Famous & Infamous Librarians

Welcome to the Abilene Public Library’s Virtual Classroom.  This space will offer a new place for youth, teens, and adults to learn more about a variety of topics, with new content added regularly.

For each class, we'll share background information, educational videos, lesson plans, resources available for continued learning and more. Plus, we’ll offer a link to a test we’d appreciate if you completed to show what you learned!

Definition of a Librarian
Merriam- Webster definition of a LibrarianA specialist in the care or management of a library


Eratosthenes was a librarian that worked in the Library at Alexandria, Egypt.  He was from Cyrene, which is located in what is now modern Libya.  During his life he wrote 9 works on different topics on mathematics, philosophy, chronology, literary criticism, grammar, poetry, including comedies.  He is best known for measuring the Earth’s circumference, as the Father of Modern Geography”, for the concept of prime numbers and calculating the 365 day year, including the concept of leap year.  He died in 194 BCE at the age of 82.

512px-Joseph_Siffrein_Duplessis_-_Benjamin_Franklin_-_Google_Art_ProjectBenjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin met Casanova during his time in France as an American diplomat. The two apparently had several things in common. However, he was also known to have founded the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731 which was the predecessor to the concept of free public lending libraries. He actually served as the librarian of the Company for 3 months. He was instrumental in creating the Library of the Pennsylvania Hospital, Pennsylvania State Library, Library of the American Philosophical society, University of Pennsylvania Library, and owned an extensive personal library. He was also a prolific author of many styles of writing, both intellectual and common.
Mao Zedong

 You will wonder where the concept of demure librarians with a bun originated when you think of Mao.  Mao Zedong or 毛泽东 was also known as Chairman Mao, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1949-1976.  After his University days, one of his first jobs out was that of assistant to the Librarian of PeKing University.  He worked there for two year and learned about the Communist party becoming quite radical.  He eventually wrote 10 books on political strategy and philosophy as well as some poetry. Under his regime, millions died.  

512px-CalonghiGiacomo Casanova 1725-1798

Giacomo Casanova, was born in Venice.  In his early twenties, he saved the life of a prominent man who gifted him with money in gratitude which changed his existence.  Tradition knows him only as a playboy, but reality would also include that he was quite brilliant and knew other intellectuals of his time like Voltaire, Catherine the Great, Benjamin Franklin and probably Mozart.  He wrote pamphlets, mathematical treatise, a science fiction novel and translated the Iliad into the Venetian dialect as well as traveled widely over Europe according to Tony Perrottet of the Smithsonian magazine.  Near the end of his life when his sexual prowess waned, he was taken in by the Waldstein family at Castle Dux in Czechoslovakia.  He acted as their librarian.  While there he wrote his memoirs which illuminated the world to his escapades.   

  1. Resources
  2. Lesson Plans
  3. Test Your Knowledge
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 20). Giacomo Casanova. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:16, April 30, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Giacomo_Casanova&oldid=1018984398 

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 30). Eratosthenes. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:01, April 30, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eratosthenes&oldid=1020670037

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 20). Benjamin Franklin. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:11, April 30, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Benjamin_Franklin&oldid=1018990221

Alessandro Longhi (1733-1813) portrait of Giacomo Casanova, found at http://www.giacomo-casanova.de/artists.htm, in public domain

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, June 10). Mao Zedong. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:37, June 10, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mao_Zedong&oldid=1027802284

Definition of a Librarian
Merriam- Webster definition of a LibrarianA specialist in the care or management of a library

BibliowomanLuis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there’s barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution—a traveling library! He buys two donkeys—Alfa and Beto—and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages.

Complete with an author’s note about the real man on whom this story is based. --Amazon
Students learn what a librarian does and what kind of tools they use to find information. -- Summary
Miss MooreOnce upon a time, American children couldn’t borrow library books. Reading wasn’t all that important for children, many thought. Luckily Miss Anne Carroll Moore thought otherwise! This is the true story of how Miss Moore created the first children’s room at the New York Public Library, a bright, warm room filled with artwork, window seats, and most important of all, borrowing privileges to the world’s best children’s books in many different languages. -- Amazon
Examines the story of how librarian Ann Carroll Moore created the first children's room at the New York Public Library. -- Summary
Dorothy's dearest wish is to be a librarian in a fine brick library just like the one she visited when she was small. But her new home in North Carolina has valleys and streams but no libraries, so Miss Dorothy and her neighbors decide to start a bookmobile. Instead of people coming to a fine brick library, Miss Dorothy can now bring the books to them—at school, on the farm, even once in the middle of a river! -- Amazon

Dorothy has always wanted to work in a library like the red brick one of her girlhood, but after moving to rural North Carolina she discovers that the type of library is less important than the books and the people who read them. --Summary
Miss Dorothy
Pura BelpreFrom the author of MONSTER TRUCK and STARRING CARMEN comes a gorgeous and lyrical story about Pura Belpré, a Puerto Rican librarian who changed the world"-- Provided by publisher.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy. --Amazon
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door. -- Amazon

Describes how a group of Timbuktu librarians enacted a daring plan to smuggle the city's great collection of rare Islamic manuscripts away from the threat of desctuction at the hands of Al Quaeda militants to the safety of southern Mali. -- Summary