1. evelyn carnahan (rachel weisz), more commonly known as “evy” from the mummy and the mummy returns. (i haven’t seen the third movie because i don’t really care if weisz isn’t involved and i’m not a big fan of maria bello.) anyway, how can you not give pride of place to someone who declares with great pride, although also great drunkenness, “i am proud of what i am. i — am a librarian!” plus she rescues people with great elan, doesn’t panic when kidnapped by resurrected mummies, and translates very quickly.
so when, during the week, i found it necessary to utter a moan or two (again) about jocasta nu, my least favorite film librarian of all time (more on her in a minute), my roommate, anna, semi-dared me to come up with a list of the top 10 best to worst film librarians.
so here we go.
2. bunny watson (katherine hepburn), from desk set. i even went so far as to check on imdb.com to make sure that “bunny” really was the only name for this character. it is. the research library in this movie is so far out of date as to be funny now — the computer is the big bad villain of the piece and it’s about as big as a large walk-in closet. but ms. watson is great — a wonderful, funny, helpful reference librarian. and it’s a really sweet, little-known hepburn/tracy romantic comedy with a great supporting cast. my dvd version even has this awesome little documentary on it about how hepburn’s wardrobe for the film was promoted to catch on as ‘librarian chic’!
3. flynn carsen (noah wyle), from the librarian: quest for the spear. “what is this — slap the librarian day!” his version of library science is definitely more action-oriented than the ordinary run-of-the-mill variety — much more kidnapping and running and nearly getting abducted and/or murdered than i see going on at the bpl. but, in the end, books are important, and what you know in your heart is important, too. oh, and don’t listen to the books if they tell you to hurt small animals. that’s important, too.
4. dean corso (johnny depp), from the ninth gate. this is a little unfair since dean corso isn’t technically a librarian; he’s a rare books dealer. but i’m putting him in the list ’cause…well, it’s my list. also, because his knowledge of books borders on the encyclopedic and i love the libraries he gets to use in the movie even if he isn’t working there. and both the film the ninth gate and the club dumas on which it is based are very worth while.
5. CAL (eve newton), from doctor who: silence in the library and doctor who: forest of the dead. this is also a tad bit unfair since CAL isn’t a librarian so much as a library system, but i still think she’s fairly cool. the ailing daughter of a very clever (and rich) family immortalized as the controlling intelligence behind the main cataloging and data computer for a library the size of a planet. she’s got a few problems — like alien intelligences are oozing out of her books, taking over the planet, and eating people — but other than that, she’s doing quite well and she does save everybody.
6. tanis (steven mackintosh), from underworld: evolution. a vampire librarian/historian/archivist. what’s not to love? okay, he’s in exile ’cause he pissed off the leader of his clan by remembering a few things he shouldn’t have but he’s still in pretty classy exile. people do keep breaking into his house and demanding he tell them things, but he mostly seems to have a pretty sweet deal going.
7. marian the librarian (shirley jones), from the music man. just has to be on the list. love or hate ‘marian the librarian,’ we’ve all heard the jokes.
8. any of the librarians from the name of the rose: the abbot, malachi, berengar, and, if i’m remembering right, jorge of burgos into the bargain (as well as numerous other monks whose names i don’t even come close to recalling). their cataloging scheme defies description for complexity, their stacks are a maze (literally) — freedom of information and accessibility are really just words to these guys. words with which they are not familiar.
9. sloan (morgan freeman), from wanted. again, i’m getting by on a technicality here. if sloan is really anything, he’s probably more of a sibylline interpreter, creating “truth” out of the patterns woven in cloth. but, since he not only interprets, but also keeps and stores the cloth pieces and the records of the assassin fraternity of which he is the head, i’m calling him an archivist. (just think of the number of textile storage boxes he must buy!) but he is definitely not the guy to take as your role model — not only is he restricting certain privileged information to his own use, he is perverting the use of that information for his own ends. not good, people, not good!
10. jocasta nu (alethea mcgrath), from star wars: attack of the clones. possibly the worst librarian i have ever seen on film. ever. not only does she give her patron cursory, verging on the outright rude, treatment, she also tells him his question is ridiculous because the information in the archives “can’t be wrong.” argh! someone promote her into retirement. (but, hopefully, before revenge of the sith because i don’t dislike her that much.)
honorary mention: ianto jones (gareth david-lloyd), from torchwood. he insists he knows everything and, often, he seems to. i’m not sure which is more worrying.
an additional honorary mention i should be ashamed of forgetting the first time around (he really should be on the main list, but i don’t feel like renumbering the whole thing and thank you, diana, for pointing out the gap!)
rupert giles (anthony stewart-head), from buffy the vampire slayer. i have to blame his omission the first time around on cold medication because there really is no other excuse. i mean, he watched “passions” with spike. this isn’t strictly a librarian’s job, true, but it just goes to prove that giles was just damn cool.