This post should serve two purposes. On the one hand it’s pro-library, because libraries are lovely places. They’re a study environment, a way to access information and- best of all- full of books you get to read for free. Authors have joined in with the recent protests against cuts to library funding, and with good reason.
Asides from trying to spread the library love, I also have a straight up proselytizing mission- trying to get everyone in the world to watch Community. It’s a TV show mostly set in the library of the community college that the characters attend. And it’s fabulous.
Check out Troy and Abed’s Spanish rap por ejemplo:
So here are ten of my favourite libraries from TV shows, with the vague hope that it’ll convince you to watch Community, and to appreciate real life libraries.
Sunnydale High Library, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Sunnydale’s high school library was located directly over the Hellmouth- not the best place to study as you might be interrupted by monsters. The librarian, Rupert Giles, was also Buffy Summers’ Watcher so the school library was the site of many supernatural research sessions and training bouts. Until they graduated (and blew up the school) at the end of season three it was also one of the Scooby Gang’s main hangouts.
public library in Ankeny, Supernatural
Sam and Dean do a lot of research in public- and sometimes private- libraries when they’re on a case, although in the later seasons they’ve relied more and more on Bobby and Castiel (amongst others) to provide them with information rather than searching for it themselves. The local library in ‘Hookman’ is a prime example of one with dusty boxes full of old records. Dean got to enjoy both mocking Sam for his nerdy ways, and perving on the library staff.
Hearst College Library, Veronica Mars
The third season of Veronica Mars shifted the action to a (fictional) university. Veronica wasn’t averse to using her job on the library help desk to entrap people (by faking fines) while investigating crimes, at least when she wasn’t abandoning her post to make up and make out with her boyfriend Logan. With her penchant for research and her excellent investigation skills, a career as a librarian (if not one in the FBI) makes perfect sense for the character.
University of New York Library, Felicity
Felicity was set at another fictional college, this time one based on New York University. Although these students did manage to have fun, they seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time studying- often, unsurprisingly, in the library. They balanced this out by making out in the stacks (a lot), hitting on the staff, getting possessive about desks, having shouting matches (and being shushed) and, on one occasion, toilet papering the place.
Capeside High Library, Dawson’s Creek
Back in season one when this show was actually witty and watchable, the brilliant ‘Detention’ episode paid homage to The Breakfast Club, a film set almost entirely in a library. The four main characters (Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen) had to spend a Saturday in detention in the library- just like the film!- along with the school’s resident trouble-maker, Abby. Being stuck together in the library forces tensions and truths to the surface, with a game of truth or dare to help them on their way.
Josiah Bartlet Presidential Library, The West Wing
This presidential library was glimpsed in the maddening flash-forward at the beginning of season seven which suggested- but didn’t reveal- how the events of the season would unfold. The sombre setting seemed appropriate for the more dignified version of Bartlet- grey haired and walking with a cane. Hopefully in amongst all the important documents and literary gifts there was a Bible or two, so he’d never get stuck without one at a swearing-in ceremony again.
The library where they find Penelope, How I Met Your Mother
I’m not sure exactly where in New York this library was supposed to be, but it looks like a good environment to study in. When Ted decided, in the season one finale, to win Robin’s affections he needed to make it rain to put a stop to her company camping trip, and possible date with Sandy (Alexis Denisof). Luckily Barney had dated a girl called Penelope (another Angel alum, Amy Acker) who was working on a PhD in Native American culture- and could be found in the library, like any good student.
McKinley High Library, Glee
This high school library has been the scene of all manner of drama. There have been ferociously shushed fights, sneaky kisses and song and dance numbers. Asides from the stereotypical librarian and stacks of books, the library also boasts a vinyl collection, yearbooks with the glee club pictures heavily defaced and presumably unfiltered internet access given that Puck and Lauren were able to watch a sex tape there.
Pawnee Public Library, Parks and Recreation
The Pawnee Library department- housed in the Pawnee Public Library- are the enemies of the Parks team. It’s run by Tammy Swanson (Megan Mullally), the manipulative ex-wife of Ron, who heads the Parks and Recreation Department. She used her wiles to try to take control of Lot 48- which Leslie and co were desperately trying to turn into a park- but you’ve got to respect a mind so diabolical. Especially one who makes jokes about library fines too.
Greendale Community College Library, Community
And last, but by no means least, my new favourite show! Much of Community is set in the Greendale Community College library as the show is focussed on an unlikely group of friends who study together (first Spanish, then anthropology). There’s Breakfast Club references and biblioteca raps, controversial interruptions from the Dean via both PA announcements and him bursting into the room to announce something irrelevant in a ridiculous outfit, a mysterious pen thief and possibly a new stereotype about Asians and vents.
I’m not sure that I really have the words to explain why you should watch Community, but trust me- you should.
If you’ve got a favourite library from a TV show, or you’re desperately hoping for a small screen adaptation of the Thursday Next series, tell us all about it in the comments!