how our assumptions about alternative life choices may not be entirely accurate. There are always opportunities to take control of our own life and make changes to get what we want and need. A quick, moving novel that also forces you to think!
Lucy’s Little Village Book Club by Emma Davies
This cute story in a one sitting read. The story revolves around the six members of a local library book club. Strangers become friends, lovers, and family — and everyone gets a happy ending! This book is a great palate cleanser.
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonia Itrube
It’s hard not to mention this story in a round-up of books about librarians, even if the librarian in this story is a unique case. This is the true story of Dita Kraus who was a 14-year-old girl when she went to Auschwitz. She worked as the “librarian” in the children’s block.
The book gives an in-depth look at the day-to-day survival of people in the camp. The book is difficult to read but is ultimately a book about bravery and real-life heroes.
Books about Traveling Librarians
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
If you love historical fiction and books about libraries, you’ll adore this unique story about the packhorse librarians of Kentucky. Facing difficult terrain, distrust from locals, lack of funding and support, and every type of foul weather, these incredible women brought books to rural families in need.
I easily gave this one 5 stars, which is why it showed up on my list of the best books I read in the first half of 2020! This is one of the best books about traveling librarians.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
I can’t mention The Giver of Stars without also including The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. There was a bit of drama surrounding these two books since they feature two very similar stories, were released around the same time, and one is written by an already famous author.
Read this novel as well to compare and contrast how these two writers tell the story of rural librarians of Kentucky!
The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
Escape to the western coast of Ireland in this novel about a woman fighting to save her community’s traveling library and find herself along the way.
Hanna is back in her tiny hometown after leaving behind her city lifestyle and cheating husband. As she tries to save her job as the local librarian and restore an old cottage, she comes to realize these people she was happy to leave behind mean more to her than she ever expected.
As usual, what a great blog post! This is one of my favorite genres! Great work, ladies!
Thank you! Did we miss any of your favorites?
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