Ideas for a Librarian Costume

Many booklovers have a secret ambition to work in a library. A librarian costume is the perfect way to live out that fantasy while appealing to bookworms of all ages. While real librarians come dressed in all varieties of clothing, a recognizable librarian costume can be put together relatively simply with ordinary clothes and props.

The Clothes

A classic librarian costume will consist of relatively formal work-clothes. Some of the options that go along with a librarian stereotype include:

  • A pencil skirt, with a hem around or above the knee, for women, or a pair of dark, formal slacks for men. The skirt should either be a dark navy or black, or made from tartan fabric.
  • A crisp, pale, high-necked blouse or collared shirt.
  • A dark vest with buttons. Pinstripe fabric is ideal, but plain or tartan fabric can also work.
  • A tie or bowtie in dark, plain colors for men. A plain silk scarf, neatly tied, for women.
  • A classic cardigan in a plain, dark color.
  • Stockings or pantyhose for women.
  • Plain, dark leather shoes or ankle boots.

Tip

Tartan does seem to be strongly associated with librarians, but it should not overpower the rest of the costume. One piece of clothing with tartan print is enough.

The Hair

Women will need to wear a relatively severe hairstyle to match the classic librarian stereotype. A sleek, high bun or tight ponytail is ideal. If you want to look like an elderly librarian, you can brush talcum powder through your hair to turn it gray temporarily.

Librarian Accessories

Accessories for a librarian costume can include classic items, but you might also want to "think outside the box."

  • Thick-rimmed spectacles are an important part of this costume. Many companies that sell glasses will sell frames separately, or with plain lenses. Alternatively, you might find a pair of old-fashioned glasses in a thrift shop. Simply pop out the lenses, or wear the glasses on a beaded eyeglass chain around your neck.
  • A book or a small pile of books can be a good accessory. If you are going places with this costume, you might prefer to use second-hand books, rather than risk one of your favorites. Be aware, however, that people who love a librarian costume are almost certainly going to judge you on the book you are carrying around.
  • Hollow out an old book and turn it into a clutch.
  • Wear literary-themed accessories, such as book-shaped earrings, a tiny book pendant, or a scarf sporting your favorite book quote.

Famous Librarians for Inspiration

Look to some memorable librarians from literature, television and film who could serve as inspiration for a more specific costume:

  • The Librarian in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels: A sentient orangutan who cares deeply about the books in his charge and is particularly adept at reaching the ones on high shelves.
  • Irma Pince in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series: A classically severe librarian witch, once compared to an underfed vulture.
  • Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A conservative English librarian, Mr. Giles is also an occult expert and capable of taking out multiple vampires when his slayer, or his books, are threatened.
  • Tammy Two in Parks and Recreation. The definition of a sexy librarian, Tammy Two is ruthless, conniving and not above using her terrible library resources for her own personal gain.
  • Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy film series. Beautiful and feisty in her pursuit of knowledge, Evelyn was the ultimate librarian fantasy for many young people when this movie first premiered.