Countering the “shushing librarians” stereotype in animated series

A screencap from the fifth episode of the new series, City of Ghosts, “Bob & Nancy.” While these subtitles call it a “library person” (who later does the shhh! a second time), it is implied, if we use the stereotype as a basis, that this is referring to a librarian!

After watching the aforementioned series on Netflix, where an unnamed character shushes the protagonists, called a library person, but implied to be a librarian, as previously stated, I decided that it was time to examine shushing librarians in animation particularly since that’s the main form of popular culture I’ve focused on this blog. Clearly, the assertion by Beth Yeagley in 1999 that “wearing hair in a bun and shushing patrons” are gone and that librarians in major roles, between 1989 and 1999, are “portrayed even more positively than other movie librarians, especially regarding physical characteristics,” has not shown to not be true after that point. As such, this post analyzes librarians in DC Super Girls, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Owl House, Big City GreensCarl SquaredCourage the Cowardly DogKim PossibleThe Replacements, Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil, Martin Mystery, Teamo Supremo, Codename: Kids Next Door, Dexter’s Laboratory, Timon & Pumbaa, Rugrats, and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, noting negative stereotypes in each of those series, along with a librarian in Archie’s Weird Mysteries countering the stereotype in an interesting way.

First, I’d like to summarize this stereotype, which is close to the Scary Librarian trope, related to other tropes like “sadist teacher,” “spooky silent library,” and “evil librarian.” More positive, obstinately, stereotypes, are “badass bookworm” and “magic librarian,” but can be problematic, as can the “hot librarian” trope. [1] There have been various explanations for this stereotype. Anna Gooding-Hall of Book Riot writes that the shushing librarian stereotype comes from the era when “libraries were silent, tomblike places where patrons were to be seen and not heard” which evokes a “petty tyrant enforcing a dumb minor rule to extremes,” the problematic idea of putting a shusher, often a woman, in a dominant position, and the fact that is “barely a match for reality” because such direct shushing happens very little these days. [2] Others have noted that this stereotype, manifested in a elder white woman as a ghostly librarian which famously appeared in the opening scene of Ghostbusters, the librarian with tentacles in Monsters University, or the librarian (Mrs. Lima) in Transformers: Rescue Bots. Librarians have rightly noted that librarians are more than “a silence-obsessed, stacks-dwelling hermit” or the middle-aged bun-wearing, shushing, and “comfortably shod” librarian. Librarians have objected to this, saying it is worrisome because they do not patrons to see them as someone to ignore because of assumptions they make about librarians from movie or TV show portrayals, waging war against these negative stereotypes. Some have argued that that is a “lot to be said for shushing” because some patrons like quiet places, noted that there is still a need for “quiet” in our communities which should not be lost, or asserted that librarians themselves are perpetuating the stereotype in their actions. [3] The latter is the only one that seems to have some validity, even as some people do like quiet spaces, including this writer. On the other hand, it has been noted that there an ever-expanding, and exhaustive, list of job responsibilities for public librarians, coming far from the hackneyed hushing librarian stereotype, centered around personality traits, with libraries as more than warehouses that store books. A blogspot called Librarians on YouTube, abandoned over six years ago, says that many when they think of librarians think of “the stereotypical bespectacled old lady with a bun in her hair and a finger to her lips ready to shush anyone and everyone,” adding that librarians have spent a good deal of effort and time into breaking those stigmas, attempting to “highlight the breadth and variety of individuals…that make up this unique and extremely vital vocation.” [4] They add that still there is a “definite archetype” for how a librarian is supposed to act and look, which has permeated representation of the field, with librarians often ridiculed or portrayed with the “same basic broad strokes.”

As for Jennifer Snoek-Brown, she added that while she values the need for quiet zones in libraries, but that she will be in her community college library, “doing my job and helping my users — not with a bang or a whisper, but with a smile.” [5] Snoek-Brown says that this is close to the stereotypes of “spinster librarian” and “anti-social librarian” she has written about. I’d like to add to this based on a program which Snoek-Brown gave, titled “Shush-ers, Spinsters, and Sirens: Exploring Librarians in Film” which she shared with me when preparing some posts for Reel Librarians. In her introduction, she addresses those stereotypes, focusing on a number of Hollywood films with “Shush-ers, Spinsters & Sirens,” for instance. [6] Now, onto the series!

 

Female librarian in the DC Super Hero Girls episode “#SoulSisters Part 2

While this librarian, voiced by Kimberly D. Brooks (a Black woman), is justified in telling Diana to be quiet, as her phone is loudly going off and disturbing everyone, and shushes Diana’s friend, Tatsu, pointing to a sign labeled “no loud fighting,” which is kind of hilarious. Then, she shushes Diana and Tatsu again, for the third time in the episode. The librarian then says no loud fighting is the best they can hope for in Metropolis. Diana and Tatsu proceed to fight in the stacks, quietly, until they cause all the stacks to fall like dominoes, then they are, rightly, kicked out of the library. That’s the only thing this librarian does right! I mean, they probably should have been told to leave the library much earlier, since they are literally fighting there.

Turtle Princess in Adventure Time episode “Paper Pete

In this episode, Finn and Jake go to the library, with Finn trying to perk Jake up, who is reading a book about Rainicorns, as his girlfriend is a Rainicorn. The Turtle Princess (voiced by Steve Little) shushes Finn because he is making “too much noise” (he really isn’t). When he shouts that there are pages coming out of the books (later identified as the paperlings, everyone shushes him. He later works with the pagelings to discover the secret lair of the Moldos, and the episode goes from there. The Turtle Princess shushing him added nothing to the episode and was not needed, as it could have been written a different way. One librarian writes about this episode, noting that while the silent library is a “quickly changing idea, it is…sometimes necessary for a librarian to moderate the noise level in the space so that other patrons are not bothered” but adds that while this is necessary, “people still negatively relate the stereotype to librarians.” The same blogpost points to the episode “The Real You” where Turtle Princess kicks out Finn and Jake from the library because of their nose, calling it a “harsh reaction.” I agree with that, it definitely a harsh reaction. [7]

Female librarian in Steven Universe episode “Buddy’s Book

In this episode, Steven walks into a library, with Connie at his side, and yells “Books,” excited to see them, with the female librarian, who is uncredited, immediately shushing him, leading him and Connie to speak in whispers. Later in the episode, the same librarian shushes Steven a second time. Later, at the end of the episode, Connie and Steven realize that all the books in the library were written by Buddy Buddwick, and the librarian again, and unnecessarily shushes them. Three times in one episode! That seems a bit excessive.

Male librarian in The Owl House episode, “Lost in Language

After Luz says that she will read a book in the library about the wailing star, the librarian unnecessarily shushes her. Not only was this unnecessary for the plot, but it fed right into the stereotype. Even worse, other patrons later shush Luz as she accidentally hangs onto a book and travels through the library. This makes more sense because they are studying, but still. Luz, along with Emera and Edric, is later kicked out of the library by the same librarian, who claims that they have made reading “far too fun.” What a putz! The male librarian is uncredited.

The Librarian in Big City Greens episode “Quiet Please

Librarian literally threatens Cricket over making a sound

Cricket goes to the library with his book-loving sister, Tilly, after his dad, Bill, tells him to read a book rather than watch television, where he says an “endless catalog of books” will be available, clearly not understanding that libraries don’t have everything. Cricket, Tilly, Bill, and Grandma, go to the Big City Library. When they enter, Bill says “the library is a quiet place” and later says that the librarians take their jobs very seriously. They come across the librarian, voiced by Linda Hamilton, who tells them they cannot make any more sounds and that if they do, they will be banned for life! A kid nearby sneezes and she literally abducts the kid because they caused a sound. Yikes. As a result, the protagonists communicate in ASL instead, which is, as I noted in my newsletter back in September 2020, “”a good step forward in terms of deaf characters,” but I still don’t know why this stereotype was used, which is one of the worst stereotypical librarians I have EVER seen in animation. She later abducts a second person for making a sound. I mean, there is even a sign in the library saying “I want you to shut up.” Oh no. The one positive is that they get some books for Cricket to read, although he later hides from the librarian, who makes a sound like a snake and hisses, after making a loud sound. The grandma, after adjusting her hearing aid, gives the librarian what she deserves and shushes her. In the end, it becomes a horror movie, when the librarian whispers and gets all the other librarians to “assemble.” They somehow get out of there, but Bill is banned, by making a noise, from “all libraries across the globe.” That’s messed up. The Librarian is later shushing the narrator at the very end of the episode, as well.

Miss Dickens in the Carl Squared episode “Carl’s Techno-Jinx

The episode of this Canadian series, also known as Carl2, begins when Carl’s friend, Jamie James, goes to the library, with Carl, to get an atlas to finish his geography assignment, and Carl doesn’t understand that librarians still exist, saying that everything in there, and more, would fit on his harddrive. The librarian cuffs him and interrogates him the back room of the library, because someone who looks like him (obviously his clone) had been taking books without signing them out (i.e. stealing them). Carl says he forgot and she shouts at him that he forgot about it 173 times, all the time his clone has been stealing from the library. She gives him until closing time to bring back the books, or the “mighty wrath” of the library will be brought down upon him. She then cackles evilly. His clone apologizes to Carl for taking the book, saying he wasn’t aware of those rules. The clone takes back the books and gives the librarian Carl’s library card, which she proceeds to put in a blender and literally drink. What. He tells Carl about what happened, with Carl asking if he really needs the library anymore because its the computer age, not the “jurassic age.” He finds the one book about puberty the librarian says has been returned and he had it for over five years, with his friend saying the fine will be “sky high.” It turns out that Carl seems to have a curse on him, with Carl living on the tent outside. He has a dream where he returns the book and is eaten by the book return slip, which declares “if you can’t pay the fine, you must serve the time.” Carl’s clone signs up to be a library volunteer and the fine is forgiven. It turns out his clone had signed up to be the book fairy for storytime corner, with the librarian laughing maniacally.

Librarian” in the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode “Wrath of the Librarian

This episode, which followed the season 4 episode, “Cabaret Courage,” and was near the end of the series overall. Courage finds a book titled The Pixie and the Prickle Pirate which was supposed to be returned two years before, with Muriel, his caretaker, saying it is a wonder they haven’t all been sent to library prison. Terrified, courage returns the book to the nearby bookmobile, where the fine is said to be, as calculated on a cash register, almost $4,000 dollars! This is, after the librarian, as shown above, shushes Courage two times. The lions on the sides of the bookmobile tell him to return the money he owes. The book itself, cursed by the librarian, transforms Courage’s two caretakers (Muriel and Eustace) into characters in the book. They proceed to destroy some of the house, until they smash out of it, and into the wider world, as the Eastace-as-pirate, tries to kill Muriel-as-pixie, while Courage gets very injured, still holding the book in his hand, while everyone else cheers this on, for some reason. The two fight in front of a sign titled “Read the Book.” Courage goes to the nearby bookmobile, telling the librarian what happened, she shushes him, again, with the fine even larger now. He gathers money, at a show, to pay off the fine, but it is even larger now, absurdly, with Courage loudly objecting, as he should, with the librarian shushing him one more. The fine, ultimately, is $10,000.01, which is pretty ridiculous. The librarian appears out of the head of the snake at the end of the episode, shushing the audience.

Mrs. Hatchett in the Kim Possible episode “Overdue

Voiced by April Winchell, this librarian, who everyone in the school is afraid of, confronts Kim, telling her she has an overdue library book. She tries to explain to her, but the librarian tells her to be quiet, even having a button which says “quiet” and declares she has a “zero-tardiness policy,” suspending her from cheerleading until the book is returned. That’s way too harsh. Kim is forced to go to “library lockup” after school. It turns out that Kim’s friend, Ron, borrowed the book but forgot to return it. Kim is shown piles, upon piles of books, which she has to organize using the Hatchett Decimal System, meaning the library is based on the organizational system of the librarian. Oh no. Wade helps Ron find the book. In the meantime, the librarian keeps giving Kim busy work, like putting away books and putting labels on every book. He gives back the book (well, actually the wrong one), and says that there will be a day she will forget a book and that she will be waiting for her, as she laughs maniacally. She opens the book, and it releases spirits on the world, when it turns out he still has the overdue book. Oops.

Mrs. Shusher in The Replacements episode “Quiet Riot

Shushing the protagonists

In the second part of the show’s third episode, Todd goes in the library after his sister, Riley, takes him there, calling it a “cool place,” saying it is full of adventure, fun, and excitement. As soon as they go on, the librarian, named Mrs. Shusher, shushes them. She remains strict, taking away some of his items as “noisy,” shushing him a second time, after pulling up a sign titled “silence is golden,” and gest shushed at again. While Riley still likes the library as a “wonderful sanctuary of peace and quiet,” but Todd is annoyed. Another student, Buzz, declares that libraries are for “nerds with mustaches.” So, using his phone, Todd calls Flemco and they send a replacement librarian who doesn’t hate noise, but is the opposite. Ms. Osborne, arrives and says that in the library “you do not talk, you rock!” This librarian is basically a punk rocker who declares you “don’t need no books,” with everyone in the school flocking to the library. Todd’s father says that libraries are awesome because you can jump over them and if you fall through them, the “books can break your fall.” When Riley tells her parents that Todd replaced the librarian with a rock-and-roller, his parents say this is “imaginative” and applaud it. Riley struggles to find somewhere to study. Eventually the punk rocker librarian is removed and Mrs. Shusher returns, as the library is cleaned up, with Todd admitting that they need “places for work, as much as we need places for play.” So, perhaps the episode is endorsing/supporting quiet areas of a library?

The Librarian” in Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil

In the episode “If Books Could Kill,” after one of his friends returns the wrong book to the Mellowbrook Elementary School library, Kick, he tries to get his book back. But, the librarian (voiced by Suzanne Blakeslee) remains obstinate, literally closing down the library so he can’t get his book. As a result, he breaks into the library with the help of one of his friends to get the book back, trying to avoid the librarian, who is re-shelving books. She literally tries to kill Kick, throwing library cards, books, and other objects at him, later declaring that “everything in the library belongs to me, including YOU.” He escapes with what he thinks is the book, but it’s a trick. Not long after, he returns to the library on a bike, grabbing the book, only to be chased by the librarian, who rides a motorbike which is somehow behind the stacks. What kind of strange library is this, anyhow? They chase each other through the stacks as Kick tries to get his book back. He finally does get the book back and wins the battle against the librarian, even getting the sandwich his friend had accidentally put in the book slot. The librarian gets the last word, saying “you may have one this time, but you’ll be back. They always come back to the…LIBRARY!” and laughs maniacally. Over a season later, in the Season 2 episode “Shh!,” she reappears, when Kick has to go back to the library (begrudgingly) to research an animal, the Nuzzlet, for his report. He encounters the scary librarian, who says the next time he tries to get his book back, she will literally kill him. The Nuzzlet, of course, bites a hole in his bag and he has to chase it across the library, trying to act quietly when around the librarian, who is re-shelving books and is able to get to the study area, somehow, still with the animal. He gives the animal candy and it becomes a monster, which attacks him, biting him on the hand, comically, later throwing books at him. It even hilariously uses the card catalog to hit him across his body and later explodes the whole library, destroying everything. The librarian thinks Ronaldo, one of Kick’s rivals, caused the destruction and tries to kill him with a laser as a result of this. Again, a harsh treatment, which is unnecessary. The librarian apparently re-appears in the episode “Last Fan Standing.” At the end of the episode, Kick is crushed by a card catalog, just like the Nuzzlet did to him.

Libro Shushman in Teamo Supremo episode “Word Search

Teamo Supremo and his friends travel to the State Library where they meet a librarian tired of people returning library books overdue so she “plans to steal all the words in the state using her Dictionary of Doom.” The librarian turns out to be a villain in this series and the main antagonist in this episode, sucking all the words from the books (and signs) in the library into her dictionary of doom, with Team Supremo and his friends trying to stop her. She even slides away on a slide-ladder to get away from them, ha. Her assistants trap the heroes in the library, between two bookcases, but they escape and stop her evil plans. The governor says their work will be included in the archives of superheroes, as the episode comes to a close.

Kaeloo in Kaeloo episode “Let’s Play at Reading Books

Kaeloo shushes her friends for making too much noise in the library

In the fourth episode of this French-Australian-Italian animated series, “Let’s Play at Reading Books,” a library forms around the show’s protagonists (Stumpy and Quack-Quack), thanks to Kaleoo (voiced by Emmanuel Garijo in French and Doug Rand in English dubs), and they play at “reading books.” Kaeloo says that in a library no one makes noise, and threatens her friends Stumpy and Quack-Quack for making any noise while reading books. Kaeloo, as the librarian, constantly shushes her friends for making a sound in the library. She says that Mr. Cat, her friend, can play “reading books” but can’t even make a sound “not any” because it is the rules. Stumpy, the squirrel, says he hates the library because he can’t find any comics or books with pictures, but finds one of their favorite superheroes. Mr. Cat steals the book of Quack-Quack, which is a little risque, as they both fight each other over trying to get the book. After that, Kaeloo goes through the library, throwing out the “not nice” and “dirty” books, getting so angry she burns them all in a fire, including the comics Stumpy likes so much, causing them to chase each other around the book fire. The episode ends with Kaeloo reading her friends a story to make up for what happened. All in all, this episode reinforces the stereotype of the library shusher, unfortunate for a series as fun and zany as this one. There are also scenes in libraries in other episodes, like one in the episode “Let’s Play Replicating,” where the clones of Stumpy, a squirrel and series protagonist, are reading books in a library. Additionally, in “Let’s Play Paper Balls,” Kaeloo is shelving books, getting some for her friends, including the Harry Rotter series, a spoof of the Harry Potter series, even directing her friend to another part of the library. Stumpy figures out a trick when a paper ball is thrown at Kaeloo’s head it changes her personality. When Kaeloo figures out they are tearing out pages of a book to make paper balls, she is annoyed that she becomes a monster, but her friends attack first, sending her far away. She later comes back, but she is so angry that she destroys the whole library in the process.

Rita Loud in Timon & Pumbaa episode “Library Brouhaha

I could have made many other screenshots, but these are all moments of the library being a total autocrat in the first two minutes of the episode! She later beats them with a baseball bat and shushes them

At the Don B. Loud Library, there are all sorts of signs telling patrons to be quiet and a library that runs a tight ship, even smacking a bird that comes by the widow and makes a chirp! Of course, Pumbaa, coming into the library, which is portrayed as a scary, foreboding place, knocks over the unnecessary library signs, annoying the librarian (Rita Loud), who is voiced by Tress MacNeille, and her name means “read aloud” (the opposite of what she wants in the library) who shushes him, and he speeds up, saying that each of the books is a “doorway to adventure” and defends books when Timon says “books are for mooks.” They run from the librarian again, Pumbaa defines the term bookworm to Timon, with the librarian saying they will be “history” if they make “one more sound” and of course they make sounds, so she throws them out of the library. They sneak back into the library disguised as books, trying to find the bookworm, who keeps messing with them; the librarian beats them with a baseball bat and apparently kicks them out. Later, Timon puts headphones on her so she can’t hear them, with the bookworm continuing to mess with them, putting all sorts of noisy stuff in their way, and they continue to chase him throughout the library stacks, with the whole library being destroyed by their antics, later chasing him through various worlds created by books and films. Sadly, the shushing librarian gets the last word. There is an interesting contrast between the silence the librarian wants and the noise that Timon, Pumbaa, and the mischievous bookworm make, but no major point comes from this, unfortunately. So, in the time that Timon, Pumbaa, and the bookworm are in the other “worlds” they are unconscious, and who likely brought them to the hospital? The librarian! So, maybe they should thank her or at least understand things from her point of view.

Bat Librarian in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode “Mystic Library

Bat Librarian threatens Raphael for making so much noise

In this episode, the turtles break into the public library to find information on how to save a creature from the mirror, with Donatello saying a library is a “treasure hunt” and that you never know “what gems you will find along the way.” They are transported to the Mystic Library by mistake. Donatello tries to talk to the Bat Librarian (also called “Yokai Librarian” in the credits of the episode), voiced by Gillian Vigman, who can’t tolerate even a small amount of noise inside the library. She shushes him and reluctantly helps him. Still, she tells him, and his friends (Leonardo and Raphael), that if she hears more than a whisper, her hush-bats will lock them up in the kiddie room, Donatello searches through the library catalog, finds where the book is. Ultimately, only Raphael of them is left and has to go through the library stacks, chased by the hush-bats. He gets the book, but much of the library is destroyed in the process.

Stickler librarian in Rugrats

Librarian annoyed with Kimi messing with the stapler on her circulation desk

In the episode”Quiet Please!,” they all go to the library, so their parents can return a book, with Chas saying that the library is a special place, with books taking you everywhere you want to go, and calls it your “special ticket to the world.” Chas also tries to get his children Kimi and Chuckie their own library cards. The librarian (voiced by Beverly Archer) agrees, handing him an absurdly high stack of papers, and outlines library rules: total silence, no food allowed, and all books have to be returned to the shelves. She says that the children of Chas are adorable…if they remember the rules. Chas tells Chuckie that the library card is his “ticket to the world.” Of course, Kimi says that the rules don’t matter, while Chuckie wants to stick by the library rules. While they all go to library storytime, Kira looks for Chas, her husband, while the librarian interrogates Chas on a small rip on a book. Meanwhile, Chuckie, and his siblings, look for his library card. The librarian tasks Chuck with doing various tasks to make the library more efficient. So, maybe she wasn’t the worst after all?

Honorable mention: Count Spunkulout in Codename: Kids Next Door 

Count Spunkulout after spanking Hoagie, Kuki, Wallabee, and Abigail

In the episode “Operation: C.A.N.N.O.N.,” Spunkulout (voiced by Daran Norris) joins several villains, attacking the Sector V Treehouse when its defensive systems are down, proceeding to spank Hoagie, Kuki, Wallabee, and Abigail for not paying library fines before disappearing in a cloud of smoke. Yikes! If a librarian ordered that, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Second honorable mention: Ms. L in Dexter’s Laboratory episode “Book ‘Em

Dexter goes to the public library and a shape is seen in the distance, with music like that in Jaws, which ends up being his sister, Didi. He talks to her softly, saying you have to keep quiet because it is a library, with a sign behind him saying “silence is golden.” After checking out all sorts of books from the library, back in his laboratory, he finds a book that isn’t checked out that Didi brought back, and has nightmares about being banned from the library for life. He decides to return the book, breaking in at night to return it. Unfortunately, Dexter yells and two muscular men, led by the librarian (voiced by Kath Soucie), go to get them because they exceeded the “noise level,” absurdly triggering an alarm. Didi decides to give up, with the librarian congratulating her for “apprehending” him. As punishment for talking loud, Dexter has to tell a story at library storytime. In the episode “The Blonde Leading the Blonde,” Dexter has to return a book because it is three hours overdue. The librarian in that episode, voiced by Mindy Cohn is much more helpful, just doing some work on his library account and gives his card back. He doesn’t even have to pay a fine!

Third honorable mention: Librarian in Martin Mystery episode “Return of the Dark Druid

The library in this university, Torrington Academy, was located on the “first floor with shelves of books that are stacked properly, wooden desks with tables, benches, chairs, computers, lamps and the librarian’s desk” as noted on the fandom page. The episode begins with one of the characters dropping a bunch of books she had balanced on her head and everyone else in the library shushing her. Martin talks to her and sings loudly, causing the glass to shatter, and the librarian to scowl at them, leading them to leave the library. In this case, getting angry at Martin, and Diana by extension was definitely justified. After they leave, some students walk by and laugh, but the librarian does not shush them. Still, you could say she falls into this stereotype, in terms of her portrayal as a scary, menacing figure. They later go to a local records center/historical society/local library to learn more about the local town, but no librarian is present there. In the episode “The Warlock Returns,” there is another librarian, younger and still with glasses, who says there are books in the basement of the library which allow one to view valuable books about local legends. Of course, he sneaks down into the basement, finds a book, and has the librarian get annoyed at him (rightly so) for going down to the basement. He escapes out the window and somehow survives without getting terribly injured. Later, he returns to the basement in hopes of stopping the evil wizard he freed from turning everyone in the school into small animals. On IMDB, neither librarian is unfortunately not credited, as is typical for animated series, sadly.

Countering the shushing librarian stereotype?: Librarian ghost in Archie’s Weird Mysteries

Librarian ghost talks to Jughead and explains her actions

In the episode, “The Haunting of Riverdale,” Riverdale is haunted by a ghost librarian, Violet Stanhope (uncredited), who is “apparently liking her job too much.” Archie tells Jughead to go to the Riverdale Archives to dig up any similar occurrences, but he runs away, so Archie goes to the library by himself. He talks to the librarian, Mrs. Herrera, sets up at his usual research table “for weird mysteries,” and looks through a whole stack of books, but he can’t find what he is looking for. He says that whatever the answer to the mystery is “it isn’t here at the library.” Stumped, he hears from one of his friends, Betty, about a similar experience someone had, of clutching an overdue library notice and muttering “Quiet Violet,” supporting what he saw his friend at school (Reggie) tell him earlier in the episode. When he returns to the library Mrs. Herrera pulls Archie aside and tells him that she doesn’t want to alarm the library patrons, but a lot of “unusual occurrences” had been happening recently since she took over as head librarian. Archie after talking with her a little more continues to look through the library stacks from the poltergeist, but can’t find anything. He comes across her and she turns out to be the former head librarian, who is haunting the library itself, telling him to be quiet, respect the library, and more, scaring away all the other library patrons, not surprisingly. Jughead tells a story of how, at age 6, Violet told him to go to the children’s section, said he had a book “not for him,” and after she told him to be quiet (and come back), he ran away from the library, never to come back. Betty counters this by saying that Violet helped her get her first library card. Jughead, Archie, and Betty go back to the library which is deserted except for Mrs. Herrera, who explains that for Violet she never wanted to scare anyone away but that the library was her life, and she even published a memoir of her time as a librarian. She explains to Jughead why she did all those things to Jughead and put it into context, so he understands her actions, which he had misinterpreted completely, adding she always waited for him to come back so she could show him “how enjoyable our library was.” She further says that people who like books should “never be judged by others” and saying she never meant to frighten anyone. She agrees with Betty, who tells her that Mrs. Herrera will take care of the library, on the condition that Jughead gets a library card. He agrees to this, she says goodbye to them. Archie concludes that while she is gone, as a ghost, her good influence on Riverdale will never go away, with Jughead rediscovering the library after years of avoiding it. Yay for the librarian! Yay!

Final words

Contrasting all these examples this is Too Loud, where the town’s mayor is tired of Jeffrey and Sara being so loud, so he tells them to be quiet, which impairs their ability to help patrons, the episode “Chapter 11: The Jorts Incident,” in the second season of Hilda where Kaisa, the librarian, tells Frida, David, and Hilda to “keep it down, because this is a library after all,” but is never shown shushing them. Too Loud turns the stereotype on its head, a brilliant way of countering it. In the future, I’ll continue this and point out other series which have negative portrayals of librarians or libraries while looking for more positive ones at the same time. I hope there are more positive portrayals, like the ones I have written about on I Love Libraries, [8] than negative ones, but each one of them needs to be countered and pointed out.


Notes

[1] TV Tropes points out examples of the Scary Librarian trope in Arthur (in the character Miss Turner), Avatar: The Last Airbender (in the knowledge spirit Wan Shi Tong in the episode “The Library”), Big City Greens (in the episode “Quiet Please” with a strict librarian), Carl Squared (Miss Dickens in the episode “Carl’s Techno-Jinx”),  Codename: Kids Next Door (Count Spunkulout who seems to work for librarians), Courage the Cowardly Dog (old librarian in the episode “Wrath of the Librarian”), Dexter’s Laboratory (Dexter becoming a scary librarian while assisting an actual librarian), Kaeloo  (Kaeloo becomes a librarian in one episode), Ducktales (In this series which began in 2017, Miss Quakfaster, in the episode “The Great Dime Chase!” she takes her job dramatically and very seriously, threatening Webby and Dewey with a huge sword for “disrespecting the archives”), Hilda (in terms of Kaisa being a witch, but this is solved in season 2), Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil (Kick deals with a librarian, who has gone bonkers, and has to break into a library), Kim Possible (Mrs. Hatchett in the episode “Overdue”), Martin Mystery (One librarian at Martin’s university growls at him for messing with books), Moral Orel (the school librarian is a scary old woman who pickets in front of a cinema and  burns books!), The Replacements (In the episode “Quiet Riot,” the librarian who replaces Miss Osborne fits every stereotype), Teamo Supremo (Libro Shushman becomes a supervillain), and says that a ghost of a librarian in Archie’s Weird Mysteries subverts this. Examples of the “hot librarian” trope in Western animation, according to the same site, is The Simpsons (the episode where Marge and Lisa go to see the movie Tango de la Muerte), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Professor Bertinelli), episodes of King of the Hill and Pinky and the Brain. TV Tropes further lists three series as having spooky silent library: an episode of Arthur, the episode “The Library” of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the “Buggin’ The System” episode of Megas XLR. The site lists Wan Shi Tong in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Scary Librarian in the Courage the Cowardly Dog episodes “Wrath of the Librarian” and “The Pixie and the Prickle Pirate,” the witchy librarian in Hilda (Kaisa), Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and Mrs. Clara in Welcome to the Wayne as magic librarians.

[2] Gooding-Call, Anna. “The History and Debunking of Librarian Stereotypes.” Book Riot, Jan. 20, 2020; Manser, Jamie. “Shushing the Librarian Stereotype,” Zocalo Magazine, Mar. 2, 2015; “The Shushing Stereotype and Communicating with Heart,” Moving Train Library, Feb. 11, 2017; Barone, Gabrielle. “‘I don’t shush’: Local Librarians share their thoughts stereotypes rooted in their profession,” The Daily Collegian, Nov. 15, 2017; Keer, Gretchen; Carlos, Andrew, “The Stereotype Stereotype,” American Libraries, Oct. 30, 2015; “Unfriendly Librarian,” Librarian Stereotypes, Oct. 14, 2012; Shaw, Katy. “Buns on the Run: Changing the Stereotype of the Female Librarian,” Oct. 2003; Radford, Marie. “Shushing, Shelving, and Stamping” in Chapter 11: Media and Culture: The “Reality” of Media Effects (by Mark P. Orbe) within Part III: Navigating Inter/Cultural Communication in a Complex World of Inter/Cultural Communication: Representation and Construction of Culture (by Anatascia Kuylo, US: Sage Publications, 2013), 240-242; “No more shushing: Meet SUNY Broome’s Librarians,” SUNY Broome, Nov. 25, 2014; “Librarian Stereotypes and Library Heroes,” The Hub, Sept. 23, 2014; Moulder, Becky. “Five Things I’ve Learned about Penn Librarians as a Faux Librarian,” Penn Libraries Teaching, Research, and Learning, Oct. 19, 2018; “Librarians and their stereotypes,” Cakealicious Cakes, Jun. 12, 2016; Radford, Marie L. “Librarian Stereotypes, Alive & Well, Alas,” librarygarden, May 21, 2010.

[3] Miller, Laura. “Bring back shushing librarians,” Salon, Jan. 31, 2013; Cowell, Jane. “Silence: Should Librarians Apologize for providing quiet?,” Medium, Aug. 5, 2017; Fernandez, Michelle L. “Why Aren’t More Public Librarians Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine?,” Feb. 22, 2021; Hutton, Rachel. “Beyond books: Minnesota’s rural libraries find playful ways to remain relevant,” Star Tribune, Nov. 25, 2019; Guion, David. “The librarian’s job,” Reading, Writing, Research, May 18, 2011; Blackburn, Heidi, “Gender Stereotypes Male Librarians Face Today,” Library Worklife, Sept. 2015; Spitzer, Gabriel. “Librarians Go Wild For Gold Book Cart,” NPR, Jul 13, 2009; “The Librarian Stereotype,” The Cranky Librarian, Jan. 9, 2008; Oliver, Amanda. “Working as a librarian gave me post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 19, 2019; LaGarde, Jennifer. “‘Librarians Don’t Shush Anymore!’ And Other Things I Wish Were True,” The Adventures of Library Girl, Apr. 6, 2020; “School and Public Librarians: Warriors for Literacy,” Sowing Seeds Librarian, Nov. 3, 2018; Rebecca, “Shushing and Shelving: Librarians in Pop Culture,” SCALA Oregon, Oct. 26, 2010; Anderson, Kristen Julia. “More to Librarians Than a Stereotype,” Luna Station Quarterly, Apr. 5, 2016; Allen, Mary Elizabeth. “Focus On Your Skills,” Hack Library School, Jan. 14, 2021; Halverson, Matthew. “A Talk with Marcellus Turner, City Librarian, the Seattle Public Library,” SeattleMet, Jul. 22, 2011; Lewin, Livia. “Lib Loop: Dispelling the shushing librarian,” SierraSun, Oct. 10, 2017; Kipen, David. “Librarians arrive, whoop it up, give prizes,” SFGate, Feb. 1, 2012; “Meet Your Librarian: Melanie Trotter,” School libraries of Robertson County, Jan. 4, 2018.

[4] The blog says that for them, a librarian is “someone who works in a lending library,” meaning that they might not have an MLIS, and that “para-professionals, library assistants, student workers, and the like are all fair game.” I can understand this, but I would say it could exclude special libraries from the mix, so I’d say a librarian shouldn’t be, strictly, someone who works in a lending library. In fact, Merriam-Webster calls a librariana specialist in the care or management of a library,” so that’s pretty broad. So, I think that librarians who are in lending libraries should be highlighted more than other librarians, but it doesn’t mean that those not in lending libraries should be ignored when it comes to representation.

[5] Snoek-Brown, Jennifer. “The shushing librarian: Celebration or scorn?,” Reel Librarians, Feb. 5, 2013; Snoek-Brown, Jennifer. “Typical or stereotypical?,” Reel Librarians, Jan. 11, 2012.

[6] Specifically scenes from The Philadelphia Story (1940), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Tomcats (2001), and Hammett (1982) when it came to shushers, spinsters, and sirens. She also highlighted a brief library scene in Pickup on South Street (1953), a scene in the film Party Girl (1995), and a monstrarial library in Doctor Strange (2016), along with many other films. I’d recommend reading her whole handout used in her lecture.

[7] The blog, since abandoned, discussed five stereotypes in popular media: the “sexy” librarian, the frumpy librarian, the male librarian, the unfriendly librarian, and the timid/introverted librarian.

[8] For I Love Libraries, I’ve written about Cleopatra in Space, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Hilda (two times here and here), Too Loud, and Mira, Royal Detective.

Finding the other librarian stereotypes in animation

Shermy in the series finale of Adventure Time, “Come Along With Me”

Continuing from my posts the last two weeks, Jennifer Snoek-Brown lists another stereotype of librarians, referring to who she calls “liberated librarians,” referring to a “trapped/naïve woman who discovers herself…with the help of a man or in face of an adventure/disaster,” usually as young women, and often “undergoes a change of appearance,” but is not “that committed to libraries.” It can also refer to men in a similar situation, who need an “outside force or action to aid in or instigate “liberation”.” She notes a number of other stereotypes: male librarians who are “failures,” with their failings “suggestive of flaws” in the library and prison librarians often fitting in this category. Those in this stereotype are middle-aged to old, dress conservatively, and are “uncomfortable in social/outside world situations.” In complete contrast to this is the stereotype of a spirited young girl who “works in the library—only a temporary job—and usually meets the leading man while working,” usually referring to a young woman, who has modern and fashionable clothing, is physically attractive, and is “intelligent and often spunky.” Then, there is the naughty librarian, embodied by either men or women, a person who is “flirtatious or sexually charged.” Just as bad is the librarian who is comic relief, and is “usually the target of jokes.” Finally, there is the librarian as an information provider, either providing information/or misinformation to a character, notes the importance of rules, and is “identified by occupational tasks.” Those in this role are supporting or minor characters, come in a variety of ages, are racially diverse, and their roles are often “too brief to establish personality,” meaning they are only listed as Librarian in the credits. In this post I’d like to highlight, when, and if, these stereotypes appear in animated series that I’ve seen. I have currently not seen any animated series which fulfill the stereotype of a librarians as a spirited young girl or a “liberated” male or female librarian, so they are not included in this post.

 

Male librarians who are “failure”

Mr. Sneillson in Mysticons

Mysticons has an episode (“Happily Never After“) where there is a fight in the library. The Mysticons are inside the library, trying to stop Proxima from getting starfire ink. While the librarian, Mr. Sneillson is curmudgeonly and smug (two big stereotypes), he ultimately helps them and saves them from being trapped in a book world which he had created for them. Sadly, the library is partially destroyed during the battle with Proxima, but most books are left untouched. It is worth noting that the library is only accessible with specific permission, a bit archivy, as it is a “special library,” which I’ve talked about on this blog before.

 

The librarian who is comic relief

Unnamed librarian in Steven Universe

In the episode “Buddy’s Book,” there is a running gag of the librarian going “shh” everytime Connie or Steven speak to too loudly, as TV Tropes notes. I’m willing to accept the argument by Jay, a children’s librarian, that the episode is a “fun and funny episode about research and narratives,” and what Sean pointed out, the modern library ecstatic was interesting even though an older look could be better because “all the books in the library where written by a guy who lived at least a hundred years ago,” making it a book depository rather than information center, which Jay noted. Additionally, it is great that libraries are magical places within Steven Universe, even though they aren’t literally magic, and are important to the story even as they are questions about how Steven hasn’t gone to the library or even knows what a library is before this. As such, some hated the episode, claiming it “adds absolutely nothing to the season’s plot or the world of Steven Universe,” not recognizing its importance at all. Sadly, we don’t know the person who voiced her. However, this librarian has the same taste in literature as Greg (or perhaps Rose), so that’s interesting. One critic for the School Library Journal described it as “a librarian was shushing the kids all the time,” saying it “looks like nothing so much as a library that has failed to get additional funding.” On the positive side, the library itself is beautiful and there was a comic in 2020 where Steven learned the organizatonal power of librarians. And the same librarian is shown and she doesn’t shush them this time and is helpful! Why couldn’t the episode have shown that! There are some great moments of that, like Connie lamenting that “all the powers of bibliographical organization” failed her.

 

The naughty librarian

Yamada in B Gata H Kei

Yamada with a BB gun and Kosuda with a camera to watch the stars

Multiple times, Yamada tries to get down with her crush, Kosuda. In the episode “Boy Meets Girl. Please Give Me Your ‘First Time’!!” [part 1], she is assigned to be a school volunteer at the library as is Kosuda. Yamada says she didn’t like the library because it smells but fantasizes about hiding spots to have love with Kosuda. She tries to seduce him there and it fails. In a later episode, “A Valentine of Sweat and Tears! Love(?) From Yamada is Put Into It” [Part 1],  Yamada and Kosuda are volunteering in the library together. Then, in “Improve the Erotic Powers! It’s My First Time Feeling This Sensation…” [Part 2], they are both in the library again, with Yamada trying to get Kosuda interested in her romantically again. This doesn’t work, leaving her alone in the library after he leaves, he then comes back and is embarrassed by her actions. In the first of these episodes, she does perform some library duties, but she is mostly trying, and failing, to get Kosuda to like her in a long list of failed attempts, as she learns more about herself along the way and who she is as a person.

 

Librarian as an information provider

Dr. Oldham in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Dr. Oldham is a librarian and a medical doctor, working out of his own library atop a spire, equivalent to an ivory tower. Oldham has a shelf of books on various subjects, what I would call a reference shelf. In the first OVA episode for Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (“Far Beyond the Voyage” part 1), we see another library on the ship where Dr. Oldham looks at records, lots of them gathered together! The library featured in the original series does not reappear in these episodes. However, the presence of Dr. Oldham, acting as a librarian is still interesting as these episodes further explore his character.

Turtle Princess in Adventure Time

This is from “Fionna and Cake and Fionna” (s9ep12). It’s Ice King reading his story in a library.

In the episode, “The Real You” (S2ep15), the Turtle Princess, who runs the library (and is basically serving as the sole librarian) kicks out Finn and Jake before which Finn says they were “enthusiastic about learning” which is an utter lie. Then, in the episode “Paper Pete” (s3ep22) they visit the library once more, and the Turtle Princess, apparently the only librarian of this library, tells him to “shush,” another librarian stereotype, while other beings, who are patrons, sit at desks behind her. In later episodes, the library is mentioned, with other characters adding books to it (“Gotcha!“), it is included in a flashback Finn has in “King Worm” episodes, and the bedroom of the Turtle Princess at the top of the library is shown in “Princess Monster Wife.”

Mrs. Higgins in Sofia the First

An old and White librarian with a strange accent, Mrs. Higgins is, unlike librarians in other series, helpful to Sofia and her friends, pointing out where the books that talk about how to be a princess are located in the library of the Royal Preparatory Academy where she works. While she helpful to these patrons, even giving them too books which are her favorites, she is clearly a stereotype, almost falling into the category of spinster librarian, but not doing so because she is actually nice to those coming to the library. So, this is only a partially positive depiction. It could have been better if she was a person of color as well, but the people who created this series decided to not make her one.

 

Additional: Boastful/inspirational librarian

Unnamed librarian in Sofia the First

While I think he may be uncomfortable in social situations outside the library, he doesn’t fall neatly into any of these categories, so I made one just for him. And he declares that he built the library and filled it with books, claiming that “not many have been able to follow in my footsteps.” He tells Sofia, also in the library with her horse, that the ultimate test lies before her, that she may have put everything on the line to defeat the evil. However, he is white, older, and has glasses, so he is still a stereotype, sadly.

The “atypical” librarians in animated series

On her site, Jennifer Snoek-Brown writes about librarians who are “atypical” in that they don’t subscribe to stereotypes, and have “enough screen time to allow viewers to witness more fully rounded characterizations and glimpses of a personal life.” She says that these librarians are major characters, are usually viewed in a positive light, with almost all being female. Those in this role are a variety of ages, often wear modern clothing, usually have an attractive appearance, and are intelligent and  “well-rounded characters” with lives outside the library. In this post, I’d like to point to some “atypical” librarians I know from animated series and popular culture up to this point. This includes series such as Stewart Goodson in The Public, George and Lance in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and The Librarian in Hilda, and Myne in Ascendance of a Bookworm.

Stewart Goodson in The Public

The plot of this film, set in Cincinnati, is simple. There are frigid temperatures every night and homeless patrons go into the main branch of the Cincinnati Public Library in order to use its services and stay warm. Emilio Estevez plays a librarian named Stewart, as does Jena Malone, while Jacob Vargas plays the library’s head of security, and Alec Baldwin plays an ineffective crisis negotiator. Additionally, Christian Slater plays a local district attorney, Taylor Schilling plays a manager of the apartment where Estevez’s character lives, Jeffrey Wright plays the head librarian, Richard T. Jones plays the chief of police, and Gabrielle Union plays a local reporter. Among the homeless patrons, there are actors Michael K. Williams, Bryant Bentley, Ki Hong Lee, and Michael Douglas Hall most prominently. While this panoply of character leads to a few side-stories, they soon merge into one single plotline near the film’s beginning. It is then that the conflict that will last the rest of the film begins with male homeless patrons (some with mental illnesses) making their move: they engage in a sit-in and occupy the third floor of the library as an emergency homeless shelter, with Estevez and Malone barricaded inside with them.

George and Lance in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Lance (on the left) and George (on the right)

I wrote about them before, but I’d like to mention them again. They can arguably be seen as librarians, although they call themselves historians. They are George and Lance, the middle-aged black dads of series protagonist Bow, and they run a library in a magical forest called the Whispering Woods. In the season 2 finale, Bow and his friends, Adora and Glimmer, work with them to translate an ancient message. Adora accidentally releases a monster into the library and Bow reveals his true identity to his dads, who end up embracing him for who he is, accepting it, something which many see as echoing family coming-out stories from the LGBTQ+ community. In a later episode, Bow and Glimmer meet George and Lance who tell them about an ancient rebellion and fail-safe on a superweapon, information which becomes vitally important going forward.

Kaisa in Hilda

Kaisa in “Chapter 11: The Jorts Incident”

Kaisa, after the show’s first season, become a fan sensation, is a feisty character, and has been a subject of a lot of chatter on the fan base. She is, so far, a mysterious librarian who has an extensive, and unmatched “knowledge of cemetery records and mystical items.” In one episode, she drops a book on a nearby table, telling Hilda and her friends that it might be of interest, giving them what they need. In another, Hilda comes upon the hidden special collections room, and she is told that reference books cannot be circulated, so she copies a page from the book, able to lift the enchantment on her friend and mother just in time thanks to the information she learns in the episode. In yet another episode, the librarian anticipates her question, able to draw upon her expertise to help them, even giving Hilda the necessary materials to raise the dead, even while warning her, doing so in order to help Hilda, a patron, with something important. In the final episode of the first season, we see her walking across the streets of Trolberg, and she will likely have a role in the show’s upcoming season, which will begin streaming sometime in December 2020. The series is popular enough that it even spurred a fan-made cartoon titled Zilda which is inspired by the show, ha.

Myne in Ascendance of A Bookworm

Myne loudly declares she wants to reorganize the church library

Myne, the protagonist of this anime, advocates for re-organizing all the books in a temple library using the NDC (Nippon Decimal Classification) system, the Japanese version of the Dewey Decimal System” and even though she is unable to organize all the books she wants since magic books are “off-limits,” she still makes her “mark on this society,” with libraries shown to have value various times in the episode. Myne, a librarian in her former life, tries to make books so she can share them with others, creating a library. Anyway, she is dedicated to reorganizing information, first by her own design, then following a library classification system, which is amazing, as I haven’t seen any animation to date do this, or have a PSA about it, so that’s cool.

Spinster librarians in animated series

On her blog, Jennifer Snoek-Brown writes about the stereotypes of various librarians, one of which is the spinster librarian. They are usually, uptight old women who are “sexually undesirable,” rule-mongers, and are “supporting or minor characters. She goes onto say that they have a conservative dress, a bun hairstyle or something else seen as “unattractive,” along with eyeglasses, and are skinny while having an uptight personality. In this post, I thought I’d highlight some examples of this stereotype in the animated series that I’ve watched at the present.

Librarian in Futurama

In an episode of Futurama, there is a funny scene where the librarian is so “dumb” because of the Brain Spawn they can’t shelve books correctly. It is really unfortunate, as it’s silly and embodies a stereotype.

Unnamed librarian in DC Super Hero Girls

She is a curmudgeon who fits all the stereotypes, an older White lady who notes strict rules, some of which are a bit absurd, and somewhat vague. Later, the librarian is annoyed after a fight between Katana and Diana Prince, as they break a rule hilariously called “no loud fighting.” When Diana asks about this, the librarian has her only substantive line in the episode: “It’s Metropolis, it’s the best we can hope for.” Diana and Katana apologize for their behavior, but their fighting doesn’t stop. Diana even catches Katana’s hand in a book, and they continue girly fighting. Of course, this sound catches the attention of the librarian, again. As the audience, we see the expanse of the library as a whole. Until their fighting causes the stacks of the library to collapse, falling like dominoes, with expressions of shock on their faces afterward. The librarian, cast as a curmudgeon, kicks out Diana and Katana for property destruction, a justified reason. The fact that Katana and Diana apologize for their action afterward doesn’t make up for what they did. It’s good they have to deal with the consequences of their actions and being banned from the library, presumably. Their fight then continues outside the library and onto the streets of the city.

Jedi Archivist/Jedi Archivist Madame Jocasta Nu in Star Wars Episode II and Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I would argue she is more accurately an archivist, so I’ve written about this more on my Wading Through The Cultural Stacks blog, but many consider her to be a librarian. As I noted there, she, as the lone arranger of the Jedi Archives, asserts the immutable part of the archives, and that they encompass everything. Anyone who knows anything about archives know that this is a false belief. This is not made any better in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animation and the series confuses the terms “library” and “archives.”

Elderly librarian in Zevo-3

The saddest is the old female librarian, at the school library, in the first episode of Zevo-3 who is arrested for illegal acts she didn’t commit! And the protagonist (Matt Martin/Kewl Breeze), the brother of Ellie Martin/Elastika, doesn’t care at all about her! What a jerk! Ultimately this series is ok, but the fact he does this in the show’s first episode put a really bad taste in my mouth and it does not set a good role model! Also, the librarian is old and doddering, yet another stereotype.

BIPOC librarians in animated series: She-Ra to Yamibou

Libraries have often appeared on the silver screen, whether in the form of stereotypes like the spinster librarian, Mary, in It’s A Wonderful Life and the glimpse of a librarian in Jennifer’s Body. Streaming shows have had their share of librarians too, like the unnamed librarian in the second episode of The Queen’s Gambit, or the value of the library emphasized in the first season of My Brilliant Friend. In the past year, I’ve come across a number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) librarians in Western animated and anime series. I’d like to review some of the ones I know of at the present in order to shed some light on these characters.

Western animation does not have a good track record when it comes to BIPOC librarians. Shows such as Zevo-3 and The Simpsons feature librarians, but both are White. The female-coded librarian named Turtle Princess in Adventure Time and a male librarian named Mr. Sneillson in Mysticons are voiced by White men. DC Super Hero Girls has Kimberly D. Brooks, a Black American actress who famously voiced Jasper in the Steven Universe series, voice a White female librarian, rather than have her voice a Black female librarian as a character. There are almost no BIPOC female librarians in Western animated series like the White young female librarian in Hilda, who is given a name in the show’s most recent season. Even Mira, the protagonist of the children’s animation, Mira, Royal Detective, based on late 19th century India, who sings about libraries with the people of Jalpur, is only a librarian for one episode, serving at the pleasure of the queen as a royal detective for the rest of this series. However, one series showcases BIPOC male librarians unlike any other: Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, a remake of the 1980s series, She-Ra: Princess of Power.

Lance and George, two librarians in the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power animated series

In the season 2 finale, Princess Glimmer and her friend, Adora, travel deep to the magical woods to find their brown-skinned friend, Bow, who has gone “missing.” They find a library and believe they need to “rescue” him. They discover that Bow is there visiting his two dads, George, and Lance, claiming he is on break from a boarding school, when he is actually fighting in a war against the show’s villains. As it turns out, George and Lance run the library, which serves as a residence and a museum. It is beautiful in its own right even if it has vines growing on the outside. You could call it a hybrid between an archives, a museum, and a library. In any case, George and Lance call themselves historians, like Bow’s brothers, but they are librarians who have collected books as part of their research on the planet’s first settlers. Both are enthralled when they learn that Adora, who can transform into a warrior-princess named She-Ra, can read the ancient and dead language of the first settlers. Later, a battle with a creature, accidentally released by Adora, destroys part of the library, and Bow is forced to reveal who he is to his shocked dads. After they embrace him and his friends, these librarians help the protagonists by giving them information to help with their quest to find out more about the planet’s past.

George and Lance later attend the coronation of Glimmer in the show’s fourth season. The library is revisited by Bow and Glimmer in the show’s fifth, and final, season. Sadly, the library has been abandoned and trashed. George and Lance leave a note for Bow, telling him where they went into hiding with a riddle. Bow and Glimmer find George and Lance in the ruins of a former castle, who tell them about writings they discovered about an ancient rebellion against the planet’s first settlers. They play a recording that details a fail-safe that could destroy the superweapon in the center of the planet. Bow and Glimmer share this information with their friends, helping them defeat the villainous Horde Prime later in the season. In the end, the value of libraries, librarians, and conducting detailed research is emphasized in the episode.

In contrast to Western animation, anime series feature various librarians, almost all of whom are women, at least from the series I’ve seen so far. Some like Hisami Hishishii in R.O.D the TV, Fumi Manjōme in Aoi Hana, Chiyo Tsukudate in Strawberry Panic!, or Azusa Aoi in Whispered Words are students behind the circulation desk, while others engage in more wide-ranging duties. For instance, Anne and Grea, two friends who love each other, in Manaria Friends close up the school library, shelve books, and play a game of hide-and-seek within the library. Similarly, Yamada, the protagonist of B Gata H Kei, fails to seduce her male friend, Kosuda, in the library, on multiple occasions, embarrassing herself over and over again. Apart from the unnamed librarians in Cardcaptor Sakura who help the protagonists Sakura, Sayoran, and Tomoyo, find a book in the local public library, which is literally flying away from them, there are three librarians who stand out. They are: Doctor Oldham in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Myne in Ascendance of a Bookworm, and Lilith in Yamibou.

A collage of screenshots from Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (left) and Ascendance of a Bookworm (right)

The first of these examples, in the series Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, is Oldham, a middle-aged man living in Gargantia, an interconnected fleet of ships that travels across the world, which is completely covered by water. He is a medical doctor, considered a sage and wise man by those in the fleet. He lives atop a spire, perhaps a nod to the idea of an “ivory tower.” Anyway, Amy brings Ledo, a soldier who crashed on the planet by accident, to his dwelling, which has a degraded library filled with books and not much else, so he can learn more about the Gargantian society. While the library seems to be a book depository, Oldham does inform Ledo about the social organization in Gargantia and laughs at him for his absurd ideas about society. As such, he fulfills the role of a librarian as an Information Provider, even though he is not called a librarian and does not call himself a librarian. He later appears in an original video animation where he helps at a library on another part of the fleet, aiding others in looking through records there with Bebel, Amy’s brother.

The second example is Myne in Ascendance of a Bookworm. Unlike any of the characters previously described in this post, she is the anime’s main protagonist. In fact, before she took on her form as a sickly, but highly intelligent, young child, she was a book-loving librarian, killed, ironically, by a stack of books. To her horror, she lives in a medieval town in an era before the printing press or public libraries, and she makes it her life mission to become a librarian. This was made clear in one episode where a priest, angry at her for threatening his position in the society’s elite, purposely wrecks the church library to stop her from coming to an important festival. Upon seeing this, she declares that the priest should be executed for this “crime.” Luckily, she calms down, re-organizing the library using the principles of the Nippon Decimal Classification System, after rejecting her own proposal to organize the library based on her own ideas. The latter system is the Japanese version of the Dewey Decimal System. Myne is gleeful to organize everything inside the library itself. Even more than this, the episode features PSAs from Myne about this system and the role of Melvil Dewey. Later, Myne even argues the importance of giving away books for free rather than for profit, angering Benno, who is the sponsor at her guild. It is unique that a character would have a song about re-organizing books, even while the library is portrayed as a book depository, with other materials not mentioned. She is the most positive depiction of a librarian in anime I’ve seen to date.

The third example is Lilith in Yamibou, a caretaker of the Great Library, a repository containing thousands of books that contain all the book-worlds of the universe. For most of the series, she travels with Hazuki, her crush, looking for Eve, who is another caretaker of the library. You could say that Lilith is doing her librarian duties by making sure that worlds within the books are secure, meaning they are a key part of the series. While she, like Oldham, is not identified as a librarian in the series, the official site of the visual novel that the anime is based on calls her a library administrator at the “center of the library world,” and says that she “manages all the books in the library.” The same is stated on the anime’s official website when translated into English. Unlike Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and Ascendance of a Bookworm, the mechanics for the world’s shifting is “an interdimensional library,” with each of the books representative of another reality and the “home base” of Lilith, as pointed out by the Anime News Network. It turns out she is a “reluctant cosmic librarian,” as Eve, the real librarian and administrator of the Great Library, vanished years before into a “world of books.”

While Western animation series do not, generally, have BIPOC librarians, there are various BIPOC librarians of note in anime series, specifically in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Ascendance of a Bookworm, and Yamibou. Although these are not all of the examples of BIPOC librarians in animated series, there is the possibility for upcoming series to include libraries as settings for characters and BIPOC librarians as characters themselves. After all, with Clara Rhone, a Black woman who runs a library, appearing in the series Welcome to the Wayne, there is hope yet for Western animation series. The same can be said for anime as Myne will be making a reappearance in the third season of Ascendance of a Bookworm.


This is post is reprinted from my guest post on March 24 on Reel Librarians.

 

Sources

Animation and “anti-social” male librarians

Continuing from the post last week, Jennifer Snoek-Brown lists another stereotype of librarians, specifically referring to male librarians who are the equivalent of the spinster woman stereotype. They are, in her description, people are hoard knowledge, are middle-aged to old, dress conservatively, have an unattractive physical appearance, and exhibit “poor social skills” either by being very unfriendly or elitist. Of course, these characters are supporting or minor characters “rarely seen outside the library.” In this post, I’d like to highlight examples of these characters in animated series in an attempt to counter the stereotype.

Librarian in She-Ra: Princess of Power

This elderly librarian with long white hair is a clear stereotype of an elderly librarian or even an archivist like Madame Nu in the Star Wars series (whether in the animation or film), asks Madame Razz if she is looking in the right place, saying she will only find a glowing book if she searches in the “inner library.” While they are excited to go in there, he warns them, saying that no one has gone in there are thousands of years and books are in unrecognized languages. They still go in regardless, as they are dedicated to their friends. The librarian wishes them “good luck in finding your book.” He is voiced by George DiCenzo.

Wizard librarian in Prisoner Zero

Librarian welcomes Tag, Zero, and Jem to his library as they stare at it with amazement

This librarian (as he calls himself), who first appears in the show’s sixth episode (“Librarian”), has a library buried deep inside of the Rogue, the spaceship that Zero, Jem, Tag, and others are traveling on through outer space. He seems like an old, frail fellow, voiced by Gary Martin, and he has some sort of magical powers which allow him to teleport people and disable devices. He later helps Zero, Jem, and Tag fight off those trying to take over the ship, unfolding the secrets of a scavenger into a book that they can all read together. Not only does his appearance fall into existing librarian stereotypes, but he is anti-social when he first sees Zero, Jem, and Tag, literally hiding from them until he thinks they “proved” themselves. The librarian is described by Tag as an “eight-foot tall blue wizard,” which is pretty accurate, to be honest. Even so, he does know about the robotic scavengers attacking the ship and even has a 3-D book to show them about it. At the end of the episode, Zero welcomes the librarian to their team! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch the rest of the series, but when learning that the librarian appears, again and again, I felt I had no other choice than to watch the rest of the series. I’ll get to what I found, in the rest of the series, in another post, but I can say that he is shown in episode 7 but no library is shown.

Authorized books and restrictions in animation

In Soylent Green there is the above scene when Sol goes to the “Exchange,” which is an old library. It connects to an episode of Ascendance of a Bookworm, where Myne cannot enter a church library because she does not have the “permissions” to do so, but other animations as well, like Bloom Into You (where one character searches for missing records about their crush). But, it is not alone.

An episode of Riddle Story of Devil, “What Comes Suddenly and Never Leaves?” shows this clearly. Tokaku and Hari study at the library for midterms multiple times in this episode. Later they even have a fight within the library with a person who is trying to assassinate them. In the process, they travel to a hidden room with closed stacks, which definitely has archivy vibes, with Tokaku again defending Hari once more after they are attacked. In the time inside the room, we see, in the approximately two minutes inside this secret and hard-to-access room of the library, wheels and handles to move shelves (common in archives settings) are shown. Additionally, the fact the books are restricted has an archivy feel to it already, I would say.

Closed stacks indicated in the episode “What Comes Suddenly and Never Leaves?”

Another good example is what happens to the Ice King in an episode of Adventure Time. In the episode “Holly Jolly Secrets,” he complains about losing his library card. It was apparently taken away by the Turtle Princess, the sole librarian of the library in Adventure Time:

This is at the same level as the so-called “restricted library” in That Awkward Magic!!, although the latter is a magic archives rather than a magic library. Similarly, the librarian in Hilda, named Kaisa, is a witch, who can enter magic passageways and go to the Committee of Three, deep within the library, as shown in the below screenshot from the episode “Chapter 3 – The Witch“:

Since this can only be accessed after traveling through various secret rooms, so in that way, the books are restricted, although not in the traditional sense. Another series that talks about restrictions in animation is Equestria Girls, in one of the specials, “Forgotten Friendship.” Sunset Shimmer travels with a Princess Twilight and Princess Celestia to the Canterlot library, specifically to a restricted section, which can be called an archives, accurately, to get answers on how to reverse an enchantment that has taken away memories from her friends, meaning that they can’t remember her. Anyway, there is a malfunctioning catalog and the section of the library is definitely not open to the general public. Later Twilight declares she will reorganize the library and fix the cataloging machine. That reminds me a bit of Myne in Ascendance of a Bookworm, to be honest. In other parts of this special, the library reappears, a character literally has a whole song about forgotten friendship and admits she wiped the memories of Sunset’s friends (come on now!), and her friends get their memories back. Yay!

Twilight hyperventilating when learning there is a restricted section, after she has, apparently, read all the books in the main library

In the 11th episode of My-HiME, Mai meets Nagi Homura at a hidden school library to talk about the monster attacking the school’s students. Apparently, the location of the library is not well known and she only found out about its location from one of her friends. That sounds pretty secretive to me, to be honest. While I thought it was only a setting and wouldn’t have as much of a bearing on the story, I was wrong!

The amount of books there reminds me of Hilda, especially the area like the “inner library” in the Trolberg Library, that the characters visit. In other episodes, the location reappears. For instance, in the 14th episode, as Alyssa Searrs, Miyu Greer, and the others who are part of the Searrs Organization’s private army occupy the school, but the library is not specifically shown. It is also briefly shown in the following episode, where Nagi pushes Alyssa and Miyu out of his “home base,” where we see there are books on both sides of the room, with only one side of the room shown in the below screenshot.

In the show’s 25th episode, Mai meets Nagi there again, on her way to meet the Obsidian Prince and defeat him. Nagi dumbly leads her there, predicting she will be defeated.

Libraries Take the Spotlight in this Disney Junior Show

Recent animated series like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Hilda, Cleopatra in Space, and Too Loud have portrayed libraries positively. One Disney Junior show, which features the first South Asian protagonist in the network’s history, brings this trend to cable: Mira, Royal Detective.

The titular protagonist, Mira, lives in the fictional kingdom of Jalpur, set in 19th century India. She is a royal detective who serves at the pleasure of the queen and is “on the case” to help anyone in the kingdom, regardless of their socioeconomic class, with the assistance of two mongooses (Mikku and Chikku). Viewers of all ages can enjoy the series, especially the episodes with scenes in libraries.

In the show’s 14th episode, Mira works with her friends to determine the origin of a stomping sound shaking the royal palace. During her investigation, she travels to the palace library in hopes that it will help her solve the case. In the process, she re-shelves books which have been pushed to the ground by shaking underneath the palace. Viewers see spiral stairs leading to the library’s second level and beautiful designs in keeping with the rest of the show’s visual motif. The library reappears in the next episode as well: Mira and her friends Priya and Prince Neel fall into a secret room, much like in the scene in Hilda when a pet deerfox stumbles upon a secret special collections room in the town’s library. Using hints left by the previous detective, Mira and her friends soon enter another hidden room, and go through all the books on the shelves to find another clue. When they have almost lost hope of solving the case, Mira spies one final book. It has a note from the former detective, and she uses that to continue her journey. She then finds a book the detective left specifically for her, detailing unsolved mysteries in the kingdom. We see the same hidden room of the library briefly in another episode when Mira is showing a visiting princess some of the detective disguises left behind by the former royal detective. All these scenes communicate the value of libraries and their organization.

In the show’s 22nd episode, Mira solves a library-related mystery; the entire episode emphasizes the value of libraries, with some reviewers saying that it has a lesson about “proper library borrowing etiquette.” The episode begins with Mira pedaling a bike-powered bookmobile across Jalpur and telling her mongoose friends that everyone is amazed by the new “mobile library,” the design of which is inspired by actual bookmobiles. Mira works with her father, Sahil, to set up this library and says she is excited the city now has a movable library. When her friend Neel returns a book to the library, she tells him that there is always room for more books and that the library is for the whole town. After that, in keeping the tone of the series, the characters sing a sweet song about the importance of reading and libraries. This includes Mira describing the library as a “big buffet where you can try something different every day,” with many stories that can allow people to get lost in their imaginations in the process. Following this, Sahil checks out books to patrons and says that the last step is returning the book after you are finished with it.

Afterward, Mira’s cousin Dhruv returns a fantasy book named The Magical Monsoon and recommends it to those standing nearby. Mira notes that there is a waiting list for the book due to its popularity. Her friend, Kamala, checks out another book, with Mira’s mongoose friends stamping the book, taking out a slip and putting it in a box; Sahil tells her that she should return the book in three days, acting as the librarian. Shortly thereafter, The Magical Monsoon goes missing with no book slip showing who checked out the book. Mira begins her investigation, using her tools to find the person who took the book, talking to some of her friends to gather information. She eventually discovers that Kamala’s sister Dimple took the book by accident, solving the case. Mira reminds her that you need to check out library materials properly so that the library can keep track of their materials, so they are available for everyone to enjoy. The episode ends with the mongooses reading the book aloud to Mira and her friends who gather around a tree in the center of Jalpur, enjoying the story.

Fans who watch the series on cable or streaming services can expect more Mira, Royal Detective in the future: it was renewed for a second season before it even premiered! Whether libraries or librarians appear in future episodes, the series has already made clear to viewers the importance of libraries and hopefully it continues to do so in the future.


This is reprinted from I Love Libraries, where it was published on March 4, 2021.

Messy libraries and more fights in the library

Above are screenshots inside the “Exchange” in the film Soylent Green, showing a very messy library. I’ve written about fights in libraries before, whether between Green Lantern and the Cheetah, Diana Prince and Katana, the Glitch Techs and Skeltones, Amity and Luz against a book monster, the Mysticons and Proxima, and Nick Logan and alien creatures. In this post, I’ll look at the episode of Manaria Friends first.

In the episode “Anne and Grea,” there is a fight in the magical library at school, Anne defeats a monster there, encasing the library in ice. She gets in a lot of trouble for the fight, sadly, but grows closer to Grea!

Library encased in ice in the episode

During the episode “The Witch,” Kaisa, the librarian, works with Frida and Hilda to try and find a missing book. In the process, they have to fight various monsters and go through challenges. While they do find the book, they are thrown into the void, and Kaisa uses her magic, as a witch, to try and stop them from falling. In this way, there is a fight in the library itself. Thanks to Hilda and Frida, they help her save the day and escape the void! Librarian for the win! Yay!

In the fifteenth episode of My-HiME, Nagi looks at Alyssa Searrs, Miyu Greer, and the Searrs private army and eliminates the soldiers from his personal sanctum, which is full with books, and presumably other materials. However, since this scene is very short, I did not count it for a scene on my spreadsheet, but it should be mentioned nonetheless. The look that Nagi (who we could consider a librarian) gives them is utterly terrifying. If someone looks at you like this after you entered a library, you know you are in trouble!

In the next episode, he is shown there again, briefly, reclaiming it as his base, a place which has an entrance to the caverns underneath, which have a role later in the series. Clearly, he doesn’t want any people to take over his library! So, don’t cross him…it isn’t gonna end up good for you. He is briefly shown there, again, in the 19th episode, with a book in his hand, and sitting on a railing like he owns the place.

10 other beautiful libraries in animated series

Back in November of last year, I wrote a post about 10 beautiful libraries in animated series. This post is an extension of that, as I note ten other series with beautiful libraries. Without any further ado, let us begin!

1. Trolberg library in Hilda

While the library on the outside is a bit grand, inside, with many passageways inside to reach the chambers of the committee of three witches which control the Witches Tower. They have many resources at their disposal and if someone wanted they could study it for days upon days, hours upon hours! The lighting and set-up of the room imply that it has been there for a long time. This puts it at the top of this list.

2. Canterlot Library in Equestria Girls

This library is visited by Sunset Shimmer, Princess Twilight, and Princess Celestia in some of the parts of the specials, “Forgotten Friendship,” with Sunset looking for answers to solve an enchantment bewitching her friends. The library is shown as a grand place and while a library appears in the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series as well, as a place for celebration, which this series is a spinoff of, I do not believe it is the same library. Even so, this library definitely deserves to be on this list.

3. Princess Twilight’s ivory tower in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

In the first episode of this series, which aired in October 2010, Twilight looks through books in this ivory tower to find out if an ancient prophecy is about to come true. After reading in a book, she sends a message to Princess Celestia warning of the danger, but Celestia thinks she is too worried about it, and tells her to do something instead. As it turns out, Twilight is right, so libraries for the win, I guess! She later visits the Golden Oak Library, which becomes her home in Ponyville, which will be covered in another entry on this page.

4. Buddwick Public Library in Steven Universe

I’ve written about this before, but I’ve got to say that this library is the most positive part of the episode, much more than the shushing librarian. Unfortunately, the library is seen as a book depository rather than an information center, something that even Futurama realized. Even so, the library is shown as a place where people can read or study without being disturbed. As it turns out, the whole library is a repository of his books, so it makes it more like a repository in an archival sense. While libraries can be bustling, there are those in places like Newport, Rhode Island; Gloucester County, New Jersey, and San Mateo County, California which have silent book clubs, part of the Silent Book Club group, along with specific sections of the University of Albany libraries that are quiet, others which are collaborative. Quiet spaces in libraries will remain important going forward. On an interesting cultural note, there is a value of silence in Asian culture, including among Japanese people, where it is seen as valued and a “significant part of communication,” and research suggests that in many Asian cultures “people believe that talk is desirable only when there is something to be communicated.” [1] However, this does not mean someone should assume that quietness and being Asian are wrongly conflated, as that is a problematic stereotype. Someone of any race or gender can be quiet, since, as it should be plainly obvious, quietness is not inherent to any race. I’m not sure if Steven Universe is referencing that with the quietness in the Buddy Buddwick library, but they might be, due to other Asian influences from anime to Pearl herself. [2]

5. Mateo’s basement library in Elena of Avalor

Mateo and Naomi in the library, both preparing to leave in order to help Elena

I know some may already be grumbling about how this is a stereotype, one actually more often associated with archives than libraries, to have a library in a basement, but this library is beautiful in its own way! It is organized meticulously, including books and other materials that are easily accessible to Mateo, the wizard in Avalor, and he can be considered the librarian of his own library, the only one on this page. It shows up in the show’s first episode, which is amazing! I hope that it is like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in that this library, or others in the kingdom of Avalor, appear later in the series!

6. Golden Oak Library in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Interior of the library, showing it’s main reading room which is filled with books

The library appears over and over through the series, as Twilight uses it find out about specific spells and other information. It first appears in the show’s beginning episode, and is located within a hollowed-out tree, with the ground floor as the main reading room, a bedroom on the second floor, and has a basement as well. It is clearly her library and survives for much of the series, although not all of it. Lauren Faust, the show’s creator, said that it was originally referred to as “The Tree of Knowing.”

7. Royal Preparatory Academy library in the Sofia the First

In the eighth episode, Sofia and her friends come to the library to find out about how to be a princess. They talk to an older White woman known as Mrs. Higgins (who looks like an old maid), who works in the library. She is very helpful to them and they look through the library’s materials to find what they need. Sofia laments with her friends that she hasn’t been a princess for a while and doesn’t know a lot, with her friends comforting her. The library also appears in the pilot which began the series, titled “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess,” and in episode 16, “Make Way for Miss Nettle” for a very brief scene.

8. The Secret Library in Sofia the First

First appearing in the episode “The Secret Library,” then reappearing in the episodes “The Secret Library: Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle,” “The Secret Library: The Tale of the Noble Knight,” “The Secret Library: Tale of the Eternal Torch,” and  “Forever Royal,” along with in the crossover movie, “Elena and the Secret of Avalor,” and various episodes in the Elena of Avalor series, this is a grand library. Buried deep below the castle, the library contains thousands upon thousands, if not millions, of books. So it more of a book depository than a library. Still, is amazing, with a balloon/flying elevator that allows patrons to go from one floor to the next. It turns out the library is inside of a huge tree and she meets Aunt Tilly there, who tells her the books on the walls don’t have endings, so she is hoping that Sofia will be the next “storykeeper,” with the library choosing the first story you have to choose the ending for. Then the library narrates the story or something? Anyway, the library basically gives Sofia a quest, to save some flying horse or something. Fast forward to the end of the episode, she saves the horse, it goes to a hidden valley, and she finishes her “first story.” This is one sort of strange library, for sure. The first episode it appears in is the only one we get which focuses on the library in-depth. The other episodes use the library as a magical setting, but that’s about it, other than some select moments in the final episode of the series, where she has one last book (and quest to solve) about her.

9. Royal library in Avalor in Elena of Avalor

In the episode “Island of Youth,” Estaban goes to the library tolament that “no one” remembers his birthday, even though Elena and the others are throwing him a surprise party. His loyal guard, Higgens does remember, however, cheering him up, telling him that no one forgot his library (which is true). He wishes he was young again, which obviously foreshadows what happens later in the episode. This library is just as grand as the library of Royal Preparatory Academy in Sofia the First as mentioned earlier in this episode and has lush chairs for people to sit and relax. I have one question: where are the librarians? Doesn’t someone work at this library? I mean, really. Getting tired of these librarian-less libraries.

10. Library on the Arcus Prima in Simoun

Limone, a young priestess (called a sibylla) who is a member of Chor Tempest, often hangs out in the library on the Arcus Prima, as shown in the opening of every episode. In the eighth episode, “Prayer,” Dominūra talks to Limone, noting that is reading a plumbish dictionary, and she pushes her off. And that’s the end of the scene in the library. However, the library definitely falls into this post, as it has qualities of beauty and generally pleasing.


Notes

[1] Alina Lemak, “Chapter 6: Discussion” in “Silence, Intercultural Conversation, and Miscommunication,” Master of Arts Thesis, University of Toronto, 2012, page 159, accessed January 11, 2021. Lemack references a 1985 piece by Muriel Saville-Troike, referring to a chapter written by them titled “The Place of Silence in an Integrated Theory of Communication” within a book edited by Deborah Tanen and Saville-Troike titled Perspectives on Silence.

[2] Pearl, who is a femme woman on many levels, was argued to be Asian-coded as noted on page 65 of Heather Clark’s May 2017 thesis (“”My Lesbian Space Rock Show”: Representations of Intersecting Identities in Steven Universe), with a fan basing the determination on her voice actress (Deedee Magno Hall) and clothing, while saying that Garnet is coded as a Black woman, with later pages, like pages 66 and 67, saying the Gems as a whole can be seen as racially ambigious, with Rebecca Sugar saying race is a grey area for the Gems. This discussion is continued through the rest of the chapter, “Race and Ethnicity,” which began on page 64, on pages 68 to 72.

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