"This is a library, after all."- Kaisa, the librarian of Trolberg. On this blog, I review animation, movies, and other cultural mediums, attempting to counter stererotypes of libraries and librarians, while reminding people what libraries (and librarians) are all about.
Hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan.
Some time ago, I came across tweets by Fobazi Ettarh expressing her disappointment that people defended a White female librarian who called a Black woman a racist term, then doubled down on her tweet. From there, I followed the links and came upon her 2018 In the Library with the Lead Pipe article, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves.” I had read it before, but I decided to give it a read again and thought as to how this could be applied to what I’ve written about on this blog in the past. Originally I was planning to put every point she made in the article into one blogpost, but that seemed to be squeezing too many ideas into one place, so I split off many of her points into specific blogposts, to fully explore what she says and to explain more how can relate to fictional depictions of librarians.
Ettarh began her article noting librarians “administering the anti-overdose drug Naloxon,” saying that while this seems natural at first, with these librarians working to “save the democratic values of society as well as going above and beyond to serve the needs of their neighbors and communities,” the rhetoric around this “borders on vocational and sacred language” instead of “acknowledging that librarianship is a profession or a discipline, and as an institution, historically and contemporarily flawed, we do ourselves a disservice.” She goes on to define “vocational awe” as a “set of ideas, values, and assumptions librarians have about themselves and the profession that result in beliefs that libraries as institutions are inherently good and sacred, and therefore beyond critique.” 
There are undoubtedly fictional librarians believe that institutions are seen as “good and sacred,” and “beyond critique,” especially since these characters are almost universally created by those who haven’t been librarians, have worked in libraries, have library degrees, and so on. As such, their views of libraries are informed by popular perceptions. As such, some characters clearly see librarianship as a vocation or a calling, based on the Christian tradition of calling requiring a “monastic life under vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience” as Ettarh points out.
One of those characters is Myne in Ascendance of a Bookworm who works in a church library, which she had been excited to be a part of. Unfortunately, in Part 3 of the series, she is not shown in the library. Instead, she is only shown being denied from the library and becomes subservient to authority, which is sad to see for her character.
This different from previous parts of the series, in which she undoubtedly sees her role as a librarian as one of obedience. Through all of the series, her role as a librarian becomes interconnected with her role as a gray-robed priest. This related to what Ettarh adds about vocation within librarianship. She argues that she has “allusions to religiosity and the sacred” and states that libraries created with the “same architectural design as churches in order to elicit religious awe.” She goes onto say that awe is a overwhelming and fearful feelings rather than a comforting one, meant to elicit “obedience from people in the presence of something bigger than themselves.”
This differs from O’Bengh, also known as Cagliostro, in an episode of What If…?. He is a sorcerer who works in a library, which looks exactly like a temple. He is a manifestation of librarians as priests. Sometimes it isn’t as explicit as his character. As I noted in the aforementioned post, O’Bengh falls into the librarian as an information provider stereotype. The fact the library is a temple, this, as I noted in that post, furthers the perception that libraries, and by extension librarians, are sacred. In many ways, he acts like a monk inside of a monastery who never leaves the monastery, as he never appears in any other episodes.
Ettarh goes onto argues that vocational awe manifests itself in “response to the library as both a place and an institution,” with library workers easily paralyzed by the “sacred duties of freedom, information, and service.” As a result of these “grand missions,” advocating for a full lunch break or taking a mental health day “feels shameful.” This awe is “weaponized against the worker,” meaning that there can be vocational purity test of sorts in which a worker “can be accused of not being devout or passionate enough to serve without complaint.”
In some ways this is weaponized against librarians. Take for instance Gabrielle (voiced by Victoire Du Bois) in I Lost My Body. She has an annoying supervisor who fits many librarian stereotypes and attempts to stop Gabrielle from talking to Naoufel (voiced by Hakim Faris), the show’s other protagonist, who is checking out books. While she is shown to be hard at work shelving books elsewhere in this mature film, she also is enforcing library rules and expectations all at the same time, with Gabrielle dubbing her “Mrs. Watchtower”. Since the library scene is so short and we see the movie mainly from Naoufel’s perspective, we don’t know the motivations of this annoying supervisor, who doesn’t even have a voice actor, and fellow librarian.
The same can be said about Amity Blight (voice by Mae Whitman) in The Owl House. In the episode “Through the Looking Glass Ruins”, her boss, Malphas (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) fires her after she is found in a forbidden section of the library. Although she isn’t supposed to be there, she is trying to help Luz Noceda (voiced by Sarah Nicole-Robles), who later becomes her girlfriend, find a book about a previous human traveler to this magical world. She accepts the consequences but Luz gets Amity’s library card back after going through a series of trials. Not surprisingly, Amity is grateful and kisses Luz on the cheek.
Ettarh writes that librarianship by its very nature privileges those within the status quo. She goes onto see that those outside of the center of librarianship can see more clearly, for the most part, disparities between reality of library work and “espouse values.” She goes onto say that vocational awe refuses to acknowledge libraries as flawed institutions, meaning that when marginalized librarians, including people of color, speak out, their accounts are “often discounted or erased.” She adds that vocational awe ties the twin phenomenon of undercompensation and job creep, when employees are pressured to “deliver more than the normal requirements of their jobs” which is gradually increased by the employer, within librarianship due to workplaces that are self-sacrificing and service-oriented.
This results in, as Ettarh puts it, librarians becoming self-selected. It leads to expectations that entry-level library jobs need usually voluntary experience within a library, coupled with “class barriers built into the profession.” What this means that those who have financial instability and cannot work for free have to take out loans or switch careers entirely. Furthermore, those librarians with family responsibilities cannot “work long nights and weekends” and librarians with disabilities can’t make librarianship a “whole-self career.”
In animation this is shown in terms of oft-stereotype of White female librarians who are elderly spinsters. It is implied that such librarians, who are often strict, have experience in library school, degrees, and have been in the library for ages. It is further indicated that even if one moves beyond White librarians in animation, I can’t think of one librarian who is physically disabled, which Ettarh seems to be talking about in her article. Many of the librarians may be mentally disabled though, through their demeanor and actions. Often they are characters for only one episode, so there isn’t enough of a focus on them to know who they are as actual people. That is the nature of current depictions
Back to Ettarh, she further says that having an “emotional attachment” to your work is often valued, and says that while it isn’t a negative, vocational awe is endemic and “connected to so many aspects of librarianship.” She goes onto say that the problem with this is that efficacy of a person’s work is tied to their amount or lack of passion rather than “fulfillment of core job duties”. She adds that if being a good librarian is “directly tied to struggle, sacrifice, and obedience,” then the more one struggles in their work, their institution / work becomes “holier”. This means that people are less likely to “feel empowered…[or] to fight for a healthier workspace.” 
Perhaps this is what Kaisa, the ever popular librarian in Hilda feels as she feels exhausted in one episode. More than that, she is experiencing burnout. As I wrote in that post, Kaisa exhibits many of the characteristics of burnout, or what some call librarian fatigue. However, it is hard to know whether her workload is sustainable, if she has a lack of personal control over her workplace, if is insufficiently compensated or recognized, or has a lack of social support, which often leads to burnout. As I put it in that post, librarian burnout/fatigue is something which librarians need to discuss more openly and it should be shown more directly in fictional depictions.
As a reminder, burnout, as noted in that article, means a “syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who do ‘people work’ of some kind”. It is caused by factors such as an “unsustainable workload, role conflict…lack of personal control at work, insufficient recognition…lack of social support, a sense of unfairness, and personal values…at odds with the organization’s values.” This is connected with feelings of detachment and cynicism, a lack of accomplishment, sense of ineffectiveness, and overwhelming exhaustion, with physical symptoms including hypertension, muscle tension, headaches, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, and more.
I end with words from Ettarh. She writes that libraries are only buildings and that people inside, the librarians, do the work, who need to be treated well. She adds that “you can’t eat on passion. You can’t pay rent on passion. Passion, devotion, and awe are not sustainable sources of income.” She goes onto say that while libraries may have a purpose to serve,but is that purpose so high and mighty when it “fails to serve those who work within its walls every day”. She concludes by saying “we need to continue asking these questions…and stop using vocational awe as the only way to be a librarian.” That is something I have to agree with wholeheartedly.
 She also says that the article tries to “dismantle the idea that librarianship is a sacred calling…describe[s] the institutional mythologies surrounding libraries and librarians…dismantle[s] these mythologies by demonstrating the role libraries play in institutional oppression….[and] discuss[es] how vocational awe disenfranchises librarians and librarianship” in hopes that librarianship can “hopefully evolve into a field that supports and advocates for the people who work in libraries as much as it does for physical buildings and resources.”
 Ettarh defines a healthy workplace as “one where working around the clock is not seen as a requirement, and where one is sufficiently compensated for the work done” and says it is not a workplace where “the worker [is] taken for granted as a cog in the machinery.”
Building upon the titles listed for July/August, September, October, November, and December 2021, and January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December of 2022, and January, February, and March of this year, this post notes recent titles with libraries or librarians in popular culture which I’ve come across in the past month. Each of these has been watched or read during the past month. Unfortunately, there were no animated series or films with libraries I came across this past month, but I did come across a good deal in comics, whether in graphic novels or webcomics, along with other entries. Hopefully, there will be more that I find in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Happy May Day! Today is also known as Labour/Labor Day and International Workers’ Day, celebrating working classes and laborers, which is promoted by the international labor movement. It is celebrated every year. In her 2018 In the Library with the Lead Pipe article, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” Fobazi Ettarh stated that a lack of compensation for library work is nothing new, with underemployment issues as a continued source for unhappiness. Librarians continue to be paid hourly and isn’t a primary job for everyone, while the institution gains reduced price or free labor with the enforcement of awe through its “dramatic and heroic narratives.” Interconnected to this is the mythologies of vocational awe which reinforces “themes of sacrifice and struggle,” while librarianship sustained itself through labor of librarians who reap only the “immaterial benefits” of having done supposedly “good work.”
This interconnects to fictional librarians. In this article I’ll focus on librarians who presumably get a wage, rather than student librarians which I wrote about earlier this month, or salary.  These librarians include Kaisa in Hilda, Isomura in Let’s Make a Mug Too, Lydia Lovely in Horrid Henry, and Ms. Herrera in Archie’s WeirdMysteries. There’s also unnamed librarians in We Bare Bears, Gabriel DropOut, Akebi’s Sailor Uniform, and Cardcaptor Sakura, to name a few who work in public or school libraries. All of those and more will be reviewed in this article.
Kaisa is a supporting character in Hilda and she works at the Trolberg Library. Although she is never shown getting a paycheck, there is no doubt that she is receiving some wages or salary. However, it is implied that she may be overworked and may be experiencing burnout. She often has to deal with annoying patrons, like Hilda herself. Even so, she is still helpful to patrons like Hilda and her friends. She is even a person who would stand up to her bosses, as she would have done in standing against them in a scene which never made it in Hilda and the Mountain King. Otherwise, she seems relatively content with her job, at least as her scenes in the show indicate, although the times we see her is relatively limited, so its hard to know for sure.
Since the show is set in an alternate version of Scandinavia, we can say she would earn an average salary of approximately 9,936 Euros or about $17,843 U.S. Dollars.  However, if we chose largest amount, she would earn about $42,274 U.S. Dollars a year, and around $3,386 U.S. Dollars a year at the minimum. Compared to those classified as Librarians and Library Media Specialists by the BLS, the average salary of $61,190 U.S. Dollars a year. Her salary is closer to those classified as Librarian Technicians and Assistants by the BLS which earn an average salary of $34,050 U.S. Dollars a year. Hopefully Trolberg has enough money to pay her, so I’m going to hope that she earns the equivalent of $37,000 a year, which means she would earn about $17.78 dollars an hour, assuming a 2,080 hour work year. That may be far too optimistic, but I’m really hoping here.
That brings me to Isomura in Let’s Make a Mug Too. She is a librarian and curator of local ceramics museum in the town of Tajimi. Since she has both jobs, she doesn’t devote all of her time to the library. However, she is from the city hall and is apparently a new hire. Now, librarians in Japan have an average salary of $5,882,809 Japanese Yen, the equivalent of $44,355 U.S. Dollars or $295,721.24 Chinese Yuan Renminbi. As for curators, they earn a bit more, $6,717,387 Japanese Yen.  That is equivalent of $337,578.57 Chinese Yuan Renminbi or $50,647 U.S. Dollars. If we average the two together, assuming she has a librarian-curator position, she would be earning an equivalent of $47,501 U.S. Dollars a year. If we use the same amount of hours per year I mentioned earlier, then she would earn about $23 dollars an hour! That’s pretty good for an amount of money to earn in a year.
More broadly, the library that Isomura works in is one of the thousands of libraries in Japan. Some of those are listed on the “List of libraries in Japan” page. A small number of these libraries are “beautifully designed” and I’d guess that some of them are like temples, as some are said to be designed by so-called “master architects.” Libraries in Japan have evolved from being a study room and place for limited use to a place with attitudes about guarding the “people’s right to know” and ensuring equal and free access to information for everyone. Furthermore, librarians in Japan said to be “very passionate” about including “all areas of thought” in their daily discourse and collections, since library collections in World War II were heavily censored. 
There are many librarians in Japan who work at public libraries. Take, or example, the unnamed librarians Cardcaptor Sakura. The latter show has librarians shelving books and searching for items on their computers, helping the protagonists. They seem respected by those in the library itself. Unfortunately, looking at the listing on IMDB, it does not appear that the four, or even more, librarians in the episode are uncredited, unless they are listed as a character. The same can be said about the two unnamed librarians who appear briefly in the first episode Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, “My Senpai is a Bunny Girl”. Both work at Fujisawa Library, a public library.
Similarly, consider the librarian in Gabriel DropOut. She has a more direct role. In the episode “Fun Forever After…”, an unnamed female librarian helps Tapris, who stumbles at first when getting into the library and struggles to get on the internet. She doesn’t even know what a mouse is, and even touches the screen when its not a touch screen. The librarian helps her, guiding her to books on computers and programming, leading Tapris to read books about them. Again, unfortunately, the librarian is not credited.
This differs from the unnamed librarian in Akebi’s Sailor Uniform. She works at an all-girls private school, Roubai Girls’ Academy. In one episode, “There’s No School Tomorrow, Right?”, she shushes protagonists Akebi and Erika after they excitedly talk to one another. After the librarian shushes them so they express themselves non-verbally and remain excited to hang out that upcoming Saturday, the following day, together. Like other school librarians, she likely takes training courses and work to make sure the services of the school library meets the needs of the school. 
This contrasts with Lydia Lovely in Horrid Henry, a children’s animated series set in the United Kingdom. She works as a school librarian during the series but is generally disrespected by the show’s protagonist. Putting aside that a White woman voices her, even though she is a Black woman, as I’ve talked about how this is problematic in the past, lets consider an average salary. In the UK a librarian earns about £23,019 British Pounds a year, and £10.14 British Pounds an hour.  That’s the equivalent of about $28,788 U.S. Dollars a year, or about $13 USD an hour. That is relatively low compared to what I’ve mentioned before. I’ll get to librarians in the U.S. later.
The diversity of UK librarians is even worse than in the U.S.: 97% of librarians identify as White! Compare that to the U.S. where 87% identify as White according to recent information. As such, Lydia Lovely is in the minority in terms of Black librarians in the UK. I don’t know whether there are Black librarian groups there like there are in the U.S., but I sure hope so, because they really need more diversity in their ranks of librarians, without a doubt.
They aren’t the only librarians in the UK which I’ve found in my watching of animated series. There’s the unnamed librarian in Sarah and Duck, a non-human librarian. Appearing in the episode “Lost Librarian” and voiced by Tom Britton, this librarian works at what appears to be working at the public library. Sarah and Duck who had gone to the library to learn about a periscope, help him after he loses his paper catalog . He eventually gets back the paper catalog, even as he shushes the duck at a later point. The one thing that is strange is that he has a paper catalog and there is no back-up. Strange and supports the idea of stereotypes of librarians and libraries as antiquated.
This profoundly contrasts with the librarian in Totally Spies who may be voiced by Janice Kawaye, a voice actor of Japanese descent, as I’ve written before, most recently in March 2022. She works at the Liverpool Library, based off the Liverpool Central Library as I noted in my post on April 18. It is the largest of the libraries in Liverpool. If she continued to work there, even as a buff librarian, with some spinster qualities, she would be in a building with “Wi-Fi access throughout the building with 150 computers” according to the library’s official website. The library also has 15,000 rare books, a local studies collection which provides the “rich and fascinating history of Liverpool“. Furthermore, in connection to what the librarian does in the episode, they charge for late returned items. This is something being phased out in many libraries, although Liverpool Central Library isn’t one of them.
That brings me to Gabrielle in I Lost MyBody. In the mature animated film, set in France, this librarian, voiced by Victoire Du Bois, she is a young woman who becomes friends with the protagonist after he, a pizza delivery person, delivers a pizza to her. She asks if he is ok, says he should change jobs, and they talk through the intercom while there is a hard rain outside the apartment building. She tells him she works in a library. It is later revealed, she delivers medicine to a man named Gigi. That she works at the Guy de Maussurant Library, possible referring to Guy De Maupassant, who is a great French writer of short stories. As a librarian there, checks out books for him there, helps him, tells him to bring them back in four weeks. Through it all she has an annoying unnamed library supervisor, while acting thoughtful, elusive, and hip from time to time. She rides a motorcycle, like Rin Shima in Laid-Back Camp, and is unique in that way.
Currently, the average salary of librarians in France is €47,292 Euros. That is the equivalent of about $50,534 USD per year, or $24.2 per hour, assuming the same 2,080 hour work year I mentioned earlier. It is worth noting that there are over 16,000 “public reading spaces” in France, but only 17% of the population are registered library users, due to limited hours open, remoteness, and continued stereotypes. At the same time, libraries of American Committee for Devastated France, otherwise known as CARD, containing librarians from the U.S., served as the foundation of modern libraries in France. There are also various professional organizations for librarians in the country. 
For Gabrielle, her job is probably pretty secure, even recommending The World According to Garp when he brings back another book. She probably doesn’t he has a second job seems to imply that her librarian job may not be paying her enough to stay afloat. However, if a second job is emblematic of the librarian field in France, one might say it means there is precarity at play. As Yoonhee Lee put it in American Libraries, “precarity within and outside of libraries is tied to larger structural forces.” If this is the case for Gabrielle, it could mean, on the one hand, that her job is not as secure and a symptom of larger trends. After all, it seems to be the case in France, at least to some extent, especially for those in the gig economy. 
That brings me to Cletus Bookworm in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. He is a librarian in the small town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota. Considering he is in the U.S., and in small town, what Jessi Baker, a small-town librarian said, is relevant here, that such librarians “often follow a different set of professional norms” since what may be considered “professional behavior in a larger area could be considered impersonal behavior by a small-town patron.” There is even an Association for Small and Rural Libraries. Other librarians also pedal around books and deliver them across the town. 
In the case of Bookworm, he appears to be respected enough to stay in his position even though he is complicit in kidnapping of his own patrons. Although this matters little to him, as all he wants in the library, similar to the general librarian stereotype of shushing librarians. is order in the library by any means necessary. He is very different from other librarians, like Archie the Archivist in RegularShow, which is set in an indeterminate location, who helps the protagonists, and is also the guardian of special laser discs, for some reason.
That brings me to the many librarians in the U.S. As I noted earlier, Librarians and Library Media Specialists earn an average of $61,190 U.S. Dollars a year and Librarian Technicians and Assistants earn an average salary of $34,050 U.S. Dollars a year. Most of the animated librarians in Western animation work in public libraries. Consider the unnamed librarian in We Bare Bears who is seemingly of Thai descent, who works at a branch of the the Los Angeles Public Library. She is shown as burned out and overworked, similar to Kaisa in Hilda.
She is not unique in this. Arguably Stewart Goodson and Myra in The Public may be be burned out to an extent. This differs from Mr. Anderson, the library manager. They all work at the Cincinnati Public Library. Also working in the Midwest is Bobby Daniels in The Ghost and Molly McGee and Clara Francis Censordoll in Moral Orel. Daniels is unique. He is one of the only Latine librarians apart from Mateo in Elena of Avalor and Eztli in Victor and Valentino that I know of in animation. Mateo is voiced by a gay man named Joseph “Joey” Haro, who is of Cuban descent, while Eztli is seemingly voiced by Jenny Lorenzo, who is also of Cuban descent. Daniels is voiced by Danny Trejo, he is presumably of Mexican descent since Trejo is of Mexican descent. There is a rich history of Mexican-American librarians, otherwise known as Chicano librarians, which tries to change the culture of the libraries they worked in to better suit their communities rather than White culture despite institutional resistance.
Censordoll is fundamentally different. In fact, her whole character stands against all the ethics and codes which librarians attest to. She dips books in kerosene so they can be burned and throws away books said to be “objectionable.” She is the equivalent of what the librarian-soldiers were fighting against in Library War and the present-day equivalent of book-banning/censorship efforts in the U.S., which seem to get worse every day. Such efforts are arguably a manifestation of fascism, although people don’t always use that word for them.
Other librarians appear in the Mid-Atlantic. This includes Harold in Craig of the Creek, who works at a librarian in the fictional town of Herkleton, Maryland in the Baltimore/D.C. metropolitan area. Additionally, the unnamed librarian in an episode of Steven Universe, “Buddy’s Book”, is located somewhere in Delmarva, along the Atlantic coast, in what can be called the Eastern Shore. Harold is voiced by Matt Burnett while the voice of the librarian in the Steven Universe episode is not currently known. The latter librarian may be more exhausted and tired than the former, although it is hard to know for sure because she is only shown very briefly in the episode itself.
Apart from these is Sherman “Swampy” in Phineas & Ferb, possibly in the mid-Atlantic region, or other unnamed librarians in the series. This contrasts from Rugrats. Considering the series is seemingly set in Southern California, it means the unnamed librarian in that series is in the same area. This differs from Bob’s Burgers which is set somewhere in the Northeastern United States. Mr. Ambrose works in a school library there, specifically at Wagstaff School. He is said to be “flamboyant” on his fandom page, implying that he could be gay.
Similarly, Archie’s Weird Mysteries is set in New York, in the fictional town of Riverdale. The series includes Ms. Herrera, who may be Latine, and a librarian ghost named Violet Stanhope. In some scenes, she is shown as not a ghost. She remains in the town as she has unfinished business in the human world and can’t leave until it is completed. For all the hassle that Herrera goes through, I sure hop she is compensated well. That’s my hope, although I’m not sure if it is fulfilled or not
Then there is the unnamed librarian in Kim Possible who would fall within the “high school librarian” and “school librarian” category listed by the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. She is voiced by April Winchell. The series takes place in a possibly Midwestern town named Middleton, but still located in the U.S. Considering the fact that she is a menace in the school, she may have strong-armed the administration to pay her adequately. Alternatively, she might be underpaid and is lashing out at students because her pay is low. Its hard to know. I wish someone would write a fan fiction about her, one day.
 Iwaski, Rei, Mutsumi Ohira, and Junko Nishio. “PathwaysforSchool Library Education and Training in Japan.” IFLA, May 2019. The library also appears in “Have You Decided on a Club?”, when the head of the literature club is talking to her friends in the library, and seems to read her books there to students as part of the club.
Today is International Day For Monuments and Sites. Also known as World Heritage Day, it is held on April 18 every year, with activities including visits to monuments and heritage sites, and more, honoring world heritage. For that, many of these monuments and sites invoke power. This is abundantly clear when it comes to libraries, including those in fiction, which are influenced by those in real-life.
Scholars have argued that libraries are operated and designed with a specific “racial motive”. They further have said they served the “interests of a white racial project” by helping with maintenance and construction of a White American citizenry and perpetuate White privilege within the structures o the library profession.  Others have stated that racial thinking influenced establishment of information institutions with Whiteness itself, influencing specific forms of infrastructure and policies, resulting in racialized structures.
Additional scholars have said that collections, description, cataloging, and exhibitions have shown resistance to change, with libraries serving as a place which transmits, preserves, and reproduces “certain values and regimes of knowledge”. This happens as libraries remain a place where people study, work, and gather.  There has been further discussion as to how libraries “reproduce whiteness and white supremacy” in many ways. This has led to to practices which are undoubtedly non-neutral, and is manifested in collections, hosted in some institutions, containing a “heavy legacy of colonialism”. 
Beyond that, there has been discussion about how library spaces themselves are White places, with a close relationship between race, place, and space through history. It has been said that libraries are not a place of non-oppression, questions of how libraries can become a “a place of freedom, liberation, and justice” when there is a place of diversity, racist/colonial cataloging practices, biased and limited collections, and the library itself enacting racism through “the maintenance of its own historically racist structure”. 
In response, some have said that alternative spaces should be constructed, places which don’t use the “unmarked normativity” of Whiteness and its dominating power, with its internal orders and external borders. Such normativity relies on “physical and conceptual policing” of the bounds of so-called “shared spaces of normalcy” in whatever that entails, especially at predominantly White institutions. This has led some to resist this and say that their librarianship is not for White people and others saying that White people need to develop the stamina for anti-racist work, transforming libraries into “anti-oppressive spaces where racial diversity is actually possible”. 
One such library that invokes power is shown in the Totally Spies! episode “Totally Switched!”. Only shown briefly, it looks like a bit of a temple, and is based on the Liverpool Central Library as confirmed by the Liverpool Library itself. It is within a building called the William Brown Library and Museum according to the relevant Wikipedia page.
The library undoubtedly invokes and promotes power. Furthermore, the librarian inside, whom I’ve written about on two occasions, first in May 2021, and again in March 2022, manifests this as well, by throwing an unruly (or surly) patron across the room. This grand look to the library is almost made to make it look like a temple, to make people see it with awe. The spies care little for this, however, as they break-in to examine the librarian’s date book without any problem, which they later put back. This library is only one example of this in fiction.
Another example is the inside of the Trolberg library in Hilda. Although the outside is somewhat grand with its columns, what is inside would make anyone stare with awe. In the Witches’ Tower, there’s an inner room with stacks upon stacks of books. There, a committee of witches resides, ones which are high-ranking witches. They also appear to be Kaisa’s bosses at the library, getting angry at her for not returning a book on time, harshly threatening to cast her into the void if she disobeys them, despite her strong disagreement.
Even more than the outside of the library in Totally Spies, the Trolberg library is meant to have an aura of knowledge. After all, it is two stories, has cabinets of books on almost every subject, and has secret rooms, the equivalent of special collections, which contain spellbooks.
The same can be said for the inner room of the Buddy Buddwick Library in an episode of Steven Universe. The shelves are neatly organized and cleaned. In some ways, it is so organized that it almost seems that no one uses it, unlike the school library in the latter part of Oresuki, when it becomes more heavily used by students, or any of those in episodes of The Simpsons, to give two examples.
Invoking power more directly is the Biblioteca in various episodes of Elena of Avalor. Accessed by Mateo, a royal wizard who helps the show’s protagonist, Elena, it is accessible through the floor and filled with books, materials, and other items. It also appears, similar to the library in What If…? to be magical in some way or another, as Mateo, or Elena at times, appear to be the only ones who can access it.
In that way, the library has an inherent power of its own which is built into how it can be accessed and the original creator, Alacazar, who happens to be Mateo’s grandfather. This makes it unique from other fictional libraries described in this article.
When the library appears first in the episode “Spirit of the Wizard”, Mateo is in awe of the library after Alacazar reveals it to him and Elena. Their animal friend is impressed, as is Mateo, amazed by all the spellbooks that are there. This awe somewhat fades when they realize that Alacazar will only last as long as the book that contains him remains intact. If it fades into nothingness, so does he. They only stay their briefly and move onto their main mission.
This is not the only instance in which the library projects power. Consider the enchanted library in Sofia the First, by the same creator as Elena of Avalor, Craig Gerber. The library is within a tree and and in a secluded area, only accessible through a secret hole in the bedroom of Princess Sofia, and then a boat ride. After that, it has been opened up with a book-like blue key. Speaking of exclusive! The fandom page for the library states that it “contains hundreds, if not thousands, of books,” many of which contain “unfinished stories of lives” that need good endings, something the Storykeeper, a sort of librarian, fulfills.
Just as imposing on the viewer (and character) is the Bonesborough Library in The Owl House. Luz Noceda, one of the show’s protagonists, first travels there when she is delivering a stack of books for her friend and guardian-of-sorts, Eda. She a little intimidated and undoubtedly in awe of this library. The library’s collections are organized by the Demon Decimal System (feeding them will cause them to sneeze and mess up the card catalog). There are also areas for manga and cyclops, and a children’s section. It is a public library with forbidden stacks and is staffed by an unnamed glasses wearing librarian at the information desk, Amity Blight in the children’s area, and a master librarian named Malphas. Additional parts of the library include a reference, fiction, non-fictions section, along with Amity’s hideout.
Even the library operated by George and Lance in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, two gay Black men who are the fathers of Bow, is imposing in its own way. The fandom page simply calls it a “giant multi-floor residence, museum and library” containing a large staircase, piano, a “grand collection of books”, and a fireplace. The outside is covered with vines making it a bit mysterious and hidden from onlookers. It is so hidden that Bow didn’t tell his friends Adora and Glimmer about it, who only found out when they were worried about about him when he didn’t report back to them.
The same can be said about the library of sorts which appears over and over throughout LoliRock. It is a magical library which the princess can practice their magic and learn new spells. It is a secret magical room which can be “accessed through a basement beside the rehearsal studio” and Talia works to keep order in the library. However, it isn’t as imposing as some of the other libraries, however, in part because it is smaller. Due to its magic, it has a strong effect.
Other libraries have such a powerful effect as well. For instance Nigel in Tangled episode “Pascal’s Dragon” reads books in the library inside the Corona castle to learn more about dragons. While there, he learns about their dangers and why should be stopped. The same can be said for the library that Marcy and King Andreas are in the Amphibia episode “Lost in Newtopia.” Both are library users.
There’s also the libraries in RWBY, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, Classroom of the Elite, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and El-Hazard. All of these libraries have a grand feel to them. The same can be said for libraries in Star Wars, Mysticons, Bravest Warriors, or the self-created library in Prisoner Zero. The latter is unique because similar to the bookmobiles in Mira, Royal Detective, the blue-skinned librarian in Prisoner Zero creates his own library in the hull of a ship. Although it is sadly destroyed, the library is filled with knowledge and materials of all types, although it mainly stores different types of books.
The same can even be said about The Stanza in Welcome to the Wayne. It is meticulously organized and it is meant to awe the patron. At the same time, it is accessible to people with a handrail that allows you to move across the library or non-human library assistants who will bring books to you. This is different than many of the other grand libraries shown in animation which have been covered in this article.
None of these libraries experience the decay and disarray which faces real-life libraries in Africa, due to Western designs being imposed on Africa rather than using decentralized models. Instead, these libraries are akin to real-life libraries which are said to be “beautiful” or “gorgeous”, with their imposing and monumental structures claimed to impress and dazzle people.  What is not always considered is if these structures are practical for the librarians and for the patrons. That is usually never mentioned in animated series and may be ignored in real-life too, so things can stay the way they are, even if problems exist within an institution which cause it to be rotten to the core.
 Ian Beilin,”The Academic Research Library’s White Past and Present” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 88-89
 Ibid, 85.
 Todd Honma, “Forward” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. xi; Beilin, 80-81.
 Beilin, 82; Megan Watson, “White Feminism and Distributions of Power in Academic Libraries” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 166; Section by Nicole A. Cooke in chapter by Nicole A. Cooke, Katrina Spencer, Jennifer Margolis Jacobs, Cass Mabbott, Chloe Collins, and Rebekah M. Loyd, “Mapping Topographies from the Classroom: Addressing Whiteness in the LIS Curriculum” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 237; Natalie Baur, Margarita Vargas-Betancourt, and George Apodaca, “Breaking Down the Borders: Dismantling Whiteness Through International Bridges” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 287.
 Beilin, 83, 86, 91, 93; Vani Natarajan, “Nostalgia, Cuteness, and Geek Chic: Whiteness in Orla Kiely’s Library” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 130.
 David James Hudson, “The Whiteness of Practicality” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 206, 213-214; Jorge R. Lopez-McKnight, “My Librarianship is Not For You” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 261, 265; Section by Kristyn Caragher entitled “Anti-Oppression Workshop Series at the University Library” within Melissa Kalpin Prescott, Kristyn Caragher, and Katie Dover-Taylor, “Disrupting Whiteness: Three Perspectives on White Anti-Racist Librarianship” in Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), p. 301.
The Japanese Library Association (JLA) reports that almost all of the schools in Japan have libraries, with tens of thousands in elementary and junior high schools, and less in high, middle, and special schools. Specifically, there are many more libraries in elementary schools than in other schools, due to the number of schools. Even so, there is a School Library Law first enacted in 1953, which states that schools “should have libraries,” and a 1997 amendment which led teacher librarians to be sent to schools with more than 12 classes. However, they aren’t excepted from regular duties as teachers of specific subjects in classrooms.  In addition there is a library law which was first enacted in 1950, with amendments from 1952 to 1965. This focus is reflected in anime, which I’ll focus on in this post, bringing together many other scattered posts on this blog which have included student librarians.
All these characters work in school libraries, otherwise known as school library media centers, which are libraries within schools where students, staff, and parents of the school have access to resources, with a mission to allow all members of the school’s community to have equitable access to resources,while using different types of media, the internet, and books. They are distinct from public libraries because they extend, support, and individualize the curriculum of the school, and as the coordinating and central agency for school materials. They have been praised for positively supporting student assessment.  These libraries are meant to serve small and large groups,having a learning space for students, functioning as a central location of information available. It also allows students to safely access internet, and has collaborative ventures with staff, providing opportunities for students. At the same time, the budget is important, while school libraries are staffed either by librarians, teacher librarians, or others who have a library science degree. 
When it comes to librarians in anime, they are student librarians. Speaking broadly, not specifically about Japan, but about these librarians in general, they provide valuable input for library development and “raise the profile of the library among their peers”. They also ensure day-to-day operations of libraries, although they only work during lunch and break times, but has to perform their duties or they will be replaced or fired. In such schools where this is available, many students have the opportunity to become a librarian. However, in some higher education institutions, students can be paid. In other cases, they might be student library aides. 
One of the first librarian characters I came across was Hisami Hishishii in R.O.D. the TV. Voiced by Taeko Kawata in Japanese, and by Megan Taylor Harvey in English dub, Hisami is a student librarian. Her character also is, in keeping with how librarians are usually portrayed, quiet, shy, and lover of books. At the same time, she is a friend with the protagonist, Anita King, who she has a crush on. She further has the distinction of being a 13-year-old author as well. Such characters appear as they are in line with preferences of anime viewers who are mostly in high school themselves, meaning that many anime are set in high school, although that doesn’t always limit the storytelling. 
This contrasts with Yamada in B Gata H Kei. Voiced by Yukari Tamura in Japanese, and Brittney Karbowski in English dub, she goes to a high school in Japan. Using data summarized by the JLA, elementary schools have four times more libraries than high schools, because there are many more elementary schools than junior high schools, middle schools, or special schools. Similarly, Azusa Aoi in Whispered Words, who is voiced by Mayuki Makiguchi, and Fumi Manjōme in Aoi Hana / Sweet Blue Flowers, who is voiced by Ai Takabe, are both student librarians in their respective anime. Additionally, there’s Fumio Murakumi in Girl Friend Beta, voiced by Kaori Nazuka, who goes to a high school, and Himeko Agari in Komi Can’t Communicate, voiced by Yukiyo Fujii. If I remember right, Hasegawa Sumika in Bernard-jou Iwaku a.k.a. Miss Bernard said, voiced by Aya Suzaki, is at an elementary school or some school lower than a high school.
Beyond this is Rin Shima in Laid Back-Camp, voiced by Nao Tōyama, Nagisa Yasaka in My Roommate is a Cat (“What Connects Us”), who is voiced by Hisako Tōjō, and Sumireko Sanshokunin a.k.a. “Pansy” in Oresuki, voiced by Haruka Tomatsu. There’s also an unnamed and uncredited librarian in Kin-iro Mosaic aka Kinmoza (“The Girl on My Mind”). In fact, the only male student librarian with a name I know of at present is Yuu Izumi in Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie (“Cultural Festival I”). He is voiced by Shūichirō Umeda and he works alongside Kamiya, who is voiced by Ayaka Fukuhara.
There are two or three unnamed librarians in a Revolutionary Girl Utena episode (“The Sunlit Garden – Prelude”). From my current listing of fictional librarians, I’m not aware of any student librarians in Western animation as of yet, apart from the library clerk in The Simpsons episode (“Bart’s Girlfriend”), who is voiced by Hank Azaria. That’s it. Most are much older. Sabine in Sabine; an asexual coming of agestory, is a student librarian, but she is in a webcomic and it is unlikely that will become an animation. However, if it does become an animation, she will be the first asexual librarian that I’m aware of in an animated series.
Some student librarians go to special schools. For instance, Chiyo Tsukudate in Strawberry Panic!, voiced by Chiwa Saitō, goes to an elite all-girls school. She goes to St. Miator’s Girls’ Academy, which is affiliated with two other all-girls schools, specifically St. Spica’s Girls’ Institute and St. Lulim’s Girls’ School. Comparably, in Manaria Friends, Anne and Grea go to the Mysteria Academy of Magic. Anne, who is voiced by Yōko Hikasa, and Grea, voiced by Ayaka Fukuhara, both help out in the library during the episode “Hide-and-Seek”. They also serve as library patrons in various other episodes.
There are various characters who are not student librarians, like Lilith in Yamibou, who is voiced by Sanae Kobayashi, an unnamed librarian in a Little Witch Academia episode (“Night Fall”), or characters in Library War like Iku Kasahara and Asako Shibasaki. Furthermore, Sophie Twilight in Ms. Vampire who lives in myneighborhood is a personal librarian and does not go to school. This is just a small listing of those librarians who are not students and are not, as a result, student librarians. 
The same can be said for the librarian in the strange first-person series, Makura noDanshi, also known as Makuranodanshi. Although he is apparently a “librarian boy”, he is 28 years old. Named Shirusu Mochizuki and voiced by: Kōsuke Toriumi, he appears in the episode “Librarian Danishi”, talking to the audience while shelving books and waking up a sleeping patron. In a connection to my review of librarians who sleep at the information desk back in January, he declares that naps disturb the other patrons and to not sleep in the library.
He also remembers frequent patrons, sees what people are reading in the library and he says he enjoys selecting books for patrons to read. He later makes an exception for the audience saying to rest there until his shift is over and goes further and declares that the library can become a place of “emotional healing.” That connects, in some way to my next example, this time of a student librarian.
One of the more intriguing student librarians I have come across during my anime watching is a blue-haired girl Kamiya, also known as Kamiya-san, in Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie. She is friends with the purple-haired protagonist, Izumi. She is on the library committee and he helps her put away some books, which all have Japanese call numbers. Although she is described as having a “cool but kind exterior,” with male and female fans, along with the ace of the volleyball team, this, and Izumi’s description of her as calm, composed, and pretty, is somewhat thrown into question.
She may be socially awkward as despite her popularity she wants to get away from it all and find a place that is quiet, the library. That is, in fact, how they first met, a year and half before, when she showed him how to enter books and items into the library catalog. At the present, she first tells Izumi he is different because he has a girlfriend, Shikimori, then grills him about it. She becomes impressed with his story and is a bit of a romantic rival to her in more ways than one.
It is later revealed to be a coincidence that both are paired for couples photos for the cultural festival and are on library duty together. In many ways, Kamiya is fulfilling the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto of 1999 which states that school libraries equip “students with life-long learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens”, as the skills he learns while working at the library will likely help him in the future.
Then, in the episode “Cultural Festival II”, Izumi and Kamiya are again in the library for library duty while the cultural festival is going on. They both talk about a recent movie they both watched. She has a vision or dream before that, at the beginning of the episode that she is losing Izumi to Shikimori, which makes her sad. While Izumi says he wasn’t expecting a conversation about lost love and expectations with Kamiya, he is glad they are talking about it. Kamiya even has the grace to trade e number with Shikimori so she can be with Izumi during the festival, something she didn’t have to do, but it says a lot about her as a character. As such, she is a librarian character, and so much more, who has a strong supporting role in this anime.
This is in stark contrast to other librarians in anime. Take for example the unnamed student librarians in an episode of Azumanga Daioh (“One Spring Night”). Seen helping patrons at the beginning of the episode while at the information desk, these two librarian aides, one of whom is a woman and the other a man, tell the protagonists, who are studying there, that they are leaving for the day. They ask them to turn off the lights when they leave. While this would be unthinkable for some librarians to ask patrons to close up for them, it is in-keeping with the slice-of-life vibe of the series, which sometimes is a bit chill and at other times wades into surreal comedy. In any event, the protagonists end up turning off the light and leaving before it gets too dark, as they have no reason to stay there and have to get back home.
Diametrically opposed to the previous examples is Sumireko Sanshokunin a.k.a. “Pansy” in Oresuki. Voiced by Haruka Tomatsu, she wears glasses, braids, and has a “sharp tongue,” to say the least. In the first episode, she is described as a quiet and plain library aide by the show’s protagonist, Amatsuyu “Joro” Kisaragi, at first. This is thrown into question when it turns out she has been stalking and watching him, while she holds the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The novel is said to be a book defining in the gothic horror genre, while the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde”refers to those who appear outwardly good but are actually shockingly evil. In this episode, she has some of that nature in that she ships a bench Joro had been sitting on to the library and pressures (and manipulates) him to coming to the library every day during lunch after confessing her love to him. He agrees on the proviso that the library is a “secluded” space.
Her actions on the face, violate the Code of Ethics for Librarians outlined by the JLA. In fact, Joro calls her a “demonic stalker” in the next episode. However, she remains aware of everything going on, an helps him out, and is later called, in the episode “I Met You Before” as a “formidable woman”. As rumors swirl across the school about Joro, she uses her role as a student librarian to encourage Oga, a star athlete at the school, to reveal he set up Joro, by convincing two other students, Himawari and Cosmos, that he lied to them. It is then that she reveals to Joro that she is the girl he fell in love with at a baseball game and is only taking on the appearance of a quiet, reserved librarian to hide her true nature from everyone else, especially from a supposed “demon” who is after her.
As the show goes on, the library becomes a place that Joro, and his newfound friends, Cosmos, Himawari, and Oga, study, while Pansy gains new friends of her own. It even becomes a place to whether the crises he weathers, like a libelous article claiming he has three girlfriends written by a jealous reporter, Asunaro. In the meantime, she becomes more comfortable with herself, and a new student even meets everyone in the library.
The “demon” of Pansy is revealed when there is a concerted effort to save the library, in the latter part of the show’s second season, a boy from her previous school, Hose. The school administration declares that there needs to more traffic from people using the library, i.e. more patrons, to prevent it from being closed. This is successful, and the library becomes a social hub for students, but its role as a secluded place is lost. Even so, more students means she can more effectively serve library patrons and beats an attempt to impede library activities, standing against the JLA’s statement on intellectual freedom in libraries which was last revised in 1979.
It turns out that Hose once had a crush on her in middle school, and he will stop at nothing to make her his, with two girls almost serving as his lackeys. This means she changed her appearance in order to avoid a possessive man who still loved her. Ultimately, Hose loses a bet with Joro, and Pansy says they can keep meeting in the school library, saying she still loves Joro, despite the fact she calls him “industrial waste” after he asked Pansy, Cosmos, and Himawari to be his girlfriends. The latter is seemingly a plea to get Pansy to have more friends, showing he cares about others beyond himself, at least in this case, even though he is generally a despicable character.
What Pansy experienced is not at all surprising considering there are reports of people sexually molesting girls in Japanese libraries, which are known as toshoshitsu in Japanese, ongoing sex-child prostitution involving high school girls, and sexual assault of schoolgirls on public transit. On a non-terrifying and disturbing note, there’s also a dedication to the privacy of library users, in line with the JLA’s statement I mentioned earlier, saying that it isn’t right if “people cannot use a library free from anxiety.”
Topics in libraries in Japan are organized by subject and letter, along with reference and foreign language books. What’s in the library would differ depending on whether the library is in a preschool, elementary, junior high, or high school. Furthermore the fact that attendance is almost universal with no absences, the education is intense, rules for uniforms are strict, students clean the bathrooms, classrooms, and cafeterias of their schools, and balanced meals provided in schools undoubtedly influence library environments in schools. 
There are other libraries in Japan too, beyond those in schools. This includes the National Diet Library, which made an appearance in R.O.D. the TV, the National Film Center Library, Automobile Library, Asia Library, Japan Aeronautic Association Aviation Library, an anime library, a manga library, and the related Diplomatic Archives and National Archives of Japan, to name a few. There’s also, apart from the ALA, the Japan Association of National University Libraries, Japan Special Libraries Association, and Japan Society of Library and Information Science. There’s even overnight libraries which are styled after remolded traditional homes which can be used by students as a place to study after school or relax. At one time they were even lending libraries at hospitals, library festivals in some places in Japan, and books just devoted to autobiographies. 
More broadly, there are libraries in “nearly every town and neighborhood in Japan,” meaning that is common to see people during their commutes or outside reading books and other materials. These libraries are “cultural facilities for the dissemination of knowledge” in Japan, sometimes having unique designs, water fountains, and library committees (at least in schools) where students are assigned library duties. Due to this role, it is no surprise that many libraries in the country prohibit photography. 
All of these libraries in Japan is not much of a surprise. After all, in Japan, having “harmonious relations with others” with reciprocity and fulling social obligations is more important than a relationship someone has to a so-called “higher power”. As such, order, harmony, and self-development underlie much of Japanese social interaction, which is why substitutes are rarely used, lunches are eaten in classrooms, and summer break is only 5 weeks long. Some schools even have classes on Saturday and there are various student clubs. Most also walk or bike to school if the distance isn’t that long. 
The fact that many Japanese librarians in anime are schoolgirls is in line with the audience of such animated series and likely current dynamics in school itself. Japan is a patriarchal society where men are portrayed to be the leaders and not in “feminized” professions like librarianship, with more men in the workforce, for all professions, than women. This is happening while Japan’s society is greying with an estimated 40% of the population to be elderly by 2060.  In the end, there will continue to be Japanese librarians in school environments going forward, a trend which isn’t going to end anytime soon.
 Teachers who are part of the JLA are part of its School Library Division. There are also divisions for public libraries, university libraries, junior college libraries, special libraries, and education. There are also committees and working groups which focus on, according to the JLA, “library policies, library management, copyright, intellectual freedom, bibliography, preservation and conservation, services for the handicapped, publications, library services for children and young adults, international relations, etc.” A June 2020 article in Nippon also stated that the number of libraries in Japan is increasing.
 Others include Aruto, Iina, Kokoro in Kokoro Toshokan a.k.a. Kokoro Library, Hamyuts Meseta, Mirepoc Finedel, Noloty Malche, Ireia Kitty, Mattalast Ballory, Volken Macmani, Ruruta Coozancoona, Mokkania Fluru, Fhotona Badgammon, and Makia Dekishart in Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra, Isomura in Let’s Make a Mug Too episode (“The Garden of Sky and Wind”), unnamed librarian in Akebi’s Sailor Uniform episode (“There’s No School Tomorrow, Right?”), unnamed/uncredited librarian in Gabriel DropOut (“Fun Forever After…”), four unnamed/uncredited librarians in Cardcaptor Sakura episode (“Sakura and the Summer Holiday Homework”), and two librarians in Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (“My Senpai is a Bunny Girl”), Atsushi Dojo, Mikihisa Komaki, Hikaru Tezuka, Ryusuke Genda, and Kazuichi Inamine in Library War, and Riichi Miura in The Ancient Magus Bride: Those Awaiting a Star.
This post brings together those characters which I forgot to add to previous parts of this Behind the Screen series and other characters I have found since putting together parts 1-7.
About the voice actors
Many of the voice actors who voice fictional librarians in anime are Japanese women. This includes Yukari Tamura who voices Yamada in B Gata H Kei, and Mayuki Makiguchi who voices Azusa Aoi in Whispered Words. Tamura is known most recently for her roles in Kaginado (Mai Kawasumi and Mei Haruhara) and Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story (Mizuho Himekawa), according to her official website. Tamura previously voiced characters in Naruto, Super HxEros, Cutie Honey Universe, Crossing Time, Akame ga Kill!, Girl Friend Beta, Kin-iro Mosaic, Ben-To, Kampfer, Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, and R.O.D. the TV
Makiguchi is just as talented. She as voiced established characters in Bamboo Blade, Gintama, Soul Eater, Kimi ni Todoke, The World God Only Knows, Go! Princess PreCure, Puzzle & Dragons, and Master Journeys. She also provided dubbing with additional voices in Adventure Time.
The saddest story is the case of Ai Takabe who voices Fumi Manjōme in Aoi Hana / Sweet Blue Flowers, her voice acting debut role. Best known for playing Fumiyo Nabekura in Guren Onna and voicing Agiri Goshiki in Kill Me Baby. In 2015, she was arrested for cocaine use, and although the charges were dropped the following year, and she wasn’t prosecuted by the authorities, with the prosecutor admitting it was a miniscule amount of cocaine, it served as the end of her voice acting career. Some argued it was a “stark example” of the Japanese entertainment industry’s penchant for “distancing its projects from any sort of criminal activity.” In 2017, however, she married a man said to be an “elite representative of a major law firm.” She is also known for her roles voicing characters in Wandering Son and Sacred Seven.
Then there’s Chiwa Saitō who voices Chiyo Tsukudate in Strawberry Panic! and Yōko Hikasa who voices Anne in Manaria Friends. Saitō is best-known for her roles in voicing characters in Monogatari, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Akatsuki no Yona, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, Aria, and Genshin Impact. In the case of this blog, its interesting that she voiced Anita King in R.O.D. the TV, since that series has library themes weaved throughout! She further voiced characters in Maria Watches Over Us (Mami Yamaguchi), Gintama, Whispered Words (Miyako Taema), and YuruYuri (Nadeshiko Ōmuro).
Hikasa, on the other hand, is known, for her roles voicing characters in K-On! (Mio Akiyama), Little Witch Academia (Diana Cavendish), and Shaman King (Yoh Asakura). She also voiced characters in series such as Gokujyo, Girl Friend Beta (Risa Shinomiya), Flip Flappers (Sayuri), Macross Delta (Claire Paddle), and A Couple of Cuckoos (Namie Umino).
Then there’s Ayaka Fukuhara and Aya Suzaki. Fukahara voices Grea in Manaria Friends and Suzaki voices Hasegawa Sumika in Bernard-jou Iwaku a.k.a. Miss Bernard said. Fukahara voices another fictional librarian, Kamiya / Kamiya-san, in Skikimori’s Not Just A Cutie. She is known for her role voicing characters in The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls, Arpeggio of Blue Steel and Qualidea Code. On another library-related note, she voices the Chairman in A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd, an anime which happens to not have that many library scenes weirdly enough.
Suzaki, on the other hand, most recently voiced Rio Isuzu in Cue!, Nora Valkyrie in RWBY: Ice Queendom, and Ichi Tanaka in Assault Lily; Bouquet. She also voiced characters in A Certain Scientific Railgun (Rikou Takitsubo), Kandagawa Jet Girls (Manpuku Kuromaru), Release the Spyce (Mei Yachiyo), and Knights of Sidonia (Ena Hoshijiro).
There are three other voice actors I’d like to mention: Nao Tōyama, Aoi Yuki, and Shūichirō Umeda. Tōyama voices Rin Shima in Laid Back-Camp, Yuki voices Dantalian in As Miss Beelzebub Likes, and Umeda voices as Yuu Izumi / Izumi-kun in Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie.
Tōyama is known for her roles in voicing characters in The World God Only Knows (Kanon Nakagawa), Niskoi (Chitoge Kirisaki), My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected (Yui Yuigahama), Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Tomoe Koga), and Kin-iro Mosaic (Karen Kujō). Yuki, on the other hand, also voiced a character in My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected (Komachi Hikigaya) but also voiced characters in anime such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Madoka Kaname) and Rent-A-Girlfriend (Mami Nanami).
Finally, there’s Umeda. The only male voice actor in this post, he has voiced characters in anime such as Banana Fish, The Aquatope on the White Sand, and Zombie Land Saga.
About the characters
This brings me to the characters themselves. Yamada in B Gata H Kei is the protagonist of this anime. She a 15-year-old high school student who declares she will have sexual relations with 100 guys, but her insecurities result in rejections of anyone who makes a move toward her. So, Takashi Kosuda, her classmate, becomes the target of her seductive efforts. This includes working at the school library.
Azusa Aoi in Whispered Words and Fumi Manjōme in Aoi Hana / Sweet Blue Flowers are more directly librarians than Yamada, although both are also students like her. Azuza is a classmate of the protagonists, a lover of yuri, and likes to attended yuri-only events and write yuri dōjinshi. However, she disapproves of Tomoe and Miyako’s relationship as she believes that love between women should be fragile and pure, hidden away from people’s eyes. In contrast, Fumi is the protagonist of Sweet Blue Flowers. She is a shy and tall girl who has a crush on Yasuko and is good friends with the other protagonist, Akira Okudaira.
There are additional characters who are students and librarians at their respective schools. This includes Chiyo Tsukudate in Strawberry Panic!, Anne and Grea in Manaria Friends, and Hasegawa Sumika in Bernard-jou Iwaku a.k.a. Miss Bernard said. All of these characters are different from each other, however. Chiyo is a timid first-year who deeply admires Nagisa, Anne is a princess and magical prodigy, and Grea is half-human/half-dragon, who grows confident thanks to Anne. It is heavily implied that Grea has feelings for Anne and vice versa. Hasegawa is a protagonist, a librarian, and student as well.
This contrasts with Rin Shima in Laid-Back Camp. She is a student volunteer at her school library and loves to camp. She meets Nadeshiko while camping and they become friends. She is never shown doing much in the school library apart from reading a book, usually books about camping, or checking her phone. Similar in some ways to her is Dantalion in As Miss Beelzebub Likes who often sleeps in the library as he stays up late reading books upon books.
Contrasting this is Kamiya / Kamiya-san and Yuu Izumi / Izumi-kun in Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie. Both work on the library committee together at their high school. In Kamiya’s real debut episode, “Cultural Festival I”  it is said that both of them had worked together before. In the episode, Kamiya says that Yuu has changed, saying it is because of his girlfriend, the show’s other protagonist, Shikimori. She is interested in his relationship with Shikimori, which he describes as uncharacteristic, remembering back to when he showed her how to use the library systems, like catalog books. The episode also shows them shelving books and Japanese call numbers on the sides of books. Anime News Network said that Kamiya “presents a cool but kind exterior, and has fans from boys and girls alike” and that she is “also the ace of the volleyball team.”
 Her fandom page says that she first appeared in episode 2, but she must have not made a lasting impression, because I don’t even remember her character. It isn’t until episode 7 that we get more of her backstory. She also has a crush on Izumi.
Building upon the titles listed for July/August, September, October, November, and December 2021, and January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December of 2022, and January and February of this year, this post notes recent titles with libraries or librarians in popular culture which I’ve come across in the past month. Each of these has been watched or read during the past month. Not as many animated series or anime with libraries this past month, but I did come across a good deal in comics, whether in graphic novels or webcomics, and hopefully there will be more that I find in the days, weeks, and months to come. That’s my hope at least.
Often librarians are portrayed as quiet, bookish people, who shush those who are noisy, and act in a stereotypical manner. However, librarians come in many types and kinds, either with an MLIS/MLS or not, and those stereotypes can be disrupted when a librarian changes professions as it changes audience expectations. Even so, librarians aren’t united on what the image of librarians should be changed into in order to counter the stereotypes. Through all of this, many librarians are portrayed with hair buns, part of the oft-stereotype.  Today, I’ll explore that, determining why this is the case, its significance in librarian portrayals, and what it means overall. As Swallow said in Act I of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy play, The Mary Wives of Windsor, “if you should fight, you go against the hair of your professions,” meaning that you are going against the grain.
Fictional librarians are often shown with so-called “traditional” outfits, looks, and hairstyles, including hair buns, which are symbolic in research around stereotypes themselves. This has even cropped up in webcomics. This is in part because styling one’s hair can be “highly politicized” and complicated, especially for people of color, who experience microaggressions when people want to “touch” their hair or question it entirely. Some have even argued that different hair styles can be empowering and resist stereotypes, even as a library can be a “very conservative” place to work, although this may not be as strict in university library environments. Hair can also be an opportunity to communicate change, while serving as an intricate part of the identity and responsibility of the profession itself, with different hair styles having the potential to dispel stereotypes. 
In Western animation, this is clear as librarians of color, like Clara Rhone in Welcome to the Wayne, and Mira in Mira, Royal Detective episode (“The Case of the Missing Library Book”) don’t wear hair buns. Neither does Ms. Herrera in a Archie’s Weird Mysteries episode (“The Haunting of Riverdale”). However, the unnamed librarian in a We Bare Bears episode (“The Library”) prominently wears a hair bun, and serves as the only librarian of color that I know of, in Western animation, that does so. This could be a function of her role in the library and set rules which may establish that she dresses to “impress” in a semi-formal outfit. So, it could be a consequence of that, as other librarians I’ve mentioned may work in environments which are more open with their rules around self-expression or care little about how people look.
Also, Francis Clara Censorsdoll in MoralOrel wears a hair bun. Even, the blue-glasses wearing librarian in The Flintstones episode “The Hit Songwriter” wears a hair bun. At times, it appears that librarians with hair buns are meant to symbolize social conservative and prudish people, like the librarian in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head (“Cyber-Butt”), who faints when she sees a nude image on a computer screen. Although she doesn’t wear a hair bun, what she symbolizes is similar to how some librarians are portrayed in Western animation.
Others have declared that the perception of librarians with hair buns or lace collars should be discarded, as librarians are highly active and high tech now. While someone can easily agree with this, it is harder to push away the image of a spinster librarian with a hair bun, with some wearing buns and braids while working in the library. There is the further point that many librarians may not have enough hair to put into a bun in the first place. At one point, librarians adopted the hair bun style at one time, giving life to what became the stereotype and cliche. However, nowadays many younger librarians have different hair styles, and some might even have better eyesight than anyone else as they don’t need glasses!  Still, tropes like the”Prim and Proper Bun” remain, with those with this hairstyle said to be in charge or be respected. This is somewhat countered with the “Loony Librarian” trope, which is said to describe a librarian who’s let “their profession mess with their mind a little.”
The stern librarian with hair tied tightly behind their head, peering at patrons from behind their glasses, still remains a go-to-stereotype for too many, even perpetrated by journalists who should know better. Some even try and make it sexy, serious, while others highlight other hairstyles or fashions instead.  The shushing librarian remains, despite the fact it doesn’t reflect reality, with uptight librarians fading from existence except in pop culture, where they remain a negative stereotype. They appear as early as a 1921 silent film, with hair buns becoming an “occupational indicator” of librarians over time, even as there is no single image of a librarian.  Instead, actual librarians are different, and have varying styles. Jennifer Snoek-Brown, who runs Reel Librarians, has recognized this with posts about librarian style, like a librarian-themed clothing collection she posted about in May 2022.
Of course, there are actual librarians out there, like the elderly White woman with grey hair in a bun shown at the beginning of Ghostbusters, and others who embody the stereotype or wear librarian costumes for Halloween. However, there are just as many who run afoul of that stereotype, either by not shushing any patrons. The stereotype itself has its roots in gender with the profession dominated by White woman, although it is not accurate in the slightest.  There is supposed “greying” of the profession which only reinforces the images of frumpy stereotypical librarians, an image with unknown origins. The latter image is something which has become a signifier of the profession, for better or worse, despite efforts to counter it. The fight to counter such images continues, with some showing they are more than a librarian, like those who also bellydance, and others who thrive on change and want to dispel of the bun entirely. 
There are various librarians in Western animations who don’t wear hair buns. Apart from Amity, who I mentioned earlier, there’s Violet Stanhope in an episode of Archie’s Weird Mysteries (“The Haunting of Riverdale”), Miss Dickens in Carl Squared episode (“Carl’s Techno-Jinx”), Sara and Sarah in Too Loud, Mrs. Shusher in The Replacements episode (“Quiet Riot”), Millie in Madagascar: A Little Wild episode (“Melman at the Movies”), and Marion the Librarian in Hanny Manny. There are additional unnamed librarians in Martin Mystery, Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil, Uncle Grandpa, Phineas and Ferb, andAmphibia, none of whom wear hair buns either.
But there is something more to the bun hairstyle. In some ways, it can be practical, despite being a stereotype for librarians, and is claimed to add “glam” or “chic” to any outfit, with no “right or wrong way to wear a bun” as one site declared. This can also be pushed away by people of color who want to move away from being called a “bun lady”. At the same time, apart from the types of buns, some of which are said to show that a person is “sophisticated.”
Ancient Chinese, Koreans, Polynesians, and Greeks, often women, all wore hair buns. The hair style was popular in Korea and Japan among men, for one reason or another. It became popular beginning in the 1800s, as styles from ancient Greeks and Romans entering into high society, and again in the 1870s, during the Victorian period. 
This isn’t the case for all librarians, however. The above librarian, Nagisa Yasaka (voiced by Hisako Tōjō), appears in one episode of My Roommate is a Cat, “Ones Who Can’t Be Controlled”, and is overjoyed when the protagonist gives her a book, thinking she’d be interested in it, after struggling to decide what to give her, not knowing her interests. She tells him that she is a school librarian. Unfortunately, we only see her in this one episode and never again, so it isn’t known whether she wears a hair bun while working in the library or not.
She is not alone in this. Hair buns are somewhat rare for the librarians I’ve seen in anime to-date, with even Fumio Murakumi in Girl Friend Beta having her hair braided into tails, but not tied up in a hair bun. The same is the case for Hasegawa Sumika in Bernard-jou Iwaku a.k.a. Miss Bernard said, while Himeko Agari in Komi Can’t Communicate has hair too short to put into a hair bun. Even the two librarians briefly shown in the first episode of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai don’t have a hair bun, as one as her hair in a ponytail and the other doesn’t have her hair tied up. The unnamed and uncredited librarian shown in an episode of Kin-iro Mosaic aka Kinmoza (“The Girl on My Mind”) doesn’t have her hair in a hair bun either. Instead, its just in a pony tail.
However, there are a couple librarians in anime who have a hair buns. Take for example, the unnamed librarian in an episode of Akebi’s Sailor Uniform episode (“There’s No School Tomorrow, Right?”). More prominently, there’s Rin Shima in Laid-Back Camp. Apart from her sleeping at the information desk, from time to time, as I described in a post back in January, she seems comfortable with a hair bun. It allows her to keep her hair tied up while she works, and doesn’t serve as a distraction. She might be the most prominent Japanese fictional librarian who wears a hair bun.
This difference in fictional librarians is one of the many aspects which sets apart librarians in anime from those in Western animation. If the photographs on Wikimedia and scattered images online are any indication, Japanese female librarians often don’t often wear hair buns. So, in this sense, the anime may be reflecting reality. The same may be the case for Western animation, to an extent, except that there has been a strong resistance to the “bun lady” perception in Western countries, especially by librarians of color, who don’t want to tie up their hair in buns. Hopefully, Western animation, in coming years, features more librarians without hair buns, and guts the stereotype entirely, even if it is too easy to rely on old cliches of librarians (often White) who are strict, curmudgeonly, and have hair buns.
 Top row, from left to right: unnamed librarian in Futurama, unnamed librarian in DC Super Hero Girls, Ms. Hatchet in Kim Possible, Rita Book in Timon & Pumbaa, unnamed librarian in Rugrats. Bottom row, from left to right: Mrs. L in Dexter’s Laboratory, unnamed librarian in Totally Spies!, unnamed librarian in We Bare Bears, Eztli in Victor and Valentino, Francis Clara Censordoll in Moral Orel, unnamed librarian in Big City Greens, Arlene in Phineas and Ferb, and Censordoll again.
When I began watching Love Live! Sunshine!!, an anime about girls who try to become school idols and is filled with music, I didn’t expect to come across a character who is a librarian, who is relatively popular among fans of the show. For this post, and on my blog in general, I use librarian broadly to mean anyone who works in a library, specifically those who care for the contents of the library, selecting and processing materials, engaging in information delivery, library instruction, or loaning out materials to meet user needs. Librarians may have a MLIS or MLS, but not having a professional degree does not disqualify someone from being a librarian despite what some snobbish people in the library field say.  This definition is apt for Hanamaru Kunikida, whose journey from being a librarian to a school idol fits into existing stereotypes in some ways, as I’ll explain.
Hanamaru is a first-year student who lives in a temple with her her family, as noted on the Wikipedia page for the series, voiced by Kanako Takatsuki in Japanese and Megan Shipman voices her in the English dub. She refers to herself as “ora” or “Mura” and ends many sentences with “Zur” due to her specific dialect. She is more than an “avid reader” at the library at Uranohoshi Girls’ Academy or a person who “loves to read” as a press release for the series put it.  Instead, she is a student assistant who volunteers at the school library as she is shown behind the information desk during the fourth episode, “Their Feelings”. In that episode, in a narration, she describes that the library has become her quiet place, her retreat, and that Ruby Kurosawa is her dear friend, who she says she will marry one day,  coming to the library with her often to read idol magazines.
In that episode, she returns to her world of books, as a librarian, rather than become a school idol, after she feels that her “trial” as a school idol was a “failure.” Later Ruby and the other school idol members, Chika Takami (who created the group), You Watanabe, and Riko Sakurauchi (a transfer student), convince her to join a group they call Aqours. She becomes a liberated female librarian in some ways as a result. Even though she is not a trapped or naïve woman who discovers who she is and what she is capable of with the help of a man, as Jennifer Snoek-Brown defines as a “liberated librarian” on her Reel Librarians blog, she is pushed by her friend Ruby and the other members of the school idol club to realize her passion to become a school idol. This “liberation” is a net positive for her as she is no longer suppressing a part of herself. On the other hand, this “liberation” is not part of the plot.
Like other “liberated” librarians she is young but isn’t wearing conservative or reserved clothing. When she practices as an idol her appearance does change but into clothes that are more casual. As such she doesn’t become attractive or more feminine but not less attractive. She is just as attractive as before. She is undoubtedly intelligent and seems committed to libraries in terms of it being an escape for her, and seems to stop volunteering as a librarian. She also has a lack of exposure to modern technology, whether it comes to laptops, hair dryers, or motion-activated water fountains.  In some ways she is similar to Swampy in Phineas and Ferb as I’ll explain later.
Hanamaru bucks the librarian stereotype, as she is on screen more than a “short period of time” in order to advance the story, and is not a stock character in the slightest. Although librarians may not need to take these stereotypes completely “to heart,” such stereotypes can be damaging if it is the main plot of an episode, as is the case in many animated series. Her fashion goes against the “common” style of librarians which cab be shown in “dowdy suits in muted tones,” and is completely blown out of the water as the series continues.
As the series goes forward, her talent for singing, as a member of the local choir, shines through. This is especially the case when she works alongside Chika Takami and many other friends as part of a school idol group called Aqours which tries to prevent her school from shutting down. Basically, she goes from “a shy and un-athletic bookworm”  to a school idol after Ruby tells her of Rin’s journey to self-confidence. In becoming a school idol, she is not a librarian as failure, nor a spinster, spirited young girl, naughty librarian, comic relief, or information provider. In later episodes of the series, as now a school idol, she remains “fascinated by the modernity” in a larger city, comes dressed in a silly outfit, id distracted by candy and sweets, works on songs with her fellow school idols, and puts together a fortune-telling booth with another group member. 
Unlike Swampy, Hanamaru is not a failure and her presence in the library is not “suggestive of flaws in library” although she can be “uncomfortable in social/outside world situations.” Like him, she does not return to the library and her portrayal is not completely stereotypical as she never shushes anyone. Rather, the library is an escape of sorts for her, a refuge. It is a safe place for her, a places of calmness which seems removed from the pressures of the outside world, although she isn’t escaping any evil spirits like those in other series who flee to libraries for safety. In this way, the school library is doing exactly what physical library spaces often do, according to librarian Fobazi Ettarh, serving as sacred spaces, while being treated as sanctuaries by keeping people and sacred things, and becoming places of refuge or shelter.  This is true even though, apart from her saying that books dropped off by the school idol club will be shelved, she is never shown engaging in any typical librarian tasks.
While becoming a school idol allowed Hanamaru to not suppress a part of herself which and to not remove herself from everything else, quietly reading, and staying in her own world of sorts, the series series seems to be saying that you shouldn’t hold back yourself and that you can do anything. In the process, it gives the perception that quietly reading, and being a librarian who oversees a librarian by extension, is “bad” while becoming a school idol is “good.” This is just as problematic as Phineas and Ferb basically saying that libraries are outdated and outmoded, especially through Swampy going being a rockstar to a librarian, then back to a rockstar again, when pushed by the show’s two persistent protagonists. It is never answered what happens to the library after she leaves. The series portrays her time in the library as depressing and drab, apart from her interactions with her friend Ruby. However, after she becomes a school idol she is shown as happy and joyful. Does this mean that libraries can’t be joyful or happy places? I sure hope not, because that is definitely not true.
It is a big change for Hanamaru, a Brazilian-raised do-gooder and classic country girl, to go from being a librarian in her quiet place, the seaside Uranohoshi Girls’ Academy, to Tokyo and the back to Uchiura, Numazu, Shizuoka when they are not successful the first time when entering the Love Live! competition.  This setting has reportedly led tourists to come to Numazu, while various things in the city have special Love Live! designs. Currently, Uchiura is a village within Numazu. According to official websites, there are libraries in the area, like the Heda, Numazu City, and Shiritsu (Municipal) libraries.  In that way, while it could be a loss for students for her no longer to be a librarian, there would likely be someone who would take her place, perhaps another student, and anyone at the school could still go to local libraries as well, if they needed additional information.
The idol industry in Japan has horrific working conditions. There are strict rules imposed on Japanese and South Korean pop stars known as “idols” including bans on dating and getting married requiring permission, with such idols having little control over their personal lives. Some have described them as “corporate slaves” who cannot disobey their employers, with the industry pulling in 60 billion yen annually. Even those as young as two are billed as “junior idols,” with people interested in underage girls, with the innocence they have being sold as a “major commodity.” At the same time, there is a trend of preteen girls “striking provocative poses in slinky bathing suits” which has become big business. All the while idols are assaulted, bullied, intimidated, and harassed, even as they have the legal right to “happiness” and dates not under the control of managers, although it is not known how much this is enforced, as there have been strict measure imposed on idols in the past. After all, as one critic put it, “idols are universally acknowledged as manufactured—even by their fans,” meant to provide a “vision of accessible femininity to girls” and a celebrity girlfriend for boys. Another person argued that in Japan, an idol is in “the business of selling dreams…[an] illusion of a cute, slightly idealized person who is there for…the fan” while music is secondary since many idols can barely sing, with producers not putting in work to making them look or sound perfect. At the same time, idols have been popular in Japanese anime, including franchises like Love Live! of which Love Live! Sunshine!! is a part of, as has their fictional music. 
As for this anime, Hanamaru is a school idol. While there are idol anime about male idols, like Starmyu,Uta no Prince Sama, and B-Project, with a focus on the idea of performance, Love Live! is unique in that it seems to exist in a world without men, even though it is, like other idol shows, targeted at men. The idea is to “emphasize the female characters’ relationships and moe appeal,” with everyone on screen seen as a “potential object of desire” whether through romantic yearning, a yearning for that character to have romance with their friends, or anything in-between. There is some evidence of the school idol trope, as TV Tropes calls it, in reality, with some idols who are high school classmates, and variations of these schools existing, but not many of them, with such schools having strict dating, personal presentation, and uniform rules. This is bolstered by the fact that some idols wear school uniforms during their performances. 
Despite all their efforts, Aquors is unsuccessful in saving their school, as shown in the season 2 episode “The Time Left.” In that episode, in fact, we see Hanamaru in the library, working as a library assistant. This is short lived se agrees with the leader of Aquors, Chika, and the other group members that they can perform and win at the Love Live! contest in order to immortalize the school’s name. All the while, she tries to make sure the group stays inspired. This is significant for her because she reveals on another episode, “Awaken the power”, that she doesn’t like to be other people (i.e. she is socially awkward) and before she joined Aquors she enjoyed her time in the library with her friend Ruby, something which their fellow school idol, Leah, sympathizes with. In episodes that follow, she works together with her friends Yohane, Ruby, and Leah on a song, and participates in a closing ceremony for the Uranohoshi Girls’ High School, in the episode of the same name, even helping Yohane draw a summoning circle.
In the show’s final episode, “Our Own Shine,” she works with Ruby to pack up everything in the library, with the books read at a new school. She admits that she is afraid of going to a new school, something which Ruby agrees with. She, Yohane and Ruby, touch the library door together and close it, symbolically closing a chapter of their lives. Later in the episode, Chika visits the empty library in the now-abandoned school building. As one reviewer put it, it is hard watching these girls say goodbye to their school, especially affected by the scene when Hanamaru, Ruby, and Yohane closed the door to the library. 
By the end of the series, there are open questions about the future of Aquors with the departure of Kanan, Dia, and Mari, and whether their efforts were worthwhile since the school would be closed anyway. In some ways, Hanamaru somewhat addresses that in the episode “Sea of Light. She notes that while reading books in the library with her friend Ruby was “always enough” to make her happy, that her time in Aquors allowed her to venture into the world outside of the library, and realize things about herself. Basically, she gained self-confidence from the experience and became a better person.
In the series proper she is clearly identifiable, but is not stereotypical, nor does she wear frumpy clothes. She does not have her hair in a bun, and she does not have glasses in a chain around her neck. She is, arguably, a regular person who happens to be a librarian, specifically a student library assistant who is likely volunteering at the school library. She is arguably “sexy” but likely not in the way that straight men tend to see librarians as noted by David Austin who notes the stereotype of librarians as “sexually repressed.” At the same time, she is not, in any way, a person whose primary job is to keep “order and quiet.” Rather, the library itself is a sanctuary for her, a place away from the outside world, a place where she can access its “storehouse of knowledge.”
This is self-confidence is further bolstered in the Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow film, which serves as the series capstone. She sings and dances in the film and trains for live shows, but also comforts her friends. She even travels to Italy with them to find Kanan, Dia, and Mari, the former three members of Aquors. She later assists Mari in her desire to have independence from her seemingly strict mother and cajoles Yohane to connect with the members of their new school. During the film, she also assists Ruby in choosing outfits for their performance, and is part of a performance win a mock Love Live! competition meant to buoy the spirits of one member of Saint Snow, a fellow school idol group.
Unlike in the series, she is shown wearing glasses multiple times in the film, alluding to a “shy bookworm” stereotype often associated with librarians, who are shown wearing glasses. Famously this was used for the alternative Mary Bailey in the film It’s a Wonderful Life. As Marie wrote, people who wear corrective glasses are “often stereotyped as bookish, intelligent, and socially inept” with those glasses as a barrier or shield, but can also be removed to “let a dormant attractiveness and sensuality shine through.” And there is no doubt that many librarians are well-educated and smart, and many undoubtedly wear eyeglasses. It is a symbol, a stereotype, that Marie says should would fully embody, while rejecting the trope that librarians are smart, but weird and unapproachable. For Hanamaru, she is similar in some ways to Kanon Shibuya, the protagonist of Love Live! Superstar who ties up her hair and wears glasses at home but in public does not wear glasses. Kanon fulfills what Marie wrote about librarians. Unlike her, Hanamaru doesn’t mind wearing glasses in public. It fits with her warm personality, including a love of chocolate and eating a lot, and support for her friends. She could care less whether she is “attractive.”
Toward the end of the film she performs a song and dance number together as a part of Aquors. The school library is also shown, in a short scene, empty in the still-standing school, which Chika declares will stay. This is despite the fact that is seems strange that a school building would be left abandoned with no apparent use and not be torn down a la the Gama Gama Aquarium in The Aquatope on the White Sand. Perhaps they wanted to keep the show upbeat so a similar scene was not included in the film.
The film serves as an end to Hanamaru’s story within the franchise. However, her future beyond the film is uncertain. Will her future include her pushing her friend Ruby on a book cart, working in a library, study Japanese language, operate a library, and be a writer as some fan art and fans have guessed?  Or will it be a combination of all of the above or none of these? Its hard to know. It is likely she will continue to be a school idol, which puts into question if she would still work within the library as she might be too busy.
No matter whether she returns to the library or not, there is no doubt that her experience in the library shaped her as a person. If she does return to being a library assistant, or pursues being a librarian, the self-confidence she gained from being a school idol could bolster her ability to help patrons and be a great person. She could even put on shows either by herself or with her friends to promote the library. The possibilities ahead for her are endless. She is not someone who neatly falls into a librarian character type, but is a fully-fledged character who is unique in her own way, with her own hopes and desires.
 For this I am using definitions from Merriam-Webster, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the now-defunct LISWiki, and Librarian Avengers. More specific terms include reference librarian, bibliographers, reader’s advisors, interns, library technicians (formerly a BLS category), and those with a practicum. It is different from other roles such as, archivists, scribes (defunct profession), and superintendents of documents. Some of these librarians may be what some call “paraprofessionals“. Another example of a librarian like Hanamaru, who is a school assistant, is Rin Shima in Laid-Back Camp, who appears to work in the library. Like Hanamaru, she appears to be a student assistant, and is also not shown doing any actual library tasks (although Hanamaru does accept books), and is shown reading in the library. However, the number of scenes and times in the library are so short, and the library is just another place she hangs out, reading, relaxing as she camps during the winter, sometimes with Nadeshiko. In another episode, however, she kicks Nadeshiko, to wake her up when she is sleeping on the floor of the library, and shelves books in the library.
 Apart from RubyMaru (a ship of Ruby and Hanamaru), there is YoshiMaru (a ship of Yoshiko Tsushima and Hanamaru), ChikaMaru (Chika Takami and Hanamaru), DiaMaru (Dia Kurosawa and Hanamaru), LeahMaru (Leah Kazuno and Hanamaru), RinMaru (Rin Hoshizora and Hanamaru), YouMaru (You Watanabe and Hanamaru), AZALEA (Kanan Matsuura, Dia Kurosawa, and Hanamaru), and ChikaMariMaru (Chika Takami, Mari Ohara, and Hanamaru). The same page also notes Chika Takami, You Watanabe, Riko Sakurauchi, Ruby Kurosawa, Yoshiko Tsushima, Hanamura, Mari Ohara, Kanan Matsuura, and Dia Kurosawa as Aqours [friends]. There is a lot of wonderful yuri fan art of Hanamuru on /r/wholesomeyuri and a few on /r/lovelivefanart, along with fan art, fan videos, cosplays, news, and more about Hanamaru on /r/lovelive, along with other posts on /r/SIFallstars.
 “Kunikida Hanamaru,” Fandom of Pretty Cure Wiki, Feb. 11, 2020. As one reviewer put it, she somehow has “never seen a computer before” which seems strange, leading to a “couple of great scenes” like seeing windows for the first time, accidentally turning off a laptop, and recognizing Yoshiko’s chuuni tendencies in order to “distinguish herself” so she isn’t just “normal.” One post on /r/lovelive pointed out that in “Their Feelings” she is “seated at the librarian’s desk and there was a very clear computer monitor on the desk.” Some commenters responded that the library computer doesn’t have internet access or is “locked to some library system,” said the computer is small and “made specifically for a library management system,” common for rural Japan. Others theorized that the “librarian taught Hanamaru how to use the computer and how to do her work” and since Hanamaru doesn’t know about the internet, she “doesn’t venture far and only goes on whatever program the librarian told her to” or that she was confused when she saw the laptop in the next episode. Some said the scene in that next episode is “explaining Hanamaru’s fascination with technology” more than anything else, said that the computer in the library could be “strictly for books,” that the writing might be sloppy, or that there are “tiny plotholes and inconsistencies” in the series.
 Fobazi Ettarh, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Jan. 20, 2018. This similar to one of the one of the seven reasons that libraries are essential according to freelance writer and book reviewer Sadie Trombetta: “Libraries are safe refuges for the homeless and underserved populations.” Her other other reasons are self-explanatory and seem like non-brainers, although they can have political implications: “[Libraries] offer free educational resources to everyone…help boost local economies…play an important role in English language learning…make communities healthier…preserve history, and more importantly, truth…[and] help connect communities.”
 Bamboo Dong, “Love Live! Sunshine!!: Episode 26 [Review],” Anime News Network, Dec. 31, 2017. . Closing doors happens a lot in episode, equivalent of closing chapters in their life and moving on. She later stands with her fellow students as they say one last goodbye to the school, then closing the school gate with them. Hanamaru is part of those who greet Chika for one last song together. Chika realizes she has been searching for her own shine the whole time.