Mixtape: 10 Best Songs About Libraries and Librarians


So you’re laid up in bed with the flu like everyone else, with nothing to do but chug Emergen-C, ride the NyQuil train, and gaze glassy-eyed at hours of DVRed shows that you’d usually let languish. It’s time for a new playlist! When even keeping your eyes open starts to hurt, queue up this nerdy mixtape and zonk out to the best in library-inspired jams. Thanks to @flavorpill follower Lauren for the smart (and challenging!) idea.

View the full tracklist after the jump.

1. “At the Library” by Green Day ytaudio(CEV0BulOv6Y)

A tale of unrequited library lust. Unfortunately the object of Billie Joe’s affection has no idea why he’s staring at her. She also happens to read too quickly for his taste (or at least his taste back in 1991) and she already has a boyfriend.

2. “In the Army Kid” – Of Montreal

Our innocent protagonist is “riding to the station on the bus” because he wants to pick out some library books. Jen, a librarian who’s not his type and sounds like a bit of a cougar, always hunts his “butt.” He can’t ditch the situation because there are bills to pay — whatever that means.

3. “Swinging London” – The Magnetic Fields

The epitome of geek love? “I read your manifestos and your strange religious tracts/You took me to your library and kissed me in the stacks.” Unfortunately this nerdy fling doesn’t last: “You went off swinging London and forgot to come back.”

4. “Young Adult Friction” by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The definitive song about getting laid in the library: “Between the stacks in the library/Not like anyone stopped to see/We came they went our bodies spent/Among the dust and the microfiche.”

5. “Lost in the Library” – Saint Etienne ytaudio(BRjNJjID2wQ)

This one is an instrumental, but feels decidedly bookish.

6. “There She Goes, My Beautiful World” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

This song runs through a gamut of writers and the difficulties that they overcame in their careers — including Philip Larkin “sticking it out” in a library in Hull.

7. “Library Card” by Frank Zappa

Pianist Hermann Kretzschmar begins Zappa’s experimental album Everything Is Healing Nicely (a posthumous work culled from The Yellow Shark sessions) by reading the information from his library card. Unfortunately, we don’t have the audio.

8. “Fun Fun Fun” by The Beach Boys ytaudio(QXif3HvtpNg)

True story: Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote this song about a rich girl who Dennis Wilson was dating. She’d tell her father that she needed to borrow his T-bird to get to the library when really she was hanging out with Dennis at his apartment. Until daddy took the car away.

9. “Librarian” by My Morning Jacket

This is like the “Let’s Get It On” of the library world: “It’s not like you’re not trying, with a pencil in your hair/To defy the beauty the good lord put in there/Simple little bookworm — buried underneath/Is the sexiest librarian/take off those glasses and let down your hair for me.”

10. “Library Rap” by MC Poindexter & The Study Crew ytaudio(AfVXPdiBWRM)

Because we had to include one rap song in the mix; it comes from an episode of the ’90s sci-fi TV series Sliders. Our favorite lyric? “And I give you one warnin’/There will be no repeats:/Get out of my face/While I’m readin’ my Keats.”