It’s the season of giving—don’t forget the information professional in your life. Whether you’re a librarian shopping for colleagues or a library advocate simply looking for a unique gift idea for a fellow bookish fan, here are some library-themed products to put on your shopping list.
For the Toy Enthusiast:
The LEGO Group released a librarian character in 2013 as part of its Minifigures series. Unfortunately, Series 10 (#71001)—which features 15 other characters, such as Warrior Woman, Sad Clown, Motorcycle Mechanic, Sea Captain, and Paintball Player—is now retired, but you can still find the characters for sale online. LEGO encourages kids (and kids at heart) to collect the figures by purchasing “mystery bags” containing one of the series’ characters, its accessories, a display stand, and a collectors’ guide. The librarian figure comes in seven pieces that need to be assembled. (If you want to be sure you’re getting the librarian character, don’t purchase a mystery bag; your best bet is to look on eBay or Amazon.)
Nancy Pearl, a “rock star” librarian and book commentator, has a toy modeled after her, the Librarian Action Figure, which was released by Archie McPhee in 2003. It’s advertised as having “Amazing push-button Shushing Action!” that is activated by pulling the figure’s arm down and pressing a button on its back. The figure is 5" tall, made of hard vinyl, and comes with plastic replicas of books as well as bookmarks and a Nancy Pearl trading card. Although it is out of stock on Archie McPhee’s website, you can find the figure, along with a deluxe version (which comes with more accessories and Nancy in a red outfit), on eBay or Amazon (deluxe/original).
For the Fashion-Conscious:
Etsy has a vast collection of custom-made, librarian-themed clothing. A search for the term “librarian” brings up almost 8,000 items, such as a Library Due Date handmade scarf, an infant onesie announcing the child as a “Future Librarian,” and a variety of T-shirts with sayings such as “Love Your Librarian,” “Keep Calm and Ask a Librarian,” and “Trust Me I’m a Librarian.” RosiesPendants offers handmade necklaces with librarian-approved quotes, including “I Still Believe in 398.2” (the Dewey Decimal System call number for fairy tales), “Bibliophile,” and “I love the smell of BOOKS,” as well as quotations by Emily Dickinson, Voltaire, and others.
Shopping at CafePress.com is another way to find librarian-themed items—you get more than 17,000 results when searching for “library gifts.” Along with hundreds of T-shirts and other apparel, CafePress has mugs, tote bags, and even a pair of librarian pajamas.
For the Interior Designer:
GoneReading sells all kinds of home decor that would appeal to librarians. There are book-shaped plates, platters, and saucers, floating bookshelves, and candles and fragrance diffusers celebrating specific authors. The site also features a For the Home section that offers magnets, games, posters, and a personal library kit. A bamboo bathtub caddy acts as a book stand for use in the tub and comes with a soap dish and a wineglass holder.
If you want to purchase something a little more substantial for a librarian, you can shop at Big Cozy Books. Its library-inspired furniture is marketed for children’s playrooms, libraries, and any kid-friendly spaces that need a bookish touch. According to its About Us page, customers “love the idea of moving beyond tables, chairs and beanbags to create an imaginative environment for exploring the world of books.” This environment includes loveseats, benches, tented books (to act as back rests), and open flat books (to act as seats or for lounging), which can all be customized by color or book title for an extra charge. Although only available through its list of dealers, the furniture is showcased at a variety of industry events. The Gallery page shows suggested arrangements for floor plans of different sizes.
For a Good Cause:
Out of Print’s clothing and accessories feature the sometimes out-of-print cover versions of classic and popular books, library card images, and other book-related designs. The Library collection of products has tote bags, a coaster set, canvas pouches, a notebook, and a pair of socks with a library card design, along with T-shirts stamped with book return dates. A matchbook set, tote bag, notebook, pair of socks, and canvas pouch are available in the Banned Books collection. You can also find T-shirts, sweatshirts, iPhone cases, and other accessories depicting book covers (Where the Wild Things Are, Pride and Prejudice, and The Great Gatsby, etc.). “In addition to spreading the joy of reading … we acknowledge that many parts of the world don’t have access to books at all. We are working to change that,” Out of Print notes. “For each product sold, one book is donated to a community in need through our partner Books For Africa.” On Nov. 7, 2014, the company announced that it had reached the milestone of 1 million books donated to schools and communities in need.