Novels set in libraries, like novels set in bookshops, are fun to read for all readers. I love visiting libraries, especially the old and grand ones like the ones in Oxford. There is something romantic and alluring feeling about them, and I love spending time in them.
The books in this list of novels set in libraries contain mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction, fantasy and many more. Some have librarians as their main characters; some are unusual libraries, but novels set in libraries are all fun and exciting. I hope you’ll find a book to your liking. Enjoy!
Novels Set in Libraries
The Personal Librarian – Marie Benedict
A beautiful historical fiction among novels set in libraries. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener.
She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white – her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go for the protection of her family and her legacy – to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives. A recent bestseller among novels set in libraries.
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective.
William collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages. An enthralling medieval murder mystery among novels set in libraries.
The Library of Shadows – Mikkel Birkegaard
A fantastic mystery among novels set in libraries. When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. Jon has not seen his father for twenty years since the mysterious death of his mother.
When Luca’s death is followed by an arson attempt on the shop, Jon is forced to explore his family’s past. Unbeknown to Jon, the bookshop has for years been hiding a remarkable secret. It is the meeting place of a society of booklovers and readers, who have maintained a tradition of immense power passed down from the days of the great library of ancient Alexandria. Now someone is trying to destroy them, and Jon finds himself in a fight for his life and those of his new friends. One set in Denmark among novels set in libraries.
The Abortion – Richard Brautigan
A historical romance among novels set in libraries. A reclusive young man works in a San Francisco library for unpublishable books. Life’s losers, an astonishing number of whom seem to be writers, can bring their manuscripts to the library, where they will be welcomed, registered and shelved. They will not be read, but they will be cherished. In comes Vida, with her manuscript. Her book is about her gorgeous body in which she feels uncomfortable. The librarian makes her feel comfortable, and together they live in the back of the library until a trip to Tijuana changes them in ways neither of them had ever expected.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue – Fiona Davis
A historical fiction among novels set in libraries. It’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life–her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open.
As her studies take her all over the city, she finds herself drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club–a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head-on . . . and may just lose everything in the process. One set in New York among novels set in libraries.
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
One about vampires among novels set in libraries. Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright – a hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the Dracula myth. Deciphering obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions, and evading terrifying adversaries, one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil. A popular one among novels set in libraries.
The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake. An exciting series of novels set in libraries.
The Library at the Edge of the World – Felicity Hayes-McCoy
One set in Ireland among novels set in libraries. Local librarian Hanna Casey is wondering where it all went wrong … Driving her mobile library van through Finfarran’s farms and villages, she tries not to think of the sophisticated London life she abandoned when she left her cheating husband. Or that she’s now stuck in her crotchety mum’s spare bedroom.
With her daughter Jazz travelling the world and her relationship with her mother growing increasingly fraught, Hanna decides to reclaim her independence. Then, when the threatened closure of her library puts her plans in jeopardy, she finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the fragmented community. Will she also find the new life she’s been searching for? A heartwarming story among novels set in libraries.
The Library of the Unwritten – A. J. Hackwith
An urban fantasy among novels set in libraries.
Every book left unfinished by its author is filed away in the Unwritten Wing, a neutral space in Hell presided over by Claire, its head librarian. Along with repairing and organizing books, her job consists of keeping an eye on restless stories whose characters risk materialising and escaping the library.
When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong, in a chase that threatens to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell… and Earth. An exciting series of novels set in libraries.
The Librarian – Mikhail Elizarov
An interesting magical realism book among novels set in libraries. As the introduction to this book will tell you, the books by Gromov, obscure and long forgotten propaganda author of the Soviet era, have such an effect on their readers that they suddenly enjoy supernatural powers. Understandably, their readers need to keep accessing these books at all cost and gather into groups around book-bearers, or, as they’re called, librarians. Alexei, until now a loser, comes to collect an uncle’s inheritance and unexpectedly becomes a librarian. He tells his extraordinary, unbelievable story.
The Mystery of Henri Pick – David Foenkinos
In the small town of Crozon in Brittany, a library houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication: the faded dreams of aspiring writers. Visiting while on holiday, young editor Delphine Despero is thrilled to discover a novel so powerful that she feels compelled to bring it back to Paris to publish it. The book is a sensation, prompting fevered interest in the identity of its author – apparently one Henri Pick, a now-deceased pizza chef from Crozon. Sceptics cry that the whole thing is a hoax: how could this man have written such a masterpiece? An obstinate journalist, Jean-Michel Rouche, heads to Brittany to investigate. One set in France among novels set in libraries.
The Case of the Missing Books – Ian Sansom
Israel is an intelligent, shy, passionate, sensitive sort of soul: he’s Jewish; he’s a vegetarian; he could maybe do with losing a little weight. And he’s just arrived in Ireland to take up his first post as a librarian. But the library’s been shut down and Israel ends up stranded on the North Antrim coast driving an old mobile library.
There’s nice scenery, but 15,000 fewer books than there should be. Who on earth steals that many books? How? When would they have time to read them all? And is there anywhere in this godforsaken place where he can get a proper cappuccino and a decent newspaper? A mystery set in Northern Ireland among novels set in libraries.
The Library at Mount Char – Scott Hawkins
A science-fiction among novels set in libraries.
Carolyn’s not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.
After all, she was a normal American herself once.
That was a long time ago, of course. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.
In the years since then, Carolyn hasn’t had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.
Now, Father is missing―perhaps even dead―and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.
The Book Charmer – Karen Hawkins
To Sarah Dove, books live, breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah becomes the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about the arrival of a girl named Grace Wheeler. If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs.
But Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents. It takes the help of a wise book for Grace to ultimately embrace the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the promise of new love and the power of finding just the right book. A heartwarming magical realism book among novels set in libraries.
The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams
When Aleisha discovers a crumpled reading list tucked into a tattered library book, it sparks an extraordinary journey.
From timeless stories of love and friendship to an epic journey across the Pacific Ocean with a boy and a tiger in a boat, the list opens a gateway to new and wonderful worlds – just when Aleisha needs an escape from her troubles at home.
And when widower Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to connect with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha introduces him to the magic of the reading list. An anxious teenager and a lonely grandfather forming an unlikely book club of two. One set in London among novels set in libraries.
The Strange Library – Haruki Murakami
On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. This is his first mistake.
Led to a special ‘reading room’ in a maze under the library by a strange old man, he finds himself imprisoned with only a sheep man, who makes excellent donuts, and a girl, who can talk with her hands, for company. His mother will be worrying why he hasn’t returned in time for dinner and the old man seems to have an appetite for eating small boy’s brains. How will he escape? One with beautiful illustrations among novels set in libraries.
The Library of Lost and Found – Phaedra Patrick
Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people, though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.
All of that changes when a mysterious book arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her grandmother Zelda, who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever. A light mystery among novels set in libraries.
The Camel Bookmobile – Masha Hamilton
Deep in the heart of the dusty Kenyan desert a train of heavily laden camels wind their way slowly through the bush. The camels are not carrying grain or medical supplies, but books of every imaginable variety.
Into the remote nomadic settlement of Mididima comes an unexpected wealth of literature – tips for surviving an avalanche, the adventures of Tom Sawyer, vegetarian cookbooks – and all are eagerly devoured under the blazing Kenyan sunshine.
Volunteer Fi Sweeney, her heart filled with passion and possibilities, is surprised to discover that the project divides friends and neighbours. To Kanika, who reads every book she can lay her hands on, the Camel Bookmobile brings hope. But to some it represents the inevitable destruction of a fragile way of life. One set in Kenya among novels set in libraries.
The Giant’s House – Elizabeth McCracken
The year is 1950, and in a small town on Cape Cod twenty-eight year old librarian Peggy Cort feels as if love and life have stood her up. That is, until the day James Carlson Sweatt – the ‘over-tall’ eleven year old boy who’s the talk of the town – walks into her library and changes her life for ever.
Two misfits whose lonely paths cross at the circulation desk, Peggy and James are odd candidates for friendship. In James, Peggy discovers the one person who’s ever really understood her, and as he grows – six foot five at age twelve, then seven foot, then eight – so does their most singular romance. A historical romance among novels set in libraries.
Murder at the 42nd Street Library – Con Lehane
Murder at the 42nd Street Library follows Ambler and his partners in crime-solving as they track down a killer, shining a light on the dark deeds and secret relationships that are hidden deep inside the famous flagship building at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.
In their search for the reasons behind the murder, Ambler and his crew uncover sinister, and profoundly disturbing, relationships among the scholars studying in the iconic library. Included among the players are a celebrated mystery writer who has donated his papers to the library’s crime fiction collection; that writer’s long-missing daughter, a prominent New York society woman with a hidden past, and more than one of Ambler’s colleagues at the library. Shocking revelations lead inexorably to the traumatic events that follow―the reading room will never be the same. a mystery thriller among novels set in libraries.
Check out my other lists about books!
- 10 Uplifting Books
- Great Novels by Poets
- Feel-Good Cozy Mystery Series
- Autumn Books – 20 Cozy Novels
- Winter Books- 20 Atmospheric Novels
- Spring Books – 20 Lovely Novels
- 20 Captivating Gothic Books
- Japanese Books Under 200 Pages
- 20 Best Campus and Academic Novels
- 25 Intriguing Dark Academia Books
- 20 Literary Romance Novels
- 20 Best Food Culture and Food History Books
- Comforting Food Memoirs
- Top 5 Haiku Books
- 15 Best Eco-fiction Novels
- Perfect Christmas Books
- 20 Best Turkish Books
- Standalone Fantasy Books
- Books Set in Museums
- Books Set in Hotels
- Books Set on Islands
- Novels Set in Ancient Egypt
- Novels Set in Bookshops
- Novels Set in Libraries
- Books Set in the English Countryside
- Books Set in Edinburgh
- Books Set in Oxford
- Books Set in Istanbul
- Books Set in Forests
- Novels Under 100 Pages
- Novels Under 150 Pages
- Novels Under 200 Pages
- Novels About Books
- Best Books About Books
- Novels About Vincent Van Gogh
- Novels About Leonardo da Vinci
- Novels About Marriage
- Novels About Food
- Novels About Writers
- Books About Witches
- Novels About Ernest Hemingway
- Best Books About Birds
- Best Books About Walking
- Best Books About Tea
- Novels About Scents & Perfume
Are there any novels set in libraries you’d like to add to this list? Would you please share in the comments section below?