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Recently added titles (July 2022)

Willow and Amity fight in the library in the The Owl House episode “Labyrinth Runners”

Building upon the titles listed for July/August, September, OctoberNovember, and and December 2021, and January, February, March, April, May, and June 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.

Animated series recently added to this page

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, “Siege of the North, Part 2”
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, “The Library”
  • Craig of the Creek, “Secret Book Club”
  • Craig of the Creek, “Kelsey the Author”
  • Craig of the Creek, “The Haunted Dollhouse”
  • Craig of the Creek, “Ferret Quest”
  • Craig of the Creek, “The Last Game of the Summer”
  • Craig of the Creek, “Welcome to Creek Street”
  • Craig of the Creek, “Capture the Flag Part 4: The Plan”
  • Craig of the Creek, “The Legend of the Library”
  • Craig of the Creek, “Fire and Ice”
  • The Owl House, “Labyrinth Runners”

Anime series recently added to this page

  • A Couple of Cuckoos, “You Can’t Just Pretend It Didn’t Happen”
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero, “The Shield Hero”*

*Keep in mind that I do not recommend this series, and only watched two episodes before I stopped watching it. Read more about the controversy with this series here.

Comics recently added to this page

  • Greta the Red Wolf, “Foreboding”
  • Greta the Red Wolf, “A Series of Unexpected Events”
  • Sabine: an asexual coming of age story, “One Hundred Twenty Four”
  • Spellbound, “Ep116 – Weird”
  • Spellbound, “Ep117 – All good then!”
  • Spellbound, “Ep126 – Another game?”
  • Spellbound, “Ep127 – Sulky face”
  • Spellbound, “Ep128 – Not Happy!”
  • Spellbound, “Ep129 – Let’s make it ok”
  • Spellbound, “Ep2 – Organise – Season 2”
  • Tamberlane, “Issue 131”
  • The Siren’s Light, “Chapter 5 (4)”
  • Vixen: NYC, “Episode 4”
  • Winter Before Spring, “Episode 46”

Films recently added to this page

No films to add for this month.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

Thank you to all the people that regularly read my blog. As always, if you have any titles you’d like to suggest, let me know. Thanks!

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Fictional Library of the Month: The Stanza in “Welcome to the Wayne”

Image of the Stanza

Hello everyone! This is the eighth edition of my feature series, “Fictional Library of the Month” (see the ones for November, December, January, February, March, April, and May) which includes a post of one fictional library every month, prioritizing currently airing shows, but also including older shows. And with that, this post will focus on the Stanza in Welcome to the Wayne.

About the library

It is a magical library within The Wayne. Clara Rhone is currently the chief librarian of the Stanza itself. It is an important part of the Wayne and it is organized well enough that it is easy to find information.

Role in the story

Apart from Rhone, many others work there like John Keats, Numerous squidgets, and temporarily Ansi Molina. The library is not only the only library located within the Wayne, but it is, as I noted in my post, a

…secret library…[which is] meticulously organized library…contains information on the inhabitants of the Wayne…Information from the library helps Ansi aid his friends…Saraline describes the library as one of the quietest places in the Wayne

Does the library buck stereotypes?

In the sense that it is a library that is well-lit, has people who work there who help patrons, and is not underground, then yes. Otherwise, it falls into the libraries-are-magical idea, which too many fantasies seem to do. It can be problematic as people can than think of librarians as more than people, but somehow those who can do magical things, when they are just doing their jobs, not engaging in magic.

Any similarity with libraries in other shows?

Magical libraries occasionally up on this blog, with the other example I can think of being the one in What …If?, where Doctor Strange goes to a library. In a comment in responding to that post, I noted that:

…there can be harm in the notion that “librarians are magical.” There are some good examples of librarians who have magic, but balance it with their magical abilities, like Kaisa in Hilda, but in other cases, it can more more harmful….I think some animations have tried to make sure that librarians and libraries are shown as valued, like the Stanza in Welcome to the Wayne [is] run by a Black librarian named Clara Rhone, or even, to an extent, the librarian in Trollhunters, Blinky.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

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Fictional Librarian of the Month: Gabrielle in “I Lost My Body”

Gabrielle speaks to Naoufel in an scene of I Lost My Body

Hello everyone! This continues from the “Fictional Librarian of the Month” entries for November, December, January, February, March, and April, with this series focusing on fictional librarian every month, prioritizing those in currently shows, but also covering older shows, using entries from the “List of fictional librarians” from time to time. This month, I’d like to highlight Gabrielle in I Lost My Body, a mature animated film on Netflix.

About the librarian

Gabrielle, a French librarian who is voiced by Victoire Du Bois (and in the English dub, Alia Shawkat), is a young woman who the protagonist, Naoufel, delivers pizza to, at her apartment complex. I also remember her having to deal with an annoying library supervisor.

Role in the story

The protagonist Naoufel becomes infatuated with Gabrielle, tracking her to the library where she works, even following her to where she drops off medicine to her uncle. He moves closer to Gabrielle, and she, understandably is upset when she feels that Naoufel had taken advantage of her uncle, so he could pursue her. So, she leaves in a rage. Later on, Gabrielle finds an old, abandoned tape recorder of Naoufel and learns he leapt onto a crane. He seems to die, while his severed hand retreats into the snow, away from him.

Does the librarian buck stereotypes?

Described by critics as “elusive” and “thoughtful,” she is different from other librarians mentioned on this blog. When I watched this film, I was pleased and surprised to see a librarian, as I had no preconceptions of the film when going into it. She is definitely a unique character, living up to what one character described as a “hipster Gen Z librarian.” She rides a motorcycle and is a librarian. Cool.

Any similarity with librarians in other shows?

Not that I can think of. I suppose she reminds me, on some level of Kino in Kino’s Journey, which I started a while back, but Kino is no librarian. So, she is clearly a unique character on many levels, wearing headphones just like people have drawn Kaisa in Hilda in the past, as she has been shown wearing headphones in the past.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

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More Than the “Internet on Paper”: Libraries in “Milo Murphy’s Law”

In recent years, libraries have become prominent in animated series, especially all-ages ones. This includes Disney animated series like DuckTales, Amphibia, Big City Greens, The Ghost and Molly McGee, and Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. One Disney series goes beyond these examples: an exciting, sci-fi comedy named Milo Murphy’s Law. This 40-episode show is centered around Milo Murphy, who is a cyclone of calamity wherever he goes due to Murphy’s Law, meaning that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Unlike its related antecedent, Phineas and Ferb, no librarians appear in Milo Murphy’s Law. Libraries still play an important part in the series, beginning in the first season episode “The Math Book”. In this episode, Milo, Melissa, and Zack venture after hours into the dimly lit school library, which has cobwebs everywhere, to retrieve the key in the science classroom. When they walk inside the library, Melissa remarks that it is “like the internet, but on paper.” After Milo pulls a book with hope that it will open a secret passageway, a library shelf falls, a wall crumbles, and a passage is revealed, allowing them to get to the science classroom.

The library scene in the episode is short, but it’s similar to those in the animated series Hilda and Mira, Royal Detective, where characters travel through secret passageways from the library. Library stereotypes are common–Melissa’s comment makes the library appear old-fashioned and the library is a dark, uninviting place–but the library is still shown as a key place of knowledge, nonetheless.

Similar themes shine through in the Season One episode “Missing Milo,” where Milo, Dakota, and Cavendish travel into the future where they consult a library hoping to learn what allowed mutant pistachios (Pistachions) to take over the world and enslave humanity. The episode shows that the library is a crucial repository of knowledge. The scene reminded me of Vox, the librarian in the 2002 film, Time Machine, who is the heart and soul of the film.

The episode, “Backward to School Night,” finds Milo, Zack, and Melissa having to take on adult responsibilities to care for their parents, who are running wild like children. There is a scene where Melissa reads to the kid/parents in a makeshift storytime. When the storytime ends, the kid/parents grow increasingly impatient and run around with boundless energy, causing the library shelves to collapse.

A lesson that librarians could take away from this episode is that you should not make your young patrons unhappy, especially during storytime. The episode also communicates the value of libraries as a way to teach stories to children, just as Amity Blight did when she read to children at the local library in The Owl House.

One Milo Murphy’s Law episode directly references libraries and cataloging, despite the scene in question not taking place in a library.

Although the episode is not specifically about libraries, is very rare for a series, especially an animated series, or even in live action, so that makes the episode unique. Cataloging one of the many tasks that librarians have to complete, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes, and is vital, as it involves creating metadata about resources like images, audio recordings, and books. This is further actualized in the role of cataloging librarians who prepare bibliographic records to represent library acquisitions and provide efficient retrieval and access for those accessing the catalog.

In “The Note,” Milo reveals that Melissa keeps a record of all his adventures, making them “easier to catalogue.” Zack is intrigued by this, so Melissa shows him her phone which has photos from all of Milo’s adventures. It’s also revealed that Milo uses the records to keep track of how many unexcused absences he has during a month.

The photo gallery in Melissa’s phone is likely nothing like a library catalog. It probably doesn’t contain image descriptions, as the metadata is in Melissa’s head rather than directly connected to the image. However, Melissa probably organizes the photos into specific folders, or even sub-folders, since she is smart but “sometimes a little scatterbrained.” She is shown to organize her information succinctly, so it is possible that the photo gallery has the same dedication to detail. She even keeps a complete record of their adventures, along with other objects and data, to document instances of Murphy’s Law that they experience in order to help her friend, Milo.

Libraries also appear in the Season Two episode, “Picture Day,” when Milo’s friends try to take a decent photograph of him for the school yearbook. This begins with Amanda Lopez, Milo’s love interest, trying to take a photo of him (and other students) in the library. Hilariously, Amanda has a library backdrop for her photos, even though she is taking student pictures in the library. Ever the perfectionist, Amanda justifies it by noting that her background depicts a “slightly nicer library” than the real school library. Milo’s friends carry Amanda’s backdrop with them throughout the episode as they try to photograph him for his student picture.

While libraries don’t have as large of a role in Milo Murphy’s Law as in the Disney series, Elena of Avalor, the show still asserts the value and importance of libraries.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

This is reprinted from I Love Libraries, where it was published on February 4, 2022 of this year.

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Fictional Library of the Month: Library of the Eternal Equinox in “Mysticons”

Library of the Eternal Equinox from the front in the episode “Happily Never After”

Hello everyone! This is the fifth edition of my feature series, “Fictional Library of the Month” (see the ones for November, December, January, and February) which includes a post of one fictional library every month, prioritizing currently airing shows, but also including older shows. And with that, this post will focus on Library of the Eternal Equinox in Mysticons episode “Happily Never After.”

About the library

A mythical and vast library which is high in the clouds, guarded very closely, only accessed by privileged top Astromancers or almighty gods or goddesses. There are thousands of spellbooks, with some of the strongest spells, in addition to ordinary books. Mr. Snellson is the enforcer of the library. He is a large snail who enforces the rules and wants a safe, happy, and quiet library for all. He is also a literary agent.

Role in the story

The protagonists come there to stop Proxima from acquiring an ancient ink but become trapped within the librarian’s ancient, mystical tome. Arkayna tries to reach Proxima, but Proxima pushes her away. The protagonists stop the library from burning, but Proxima escapes.

Does the library buck stereotypes?

Perhaps, but it also falls into the libraries-are-magic/librarians-are-magic idea, which, as has been explained on this blog, is a bad thing. However, the library itself is well-lit and above ground, so in that way, I suppose it does go against stereotypes.

Any similarity with libraries in other shows?

Just like the libraries in What…If?Hilda, and Welcome to the Wayne, it is a magical library in more ways than one, which brings with it problems of its own. So, it does have similarities with libraries as a result of that.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

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Fictional Library of the Month: Library in “LoliRock”

Talia after putting a book back in the library

Hello everyone! This is the fourth edition of my feature series, “Fictional Library of the Month” (see the ones for November, December, and January) which includes a post of one fictional library every month, prioritizing currently airing shows, but also including older shows. And with that, this post will focus on the library shown in many episodes of LoliRock.

About the library

The library holds many magical books and items which can be used if needed, but it can also been corrupted, as it is in various episodes. It can easily be called a magic library.

Role in the story

The library is where characters practice their magic skills and learn new spells, but it is also a secret magical room where you can learn about spells from specific books. Talia specifically works to keep order in these rooms of the library.

Does the library buck stereotypes?

It easily falls into the libraries-are-magic stereotype. Since there are no librarians it doesn’t fulfill any of the stereotypes with librarians. So, in some ways, I suppose you could say it goes against library stereotypes, but in others it reinforces stereotypes.

Any similarity with libraries in other shows?

There are many magic libraries in other shows, like Hilda, What…If?, Mysticons, and Welcome to the Wayne to name a few. So, in that way, it does have similarities to other shows. Unlike those libraries, there are no librarians, which is unfortunate and something which could have been remedied easily, but sadly was not.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

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Fictional Librarian of the Month: Amity Blight in “The Owl House”

Luz and Amity shush each other in hopes of hiding from Amity’s boss…

Hello everyone! This continues from the “Fictional Librarian of the Month” entries for November, December, and January, with this series focusing on fictional librarian every month, prioritizing those in currently shows, but also covering older shows, using entries from the “List of fictional libraries” from time to time. This month, I’d like to highlight Amity Blight from The Owl House, who is a wizard and a lesbian in a relationship one of the other protagonists, Luz Noceda!

About the librarian

Amity is an important secondary character in The Owl House, a young witch who attended Hexside School. Originally she is a bit of an antagonist, but after bonding with Luz, she becomes a better person, even standing up to her parents, makes Willow her friend again, and improves her friendship with Luz, who becomes her girlfriend.

Role in the story

In terms of being a librarian, there is only one episode where she is directly shown as a librarian at the Bonesborough Library: “Through the Looking Glass Ruins“. Other than that, in the episode “Lost in Language” she is shown reading to younger children for storytime, but it is not known if she was a librarian at that time.

Does the librarian buck stereotypes?

She does! There are very few outwardly queer librarians in animated series I’ve seen as of yet, and she has been confirmed as a lesbian by the show’s creator, Dana Terrace. However, she is White and female, which is too common for librarians in media, unfortunately.

Any similarity with librarians in other shows?

Not really, as most librarians I’ve covered on this blog are older. I can’t think of any librarian, even in anime, that is like her. She is a unique person and librarian all on her own. There is no doubt about that.

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

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Fictional Library of the Month: George and Lance’s family library

Hello everyone! Like my last post, I am beginning a new feature which I’m calling “Fictional Library of the Month” with posting one fictional library every month, prioritizing those in shows currently airing, but also including those in older shows. And with that, let be begin with my first entry, the library of George and Lance in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, located in the Whispering Woods.

About the library

The library is a residence, a library/archives/museum all in one. It contains books collected by George and Lance, the fathers of Bow.

Role in the story

The library first appears in the episode “Reunion” where Adora and Glimmer stumble upon it when worried about the disappearance of Bow, and they meet him and his dads there. While there, a monster is released and Bow reveals he is a fighter for the Rebellion to his dad. The library again appears in the episode “Return to the Fright Zone” when it is damaged and left abandoned.

Does the library buck stereotypes?

In the sense that it is a place to live and a library, yes, but the fact that vines grow on the outside gives it the appearance of being abandoned, which plays into library stereotypes.

Any similarity with libraries in other shows?

Not really. There really aren’t any family libraries in other series that I know of, so that makes it unique in and of itself.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

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Is Kaisa, the librarian in “Hilda”, experiencing burnout?

Poor Kaisa, she just wants to finish her library tasks and re-shelve books, but Hilda has to be persistent.

When I first wrote about the librarian in Hilda for I Love Libraries, I was excited. In the process, I accepted removals of some content in hopes that would allow it to be published. And the article was published in September of last year. One of those removals was a description of a season 1 episode where the librarian, at that time unnamed but later is revealed to be named Kaisa, being exhausted and fatigued. I’d like to focus on that aspect of the episode in this post.

Jade Geary and Brittany Hickey in an article for In the Library with the Lead Pipe use the definition of Christina Maslach, a creator of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) with Susan E. Jackson, defining it as “a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who do ‘people work’ of some kind.” Geary and Hickley note that the primary factors which lead to such burnout are: “an unsustainable workload, role conflict and a lack of personal control at work, insufficient recognition or compensation, lack of social support, a sense of unfairness, and personal values that are at odds with the organization’s values.” This is coupled with concepts of burnout like feelings of detachment and cynicism from a job, a lack of accomplishment, sense of ineffectiveness, and overwhelming exhaustion, while physical symptoms include hypertension, muscle tension, headaches, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, cold/flu episodes, and gastrointestinal disorders, to name a few.

Now, the question remains: Is Kaisa experiencing burnout, or what could be called “librarian fatigue” (or just “librarian burnout”)? Well, in the episode “Chapter 9: The Ghost,” Hilda, Frida, and David enter the Trollberg library. They see Kaisa behind the circulation desk and she is putting books on a cart. Hilda asks for information about ghosts and Kaisa guesses what Hilda wants (a book on getting rid of ghosts) before Hilda can say anything else. She pulls the book back, saying the book “just slipped,” and she wasn’t recommending it. Following that, we see this expression on her face:

While she seems dedicated to finish her task of reshelving books, pushing a book cart, she is intrigued when she learns about a ghost which used to clean Frida’s room, striking that itch in her brain, and her interest. So, she begins asking Frida about the ghost, bringing the conversation to a morbid place, saying that “the hardest thing about dying is leaving all your stuff behind.” Frida, Hilda, and David determine that the book Frida lost was owned by the ghost. Somehow she knows the exact location of the ghost who “took” Frida’s book an when she is asked by Hilda if she knows the location of every grave, she scoffs. So, she climbs up to a tall ladder to find the city records to double-check herself. In the book of city records, what she finds confirms what she said before. When Hilda points out she said the same thing before, she denies that it is true. She then secretly gives Hilda the tools to raise the dead, and warns her that using them will break the veil between the world of the dead and the world of humans. Hilda insists that she needs the tools, Kaisa tells her it will be “fun” and she climbs back up the ladder to shelve the city records book.

Now, this library scene itself is not even two minutes long, only one minute, 33 seconds by my count, to be exact. Her demeanor during this exchange, with a demanding patron (in the case of Hilda) points to emotional exhaustion. Scholars Thomas A. Wright, Russell Cropanzano, and Dov Zohar describe it being exhausted by your work and being “emotionally overextended,” manifested by physical fatigue and feelings drained emotionally and psychologically. [1] How about depersonalization? Well, scholars Mauricio Sierra, German E. Berrios, Daniel Hall-Flavin, Filip Radovic, and Susanna Radovic define this as being detached from one’s self, in terms of their body or mind, or when one is a detached observer of themself. [2] The best example I can think of is how Jahy, in The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!, acts in the 10th episode “The Magical Girl Will Not Lose!” when she feels she is working as a server at the pub on autopilot, without much thought. It doesn’t seem that Kaisa is experiencing this. Evan so, she does seem to downplay her personal knowledge, when she scoffs at the idea that she knows all the cemetery records by heart and denies when she finds the same information in city records. I would argue that qualifies as “reduced personal accomplishment.” So, you could say that Kaisa exhibits many, but not all, of the qualities of burnout.

On the other hand, we can’t say for certain that her workload is sustainable or unsustainable, if she has a lack of personal control over her workplace, is insufficiently compensated or recognized, or has a lack of social support, all of which are said to be main factors which lead to burnout. She also does not seem to have personal values which are not in alignment with the organization’s values. While she clearly shows pride in being able to answer questions and show her knowledge, she also seems to doubt herself and her accomplishment, as she could have saved herself the trouble of looking through the city records and could have used her own knowledge instead. But, you could also say that perhaps this was a plan by Kaisa all along so she could separate Hilda from the rest of her friends and give her what she needed to raise the dead. So, maybe she could see the future and let it unfold this way in order to assist Hilda and her friends. If that is true, it is ingenious.

Kaisa excited while reading a book which abstracts city records

We do not know how many other people work at the Trolberg Library. Hopefully she isn’t the only one. Since viewers never see her home life, we will never know if Kaisa experiences colds, flues, muscle tension, hypertension, headaches, disturbances in sleep, or more, as a librarian. However, her experience of librarian burnout/fatigue is not unique.

For instance, the librarian in Prisoner Zero (called “Librarian” and never given a real name) is exhausted by his duties. He is the first character I’ve seen who indicates his experience with librarian burnout. Furthermore, there is an unnamed female librarian of color in We Bare Bears (likely a Thai woman), who looks a little like a spinster librarian and wants to enforce the rules. She becomes frustrated with the protagonists “so much that she leaves them and walks away.” As I argued in the above linked post, perhaps she “can’t deal with them and has been through a lot that day, is overworked, and needs a break,” even though she goes on a short break. She even lets the protagonists sleep in the library! Unlike her, Kaisa is White, so she isn’t experiencing from some level of race fatigue. [3]

All in all, librarian burnout/fatigue is undoubtedly something which librarians need to discuss more openly. It is also something that should be shown more directly in depictions of librarians, so they are more realistic as to actual librarianship, not seeped in stereotypes of excessive shushing or penalizing people for the tiniest infractions (like overdue book fines) with draconian rules that make librarians out to look as some sort of villains, portrayals which hurt the profession.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.


[1] This comes from Wright and Cropanzano’s 1998 article in the Journal of Applied Psychology entitled “Emotional exhaustion as a predictor of job performance and voluntary turnover” and Zohar’s March 1997 article in the Journal of Organizational Behavior entitled “Predicting burnout with a hassle-based measure of role demands.” There are many more sources on the citation list on the Wikipedia page for emotional exhaustion, but these are two of the sources on that page.

[2] This summarizes definitions noted in a 2001 The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease article by Sierra and Berrios entitled “The phenomenological stability of depersonalization: Comparing the old with the new,” Daniel Hall-Flavin of The Mayo Clinic in a page entitled “Depersonalization-derealization disorder,” and F. Radovic and S. Radovic in a 2002 Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology article entitled “Feelings of Unreality: A Conceptual and Phenomenological Analysis of the Language of Depersonalization.” Other sources can be found on the citation list of the “Depersonalization” Wikipedia page for starters.

[3] April Hathcock defines race fatigue as the “physical, mental, and emotional condition that people of color experience after spending a considerable amount of time dealing with the micro- and macro-aggressions” that happen in the presence of White people.

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“The library’s on fire!”: High Guardian Spice and the reality of library destruction

The protagonists, and audience, first see the library of High Guardian Academy on fire, in the show’s 12th episode, caused by the arrogant villain, Mandrake, and his reluctant fellow villain, Olive

Late last month, all 12 episodes of a queer magical girl series, High Guardian Spice, dropped on Crunchyroll and VRV. Over a couple days time, I watched all 12 episodes and wrote a review for The Geekiary, calling the show a “comedic and magical coming-of-age animated series.” But what I didn’t mention was the final episode where the show’s four protagonists, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, fight in the library of their school, which I listed in my listing of recently added titles with libraries and librarians for October, and also was able to get listed on Jennifer Snoek-Brown’s Reel Librarians. After re-watching the whole series from beginning to end, I gained a new appreciation for the series and decided that writing this post was necessary, based on what I have written about on this blog before. So, in this post, I’ll talk about that episode and connect it to library destruction, whether in fiction or real-life. As a warning, there will be spoilers for this episode, so if you don’t wish to see those, then please don’t read this post. With that, let’s dive in.

The episode begins with Mandrake (voiced by A.J. Beckles) tasked with killing the show’s four protagonists, and Olive (voiced by Stephanie Sheh), the catgirl, agrees to help him, reluctantly, even though she wants to capture these four girls without harming them. Long story short, Olive and Mandrake are successful in trapping the students and teachers in an underground room with only one exit, but the four girls aren’t there. So, Mandrake sets fire to the library to draw them out, with Parsley pointing out that the library is on fire, hence the title of this post. Mandrake uses his power to put a bubble around the school so no one can get in or out. His part of his plan is successful, as they come to the library and are shocked by the fires. So they come up with a plan: Sage and Parsley will put out the fires, while Thyme and Rose go to track down Mandrake and Olive. What follows is an awesome battle filled with tension. Olive continues to plead with Mandrake to put out the fires, so she can take them to Witch Country, but he refuses, stubbornly wanting to kill them. Following this, he attacks Rose and Thyme with a huge flame sword, destroying some of the library stacks. Both Rose and Thyme try to fight him, with varying levels of success.

When it seems that he has the upper hand at this point, as he has taken Thyme hostage, Olive says she will stab her instead. Tired of him, she stabs him in the abdomen, causing him to falter backwards. Meanwhile, Parsley breaks out the water extinguisher gloves, smashing the container with her hammer, while Sage uses her spells to put out the fires. This doesn’t last though as Mandrake uses his flame sword to cauterize the wound, and in his anger, and pain, he restarts the fires in the library. Even though he is injured, with Thyme hitting him the leg with an arrow, he escapes. Since they want to make sure he can’t get away, they follow him, leaving behind the library, which continues to burn. During their fight with Mandrake, his attacks cause fires to appear across the school grounds.

While he is later grievously injured and his spell around the school breaks as a result of a powerful attack from Sage, the fires continue. A fire brigade from the town of Lyngarth, the town in which the school is in the center of, even comes to try and put out the fires across the school’s buildings. But, they are not very effective and some firefighters are injured. I’m guessing this is because the fires are magical and these firefighters don’t have magical abilities, so they can’t put out the fires.

The fire brigade attempts to put out fires in the school

There is much more to talk about here than a simple plot summary. For one, High Guardian Spice is not unique in showing library destruction. Most recently, in an episode of Adventure Time: Distant Lands, “Together Again,” Turtle Princess pleads with Finn Mertens to save her library which is under attack from parasites. In an 2020 episode of DC Super Hero Girls, titled “#SoulSisters Part 2,” has Diana Prince and Katana cause the library’s stacks to collapse, resulting in their expulsion from the library. These are not the only examples. [1] For instance, in the final season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the library of Bow’s dads, George and Lance, is shown as trashed. Some examples are even worse. There’s the heartbreaking almost complete destruction of the hand-created and curated library, by a blue-skinned librarian, in an episode of Prisoner Zero. One anime, R.O.D. the TV, is even more prominent in showing this as one of the protagonists, Yomiko Readman, got out of control and caused a fire which destroyed an entire library, resulting in another character to be traumatized for years to come.

What makes this episode of High Guardian Spice unique, apart from the others, is the possibility of damage to the library is acknowledged. Specifically, there is are gloves which work as a sort of fire extinguisher, allowing anyone who wears them to put out fires by literally wielding water. Basically, the library has fire prevention measures. However, that doesn’t save the library itself from any other sort of damage. And by the end of the episode, the fires continue to rage in the library and across the school, so the amount of damage to the library is not known. Considering that in the show’s fifth episode the library is shown as a place of study and where some classes are held, with people reading and doing classwork there, it would make sense that one of the first orders of business would be to extinguish the fires and make sure the library can be in working order. Perhaps even some students could be asked to work at the library, maybe even Thyme, as she is shown reading more than any of the other characters, although each of the four protagonists could be, arguably, suited for a library setting, each in their own way.

In real life, there are many examples of libraries which have been accidentally or deliberately damaged or destroyed, whether by human action or by natural disasters. There are so many examples there is even a Wikipedia page on it, entitled “List of destroyed libraries.” [2] This page notes that technology advances have reduced possibility of fires, with freezers, fire doors, water sprinklers, and other systems. This page also says that if a book is burnt, there is no possibility for recovery, meaning that it is better to put out a fire, then dry out the books, as books can be frozen, then tried later, damaging a book but leaving the information intact. It is further said on the page to reduce damage from fire and decrease time for recovery, libraries need plans for recovery and disaster management. I would hope that the High Guardian Academy library has such plans in place, to tackle the so-called “enemies of books.” [3]

Although its sad that no characters who are librarians in the series, their absence allowed the series to avoid playing into library stereotypes which I’ve written about on this blog, time and again. However, if the show does get a second season, then hopefully there are librarians as characters. They could either be among the existing cast, either one of the four protagonists as noted earlier, or perhaps some of the professors, like Caraway, for instance, or someone new entirely. Due to the lack of librarians, I can’t even apply my Librarian Portrayal Test to this episode, but that’s ok. I don’t believe that High Guardian Spice is the type of show that would play into librarian stereotypes, but even shows like Steven Universe and Mysticons, both of which I like a great deal, play into such stereotypes, each in their own ways.

That’s all for this post. As always, comments are welcome.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

Parsley and Sage work together to put out the fire in the library


[1] Other examples include books are burned by some of those who want to censor books, which injures some of the librarians, in the series Library War, a book fire in an episode of Kaeloo, partial library destruction in an episode of Uncle Grandpa, possible library damage in the final episode of Cleopatra in Space, “Pyramid Scheme,” as a result of the invasion by Octavian’s forces as well, and Amity and Luz fighting monsters inside the library in The Owl House first season episode “Lost in Language,” returning to the library in the show’s second season, The latter will likely be a later post on this blog.

[2] There is also a whole page about libraries destroyed during World War II entitled “List of libraries damaged during World War II” and another about damage from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, entitled “Library damage resulting from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake,” along with a whole page on book burning.

[3] A 1888 book (The Enemies of Books) by English printer William Blades says that “fire, water, gas and heat, dust and neglect, ignorance and bigotry, the bookworm, bookbinders, book collectors, other vermin (such as rats or flies), servants, and children” are enemies for books. While most of these make sense, it seems pretty messed up to say that bookbinders, book collectors, servants, and children are enemies of books, clearly a form of class discrimination there.