Ah—the library. A building full of books and information and people who can help you find the book or the information you need. The only thing that might make it even better is discovering true love at the library.
Romance novels set in libraries or about librarians finding true love are an enticing subgenre for bibliophiles. Characters who love books, descriptions of libraries, and romance? What more could we want?
Here’s a list of library-inspired romance novels you’re sure to fall in love with:
By Phaedra Patrick
Volunteer librarian Martha Storm keeps a notebook with lists of the things she is doing to help other people. But when a book of fairy tales appears in her life, seemingly written by her deceased grandmother, she starts to discover the list of things she needs to do to help herself.
By Alice Hoffman
As a child, the unnamed narrator of The Ice Queen made a wish that seemed to come true, with devastating consequences. As an adult, she’s perfected her ice-queen heart to keep hurt (and love) away, no matter what. A reference librarian whose favorite books are dark fairy-tale retellings, she can answer any patrons’ questions about death. But when she’s struck by lightning, she begins to melt. Hoffman’s signature magic realism fills this novel, with references to Grimm’s fairy tales, the power of wishes, and the enchantment of stories interacting with painful (and possibly beautiful) real life.
By Jenny Colgan
Librarian Nina Redmond thinks of herself as a literary matchmaker, pairing the perfect book with each library patron who asks for her help. But when her library in Birmingham, England, downsizes, she finds herself without a job—and somewhat bereft of her identity. This sparks her to move to a small town in Scotland, where she drives a bookmobile. The quirky residents and gorgeous Highland setting she discovers in her new life might bring her to her own unexpected match.
By Meg Cabot
Cabot’s second book set on Little Bridge Island, a small community in the Florida Keys, features children’s librarian Molly Montgomery. Molly is very aware that she’s every bit the clichéd “spinster librarian.” Her humdrum life gets turned upside down when someone abandons a newborn baby in the library bathroom and she butts heads with the town’s sheriff, John Hartwell. After the library is vandalized with graffiti, their paths cross again and chemistry starts to build in this lighthearted, cheerful read.
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
This gentle historical novel, set in depression-era Kentucky, tells the story of Addie Cowherd, who can only find work as a librarian in the state’s coal mining region. Delivering books on horseback to the residents living in the small mountain towns, she witnesses the Great Depression’s devastating impact on families. When someone tries to close down the library program, her resistance might change the community—and her own life.
By Freya Sampson
In the tiny English village of Chalcot, 28-year-old June Jones lives a relatively happy life: she’s got the pile of books her mother left when she passed away, her cat, and her job as a library assistant. At work she helps the regular patrons send emails, finish homework assignments, and find books. But when the city council threatens to close the library, she reluctantly joins the fight to save it, revealing in the process the way that libraries aren’t just buildings with books inside, but necessary spaces for thriving communities.
Recommended by Amy S, Assistant Librarian