Friday, March 20, 2015

MOVIE MADNESS: Libraries in the Movies!

Let us give Wesley of Library Educated a warm welcome.  She is here today to talk . . . LIBRARIES!  And, not just any libraries, but some of the best libraries featured in literary movies!  Read on, enjoy, and please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Tif and I were brainstorming about ideas for this post and we agreed on a post that would talk about libraries and librarians in movies. I decided to take it a step farther. We’re going to talk about libraries and librarians that are featured in movies that are based on books! Another layer of literary fun!

“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco/ The Name of the Rose directed by Jean-Jacques Annard

In the 14th century, a friar, William of Baskerville (played in the movie by Sean Connery) and his novice Adso of Melk (in the movie, a very young Christian Slater) is sent to a monastery high in the mountains of northern Italy to solve the mystery of some disturbing deaths, all members of the monastery’s famous scriptorium. The movie is filled with intrigue, lies, shady pasts and a hidden labyrinth of a library. I love this movie! It feels moody and grim, the library is mesmerizing and the setting is beautiful AND scary somehow. Also, Sean Connery, come on!

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by JK Rowling/ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire directed by Mike Newell 

Obviously, books and the library come into play in all of the Harry Potter books, but we’re going to focus in on one: Goblet of Fire! When you need the answers about surviving underwater, who do you turn to? Books and the library of course! And Neville, with his love for all things botanical, can’t forget him. And you can’t talk about any of the Harry Potter books without talking about Hermione, the girl who was always hauling around a book and had all the answers. She would have been prime librarian material! This personally is my favorite Harry Potter movie, and not just because I find a certain Bulgarian Krumdidlyumptious!

“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” by Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neil and Bill Oakley/ The League of Extraordinary Gentleman directed by Stephen Norrington 

Do you have a movie, that even though you know it’s not really a good movie you love it anyway? That’s LXG for me. But how can you blame me? (There are multiple volumes of the graphic novel, so if the premise intrigues you but you don’t like the movie there’s still hope to be found in the source material!) Characters pulled from some of literature’s greatest hits are recruited to form basically a literary superhero group to fight supervillains also pulled from literature. The members of this super league meet each other in a beautiful setting, a medieval library. What makes this library so wonderful is that it actually exists! And you can visit it! It’s the library at the Strahov Monastery in Prague and it appears to be just as beautiful in real life as it is in the movie. There’s also a scene in a library in the home of the mysterious Dorian Grey… (Also another Sean Connery movie, unintended theme!)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood/ The Handmaid’s Tale directed by Volker Schlöndorff 

To begin with, have you read this book? If you haven’t, please read this book. If I had the ability to stick one book in the hand of everyone I knew, this would probably be it.

It’s hard to even sum up in a few sentences but here it goes: The world is awful. There’s been all kinds of disasters and this incredibly scary government comes to power. Women who aren’t aristocratic (or are in some kind of way “criminal”) are forced to be handmaids. It’s their job to get pregnant by high ranking men (who are married) in a demeaning ritual once a month that also involves their wives. They get 3 chances with three different couples and if they don’t get pregnant they get sent to the colonies (not somewhere you want to go). Offred is one such handmaid. She used to be a librarian before things went to hell in a handbasket. Her situation is a little different because her assigned male sex partner is The Commander, and he takes an interest in her as a person. They sit in his library/office and play Scrabble and drink liquor (all of this a big no-no). Some of these evenings are where Offred learns more than any other handmaid usually does…


  1. Other really memorable ones are the Beast's in Beautity and the Beast and the one in Clone Wars. And who doesn't remember the big X in the library floor of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?

  2. I had no idea that there was a movie from The Handmaid's Tale. It really makes me want to re-read this one and then watch the movie again, and not just for the library!

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