The Library Ninja (doesn’t have an MLIS)

The Library Ninja should not be confused with the previously mentioned Ninja Librarian.

Here’s is what I think differentiates them: The Ninja Librarian has an MLIS, while the Library Ninja is an information/assassination paraprofessional.

Video about the former can be found on the other end of this link and embedded goofy video about the latter follows:

Where is this Ninjitsu/Librarianship meme coming from? I know that the ALA is talking about library education again, but are there rumors that ninjitsu courses will be required for accreditation? Will there be ALA accredited dojos in which one learns to fold a library card into a throwing star?

Other places this meme pops up:
Brandy Danner's awesome graphics
Above: Awesome graphics from Brandy Danner.

Above: Graphic from the Manga and Anime page of the Lake Oswego Public Library’s Web site.

Above: Stacey Whittington describes herself as a “Library Ninja”

Above: Library Ninja Death Squad gear
“I wouldn’t mind being a ninja librarian…”


In the same way that we now like we like pirates for their daring, bohemian fashion sense and enjoyable way of talking (Arrrr!) the legendary skill of the ninja is more memorable and important to us than the fact that they were assassins. Calling a librarian a “ninja librarian” is sometimes merely a compliment, like “rockstar librarian” or “superhero librarian,” and has nothing to do with assassinating people.

This is a relief, but it doesn’t completely explain away the meme. Any other thoughts?

Note to self: The next time you can’t sleep, try doing some homework instead of blogging, schmuck.

3 thoughts on “The Library Ninja (doesn’t have an MLIS)

  1. Teenage Mutant Turtles may be all the explanation necessary.

    My Sensei taught that ninja=bad. A well known ninja=deceased ninja in my book.

    Eastern Mysticism might be more fun to morph onto librarians, as library koans illuminate.

    Lyrics ahead: “But if you study the heuristics and logistics of the mystics you will find that their minds rarely move in a line. So it’s much more realistic to abandon such ballistics and resign to be trapped on a leaf in the vine.” B. Eno – song title ‘Backwater’ from Before and After Science ca1976

  2. This “Ninja Librarian” thing actually isn’t so new. I’ve wanted to be a Ninja Librarian since i was about twelve, actually. [I’m 19, and I planning on getting my MLIS once i finish m my BA. I also study aikido, so i’m well on my way]

    There are two references in popular media I can think of: The Ninja Librarians in “Jacob Two-Two” a popular Canadian kid’s cartoon, and “R.O.D.,” an anime and manga about a bibliophile/martial artist who recovers rare and dangerous books for the British library.

    Another possible source for the meme I can think of is the fact that ninjas and librarians are both associated with silence. [Shhh…] ; )

  3. Speaking as the present grandmaster of Canadian Eclectic Ninpo Taijitsu I can confirm that the venerable order of library ninjas does in fact trace itself to the “Jacob two-two” books of mordecai richler. And the poster was correct in distinguishing between the library ninja, whose work is thre recovery and protection of literature. And the Ninja librarian who specializes in finding obscure info from obscurer sources.