University Libraries Publications

Publication Title

Edinboro Potterfest Ravenclaw Conference

Publication Date

January 2011


librarian image, Harry Potter


English Language and Literature | Library and Information Science


The authors report on a content analysis of the conceptualization of the library and librarian in the books in the Harry Potter series. The analysis includes all mentions of the library, the librarian, and library materials, from all seven books of the series. Content examined includes the format and types of library materials mentioned, limitations on access to library materials, the image of the librarian, and the characters’ use of library materials. The analysis reveals that the library is presented as both a heavily guarded and censored area and also a place where the young heroes of the book have access to a world of information. The library is censored, for example, by the inclusion of a restricted section not always available to the young witches and wizards, but is also the source of important historical content, instructions for creating potions, and instructions for spells. The library is a place where the characters spend time when they are causing trouble or are about to break the rules. A comparison of the library, librarian, and library materials in the series to real world information sources, censorship, and the importance of libraries as public spaces is discussed.