Libraries in pop culture: The Librarians (Australia)

Yes, we know there’s a current TV series from the US called The Librarians. But before that, and of a very different nature, was the Australian series by the same name.

First airing in 2007, The Librarians is an Australian comedy series created by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Much, much more realistic than the US series, the show follows the story of Frances O’Brien, the uptight manager of a suburban public library. Frances’ world is unbalanced when she is forced to hire her former best friend, Christine, as a children’s librarian, despite Christine’s other job as a drug dealer.

The series is comedic, but utilising a dry, Australian sense of humour popular in ABC shows. The characters are sometimes extreme versions of people we’ve all worked with – Frances sees herself as a good person, but is generally racist, discriminatory and constantly patronising. The staff in the library are sometimes kind and smart, but often are incompetent, annoying, and mean to each other. It’s obvious to anyone working in libraries that the show’s writers did their research – the first episode opens with a gag on how we name libraries, with their workplace being the Middleton Interactive Learning Centre, rather than Library.

The staff face the kind of challenges we all deal with: disruptive patrons, annoying bureaucrats, excrement in the returns chute. They also manage their personal challenges, such as troubled relationships and criminal pasts, with varying levels of aplomb. Now in it’s third series, the show has touched a nerve with several in the profession in Australia!

You can see lots of information about the series and some videos (subject to geoblocking) at the official series website.

Here’s the trailer for series one:

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