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Libraries & Librarians in Literature for Adults

Libraries are all about books. And sometimes books are about libraries too! Enjoy these fiction and nonfiction titles for adults about libraries, librarians, and bookstores.

For more stories about libraries and librarians, check out these other lists:

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

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The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne

The public librarian author shares his inspiring story as a Mormon youth with Tourette's Syndrome who, after a sequence of radical and ineffective treatments, overcame nightmarish tics through education, military service, and strength training. Also available in: downloadable audiobook.

Nonfiction, 2013

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

When his wife dies and his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, depressed bookstore owner A.J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love. Also available in: eBook and downloadable audiobook.

Fiction, 2014

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n

A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author's works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written. Also available in: eBook and downloadable audiobook.

Fiction, 2004

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The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Obliged to borrow a book when her corgis stray into a mobile library, the Queen of England discovers a passion for reading, setting the palace upon its head and causing the her to question her role in the monarchy. Also available in: downloadable audiobook.

Fiction, 2007

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Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert

Borchert, a former library worker in an unnamed California public library system, reveals the oddities, absurdities and day to day craziness in a place known for its quiet -- the public library.

Nonfiction, 2007

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Yale historian and reluctant witch Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, attracting the attention of other witches, daemons, and vampires, including 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. Also available in: eBook.

Fiction, 2011

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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Passionately in love, Clare, an art student, and Henry, a handsome librarian, vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel. Also available in: downloadable audiobook.

Fiction, 2003

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret. A mysterious bookstore, a secret society, hidden codes, and the power of Google are all in one book! Also available in: eBook and downloadable audiobook.

Fiction, 2012

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Large Print: An Unshelved Collection by Gene Ambaum

Want to know what librarians find funny about their jobs? Hilarious experiences abound at the public library in this collection of the hugely popular Web comic "Unshelved."

Comics, 2010

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Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg

The subtitle says it all! In this captivating memoir, Steinberg, a Harvard grad and struggling obituary writer, spends two years as a librarian and writing instructor at a Boston prison, attracting con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. Also available in: eBook.

Nonfiction, 2010

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In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians

Noted librarian Michael Cart has assembled the cream of twentieth century short fiction about libraries and librarians. They range from such classics as Isaac Babel's "The Public Library" to Jorge Luis Borges's tale about a library stretching into infinity ("The Library of Babel"), to such contemporary masters as Ray Bradbury, Alice Munro, Nikki Giovanni, and others. Lunacy, love, obsession and the joy of reading are all gathered together in one volume.

Short Stories

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The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma

Named for two literary characters ("Alice" from Lewis Carroll and "Ozma" from L. Frank Baum), the author is the daughter of a Philadelphia-area elementary school librarian who embarked on a streak of father-daughter reading-out-loud sessions every night before bed as Ozma was growing up--a "streak" that would continue for eight years straight.

Nonfiction, 2011