Evil Librarians Take Over the World and Other Book Recommendations

Perhaps the only thing better than visiting the library to check out books is reading an exciting page turner set in a library (or a parallel universe library)!

Evil librarians take over the world…mysterious books that unlock secrets…strange murders in the stacks. If you can think of a story plot set in a library, there’s a good chance it’s available on our shelves.

And that’s not all. We’ve got the true stories of librarians and the amazing work they do to preserve and share books and knowledge around the world.

In celebration of #NationalLibraryWeek, we’ve pulled together 28 book and film recommendations, for readers of all ages, that honor libraries and librarians (even the evil ones). The theme for 2019 National Library Week is Libraries = Strong Communities!

Adult Fiction

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, finds a mysterious book that holds the key to a curse that has haunted a family of traveling circus performers for generations. Also eBook on OverDrive.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
When her favorite patron, a book-loving ten-year-old, runs away from overbearing parents who force him to attend anti-gay classes with a celebrity pastor, children’s librarian Lucy Hull flees with the boy and discovers that they are being pursued by an anonymous adversary.  Also eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates
Featuring Lucy Richardson, librarian and resident of the Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks. The first in the series is “By Book or by Crook.”

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Susan Halpern
A head librarian trying to forget the painful realities of her suburban past unexpectedly bonds with a teenager performing community service, a disgruntled former Wall Street high flyer, and other offbeat regulars who encourage her out of her self-imposed isolation.

Science Fiction / Fantasy

The Invisible Library (Series) by Genevieve Cogman
In the first book in the series, an undercover librarian who works for an occult organization that collects books from different realities must determine what happened to a particularly dangerous book that has been stolen and becomes mired in a mystery infused with peril and conflicting clues. Also eBooks via OverDrive.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (Series) (DVD and eVideo)
When a piece of the magical Spear of Destiny goes missing from the Metropolitan Library’s secret collection of artifacts, it is up to a meek librarian and his female bodyguard to keep it out of the hands of an evil brotherhood.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
After she and a dozen other children found them being raised by “Father,” a cruel man with mysterious powers, Carolyn and her “siblings” begin to think he might be God; so when he dies, they square off against each other to determine who will inherit his library, which they believe holds the power to all Creation. Also eBook via OverDrive.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
A boy seeks out a book at the city library, only to be trapped there by a cruel old man and forced to read for days, stuffing knowledge into his brain, which the old man intends to slurp up.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Also audiobook CD and eAudiobook via OverDrive.


The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer
The true story of Timbuktu librarians who 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. Also audiobook CD and eAudiobook.

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library directed by Frederick Wiseman (Film)
Available via Kanopy. Go behind the scenes of one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world and  place of welcoming cultural exchange and learning.

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan
From a patron’s missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, hear about the oddities that have come across the circulation desk.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
The unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—our libraries. Also eBook and eAudiobook via OverDrive.

The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
A public librarian author’s inspiring story as a Mormon youth with Tourette’s Syndrome who after a sequence of radical and ineffective treatments overcame nightmarish tics through education, military service and strength training. Also audiobook CD and Large Print.

Teen Books

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
Feeling suspicious about a gorgeous high school librarian who has become the object of her best friend’s affections, Cynthia discovers that the man is actually a demon who is sucking the life force from the entire student population.

Ink and Bone (Great Library Series #1) by Rachel Caine
In a world where the Great Library of Alexandria governs the flow of information to the people, Jess discovers that those who control the Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than human life after his friend inadvertently commits heresy.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
The story follows Dita Kraus from age fourteen, when she is put in charge of a few forbidden books at Auschwitz concentration camp, through the end of World War II and beyond. Based on a true story. Also eBook via OverDrive.

Library Wars: Love & War (series) by Kiiro Yumi
Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore, but now that she’s a recruit, her dream job is more like a nightmare.

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Zanna and Deeba inadvertently enter UnLondon, an alternative London inhabited by the flotsam and jetsam of normal life, which is threatened by Smog – a living poisonous cloud – and which is awaiting a leader in the Shwazzy. Also eBook via OverDrive.

Children & Tween

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (Book #1 in series) by Chris Grabenstein
Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape. Also audiobook CD, Playaway, and eBook and eAudiobook via OverDrive.

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
The true story of how Alia Baker, the librarian of the Basra library, and her friends managed to save the books of the library before the library was burned to the ground during the 2003 Iraq War.

My Librarian is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs
An intriguing photo essay shows the many unconventional ways that librarians deliver books to children who live in remote areas, including by boat, bus, train, elephant, donkey, and even wheelbarrow. Also eBook via OverDrive.

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land.

Tomás y la Senora de la Biblioteca / Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomás finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library.

Picture Books

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
Bored with another normal, inky evening, bats discover an open library window and fly in to enjoy the photocopier, water fountain, and especially the books and stories found there.

Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book by Alexander Stadler
When Beverly Billingsly receives her new Piedmont Public Library card, she can’t wait to borrow a book, but when she forgets to return her book by its due date, she fears that she will never be able to borrow a book again.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore / Los Fantasticos Libros Voladores del Sr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Morris Lessmore loves words, stories and books, and after a tornado carries him to another land, dreary and colorless, he finds a single book in color that leads him to an amazing library where, he learns, the books need him as much as he needs them.

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara / La Biblioteca Nocturna
The story of a late-night library follows the efforts of a librarian and her three assistant owls to help everyone find the perfect book in the middle of the night only to have their peace and quiet disrupted by mischievous animals.

National Library Week (April 7- 13, 2019) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for 2019 National Library Week is Libraries = Strong Communities!