The Most Iconic Libraries from Film and TV

5 min




We all know that libraries hold the best weapons in the world. As a treat, we’re sharing these images of the most iconic libraries from film and TV, made by Neville Johnson.

Game of Thrones – The Citadel

iconic libraries

In Game of Thrones, the Citadel is the centre of all scientific, medical and historical knowledge in the Seven Kingdoms, and is the headquarters for the Order of Maesters. Being one of the largest libraries in Game of Thrones, it’s where coronations take place and is a stomping ground for the Grand-Maesters and where prospective Maesters come to train- one of the most notable, being, Samwell Tarly. However, you must pay your dues before you can seek out knowledge, and it’s where in series seven, we see Gilly discover Jon Snow’s true paternity.

The octagonal building features a plethora of real-world ancient architectural style and spans many floors. The grand staircases wind their way through thirteen floors of bookshelves, and the striking roman arches and stain-glass windows make this library truly unique. In the centre of the space is an outstanding astrolabe suspended in mid-air, mirroring the position of the show’s planet to the sun. The library also includes Egyptian, Moorish, Roman, Mayan, Greek, Indian and Germanic features.

Beauty and the Beast – The Beast’s Library

iconic libraries

The Beast’s library in Beauty and The Beast is featured at the beginning of the film, as it was left abandoned for a long time, due to the spell of an enchantress. The baroque-style library was gifted to Belle by The Beast, due to her love of books. In the live-action remake, the elegant, triple-cube design was inspired by the Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra, Portugal. The majestic space features decorative arches and a segmented design, filled floor-to-ceiling with books. The walls are all decorated with two-storey shelves, high narrow windows and painted exotic woods while a writing desk lies in each of the three rooms.

The library also boasts a beautiful and complex marble floor, with carefully structured cream and brown patterns adding a touch of elegance and magic. Details such as the chessboard, gold-plated globes and astrolabes really help unite the classic and warm setting, making it a true place of knowledge.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Sunnydale High School

The library at Sunnydale High School ended up becoming the home and base for the Scooby Gang with the help of its librarian, Rupert Giles who regularly brought medieval weapons for the group to practice with. The octagonal space is filled with old supernatural texts such as ‘Exploring Demon Dimensions’ and ‘Witches: Historic Roots to Modern Practice’, and was a place for the Scooby Gang to research demonic activity after school and train their slaying skills after class.

The octagonal layout allows a table to be in the middle and focus of the action, subtly lit by a skylight, with a balcony being at the back half of the octagon, separated by mahogany railings and has tall brown bookshelves lying behind it. The lighting is set by high, hemispherical windows which provide an unnerving and distinctive atmosphere.

The otherwise-unassuming Sunnydale High were none the wiser about the true goings-on in the library, as the space also doubled up as Buffy’s slaying training facility outside of School hours, and it happened to sit directly above the town’s hellmouth. The library is also where the apocalypse happened and was destroyed when Buffy put a large amount of explosives and detonated them in the face of Mayor Wilkins (the books were already removed).

Harry Potter – Hogwarts Library

Hogwarts Library is located off a corridor on the first floor of Hogwarts’s School and is at the centre of action right throughout the Harry Potter film series. Home to many thousands of books stacked in rows along the length of the room, and it’s where Harry, Hermione and Ron turn to for information on how to get themselves out of – or into – trouble. The library has sections dedicated to everything from law to invisibility to dragons and is run by Madam Irma Prince, who’s very strict and sees herself as the protector of books. This library is also where Harry Potter used his cloak of invisibility for the first time to sneak into the restricted section.

Its orderly layout is unlike the often-chaotic nature of Hogwarts Castle, but also features English gothic styles typical of the building through its vaulted ceiling, large windows, pointed arches and buttresses. Desks lie at the base of each room, with further study spaces provided in the centre aisle and the beautiful ornate ceiling complement the space.

The Breakfast Club – Shermer High School Library

Hit 80’s film The Breakfast Club takes place at Shermer School Library, Illinois where most of the film is shot. The modern library is where the five protagonists are asked to report for detention at 7 am, one Saturday morning. The detention lasts between 7am-3pm, and they are asked to write a thousand-word essay, however, the five students, who are from very different cliques spend the morning quite differently. What occurs that day is arguments, smoking, romance and friendship as they embark on a journey of self-discovery, all from inside the library’s four walls.

The contemporary library has six oak tables organized into three rows at the centre of the room, with an abstract but vaguely human sculpture behind, while staircases to an upper tier lie at either side. Neon lighting, exposed concrete walls and light oak finishes reflect the 80’s style and setting brilliantly.




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