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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 some (wrongly) 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.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

By histhermann

Marylander with MLIS who loves archives, libraries, genealogy, reviewing pop culture, and writing fictional stories. UMD '19 & SMCM '16 grad. I've been running various WordPress blogs for a while now, about genealogy, libraries, archives, and more.

5 replies on “Spinster librarians in animated series”

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