The Library of Babel

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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All that is written, all that never was, and all that ever might be.
Everything: the minutely detailed history of the future, the archangels' autobiographies, the faithful catalogues of the Library, thousands and thousands of false catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of those catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of the true catalogue, the Gnostic gospel of Basilides, the commentary on that gospel, the commentary on the commentary on that gospel, the true story of your death, the translation of every book in all languages, the interpolations of every book in all books.
The Library of Babel, Jorge Luis Borges

Step into this library quietly, with reverence. Don't raise your voice, don't run. And for god's sake, no smoking.

Few are the mortals who are allowed to enter, let alone read the tomes here. Have a question? There's a book here to answer it. Need to learn about a collection of MacGuffins? You'll find those half-way down shelf four. Wish to be privy to the secrets of the innermost universe? You may have to ask for assistance.

This is not your typical local library. Inside this library, you can find the Tome of Eldritch Lore, Tomes of Prophecy and Fate and the Great Big Book of Everything if you know where to search... which is quite unlikely, given that every book ever printed (and some that aren't) sits on its dust-coated labyrinthine shelves in its cavernous, dimly lit rooms, and its organisational structure predates the Dewey decimal system by about 3 millennia. Sadly, even containing the knowledge of the whole universe, it seems to be lacking any sort of Hot Librarian. This place attracts the spookier librarians.[1]

And trust us... you don't want to get Cheeto dust on these pages. You just don't.

The Internet and computers in general have made this a bit of a Discredited Trope[2] as far as modern and sci-fi stories go; you can access information about almost anything in the same way you're reading this, so there's little reason to put it all in one place. And even if you want to centralize it, one 700-MB compact disk can hold over 200 novels, and compared to modern computers 700 megabytes isn't a lot of storage space at all. However, it's still a popular idea because shelves of books as far as the eye can see, big enough to get lost in, looks cool. Of course, a Metaverse / Cyberspace library may well look like a cross between the Library of Babel and a Design Student's Orgasm. With Tron Lines.

Examples of The Library of Babel include:

General[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Library of Alexandria sometimes gets this treatment in fiction. It held so much ancient knowledge that some say that if it had not burned down and been lost forever, technology would be significantly more advanced today. At least, we'd know the content of many more classical works.
    • If the work of Hero of Alexandria, who thought up the steam engine, were there, that is sure.
    • How advanced might the world be had the Library not burned down? The Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria might have been bound for the Moon.

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • The Infinity Library of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, has all the publications and data of every world, and has been described as containing the memories of the universe. It's so huge that nobody has catalogued even a small fraction of it, and people wanting to use it for research often form multi-week expeditions to do so. These are people who can use search magic to speed things up and read several books at once, mind you.
    • There's a common bit of fanon that suggests that the Infinity Library is actually connected to one or more of the other entries on this list. When reading Nanoha fanfics (the good ones, at least), any scene involving Yuuno and the Library has about a one-in-four chance of featuring a cameo appearance by an oddly intelligent monkey orangutan.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has Library Island, a city-sized underground library so massive that Mahora actually has a school club dedicated to exploring it, with standard club equipment consisting of rock climbing gear. It's known to contain books that make the holder more intelligent, golems, dragons, lakes, waterfalls[3] the roots of The World Tree, and lots of booby traps. See for yourself.
  • The Library of Spirits ("Fantasy Library") in the Read Or Dream manga has every book ever written, as reading material for the dead. However, it appears on Earth for 1 hour every 10 years, and the living may borrow one book for a 10 year period.
    • R.O.D the TV features one of the closed stack libraries mentioned in the real life section. It doesn't look as amazing as some examples of this trope, but damned if that isn't a lot of books.
  • The Great Library in Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito consists of books that contain every single world of the multiverse down to the smallest detail. And it also comes with a Hot Librarian (actually, there are even two of them) included.
  • The MacGuffin of Outlaw Star, the Galactic Leyline is revealed in the last episode to be a library left behind by the Precursors; so far advanced beyond mortal comprehension that it's described as a "Machine god". Mad Scientist Gwen Khan's entire motivation for seeking out the Leyline was to become one with the unlimited data compiled within it.
  • Although it isn't actually a library per se, the Claire Bible from Slayers is very similar to this. The complete manuscript is a straight example (it's stored on an infinite number of stelae in an alternate dimension, so good luck finding what you want if the librarian doesn't want to help you), but the original is more of a telepathic fountain of knowledge.
  • In Eureka Seven, the "inside" of the Command Cluster is an entire library city.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, The Central Library. At least, before it burned down.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Fables contains a massive library so large that the foyer is large enough to be a seat of government and contain objects of mythical size (Excalibur has literally become as big as the legend of Arthur). Oddly even though it belongs to all sorts of magical creatures it's never implied to be magical in any way except for its extreme size.
  • The Library of Dream in The Sandman is full of those books that were conceived by their authors but never written or completed. This not only includes things like G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was October, or PG Wodehouse's Psmith and Jeeves, but an awful lot of books like That romantic comedy sci-fi thriller I used to think about on the bus to work.
    • Word of God has it that it has an annex that contains everything that actually was written, too. We just never see it because it's so tiny compared to the rest of the place.
  • In Gold Digger, the Library of Time in Shangri-La can magically summon up any book ever printed in all of history.
  • Superman. The Fortress of Solitude has information from the 28 known galaxies. Supes decides to store up Earth's knowledge as well.
  • Infinite Crisis: Superman and companions are in another universe, where they encounter a single, standard-size page which they're told contains every possible page from all of time and every possible universe. Not surprisingly, they can't move it.
    • Appears again in Superman's trip to Limbo in Final Crisis. Except this time, Ultraman somehow manages to lift it and learn about Mandrakk.
  • The library of the Crystal Ballroom in Nexus contains all the historical memory of (at least the known) universe.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The towering fortress-library in The Name of the Rose contains all the accumulated knowledge of ancient Europe (see Literature, below). It burns down at the end due to the bastard antagonist, forcing William of Baskerville to make a tough decision about which books to take with him. Oh, and it's also a Labyrinth full of secret passageways.
  • There are a few super-libraries in the Star Wars mythos: The Jedi library seen in the prequels; an enormous data collection belonging to a former smuggler; a whole planet is devoted to being a galactic library. All three of these are implied to be the sum of all knowledge in the galaxy (or damn near, at least)
    • To the point where, when gravitational calculations prove that a planet MUST exist at a certain location, yet there is no record of such a planet, the librarian believes the library's records over the laws of physics. Just to drive home the point of how complacent the Old Republic had become.
    • The longest of these would likely be the Journal of the Whills, kept by multiple Keeper of the Whills, who were responsible for adding data to it as time went on.
  • The Librarian films are about a librarian of this type of library. Not only does it contain legendary and magical books, but also all the world's greatest and most dangerous treasures. Noah Wyle makes a very cute librarian.
  • The great library of Gondor in The Fellowship of the Ring. Careful with those torches!
  • In Angels & Demons, the Vatican Archives are treated as this.
  • In the movie What Dreams May Come a briefly seen library invokes the same feeling. It is massive and there is no floor, only water. People just fly to get the books, also, it is a heaven so it could easily be an exact example of this trope.
  • The library of Hogwarts appears to be this for the Wizarding world, at least in the films. Justified in that the faculty would be able to spell up a new wing for the library whenever they'd want to expand it, not to mention the books themselves.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Trope Namer is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. Interestingly, the library in Borges story is a lot less useful than most examples of this trope, because it is an infinitely large library that not only has every book ever, it contains every possible book. So yes, the true story of your own death is in there, but so is every conceivable false story of your own death, with nothing to distinguish them. Worse yet, the library is randomized, with no catalog or organization to help you find something specific. And more than 99.9999% of the books are simply gibberish.
    • When Borges first published the story, a friend pointed out to him that the vastness of the Library was unnecessary—all that was needed was one book, with an infinite number of infinitesimally thin pages. Twenty years later he used the concept in another short story, "The Book of Sand".
  • The Kingdom of the Isles has the library-fortress of Sarth, maintained by an order of monks. The library spans entire levels burrowed into a small hill, while an old dwarven mine beneath the hill provides even more room for expansion.
  • The library of Unseen University in Discworld leads to other dimensions thanks to the sheer weight of accumulated knowledge distorting the space-time continuum. This is known as L-Space. The library itself is pretty much a universe of its own with all the magical books, library creatures such as the thesaurus and lost tribes of research students inside.
    • In fact all libraries lead to L-Space (and are therefore Libraries of Babel); the UU Library is just the largest "node" in the Portal Network.
      • The Library of Ephebe in Small Gods is clearly modeled on the real-life Library of Alexandria, i.e., a serious attempt to collect all known books in existence. It seems large but otherwise normal until it is burning down and The Librarian pops in and out via L-Space to save some of the books.
    • Death's Library is a variation - every person's life story writes itself into a book somewhere on his shelves. As you go back, the histories are written on scrolls, then animal skins, then stone slabs... One character asks Death's daughter (adopted) what came before the slabs, because some people would "quite like to know". She replies that she didn't get that far, as she was running out of candles.
      • Which leads to a humorous scene where the protagonists find someone's book and upon going to the last page, are tipped off that he is sneaking up behind them.
      • They then temporarily incapacitate the sneaker by dropping his own life story on top of his head. The shelves are... rather tall.
    • Death also has a more straight version of this; at one point he is looking for information on the Discworld's version of Australia, XXXX. He walks into the library and asks for information on the dangerous animals, and is buried in books. He then changes the request to the non-dangerous ones, and one sheet of paper floats down, reading "some of the sheep".
  • This is Older Than They Think—there is a short story by Kurd Lasswitz, The Universal Library, exploring this same idea and written in 1901, decades before Borges.
  • The Great Library in the Thursday Next books, which contains every book that will ever be written, and a few more besides.
  • The Library of Alexandria in the Alcatraz Series contains all sorts of arcane printed matter... and not so arcane. Everything with print must be handed over to the librarians upon entrance, even your shirt tags. Reading a book from the library, or even taking one off the shelf (no matter how accidentally) gets you turned into one of them. Place is scary!
  • The Library of Celaeno in August Derleth's Cthulhu Mythos novel The Trail of Cthulhu. It's on the 4th planet of the star Celaeno in the Pleiades, and is full of arcane information.
    • Another unusual library exists in the Dreamlands in the short story "Principles and Parameters," which very likely draws on some earlier story.
  • Classic HP Lovecraft example: the library of Miskatonic University in Arkham.
    • Which is peanuts compared to the Pnakotus Archive of the Great Race of Yith hidden deep underground somewhere in the Australian Outback, which is supposed to contain the history and combined knowledge of every civilization that has ruled, or will ever rule, planet Earth.
    • In HP Lovecraft's writing, some real world libraries also hold tomes of Eldritch lore. The Necronomicon, one of the best known examples, can be found in the British Museum, the National Library of France, the Widener Library of Harvard University, and the University of Buenos Aires. Some of these (particularly the National Library of France) are so old and so large that they probably count as real life examples of the library of babel without the terrifying books which drive people mad.
  • A Shout-Out to this. The library of the abbey in The Name of the Rose; though it does not literally contain every possible book, it is described as containing within it all the knowledge of medieval Europe, and entrance to it is forbidden. Also, the blind monk Jorge de Burgos is an obvious Shout-Out to Borges.
  • The novel Endymion Spring has The Last Book, which is basically a Library of Babel condensed into one volume. It's also known as the Book of Sand, another Shout-Out to Borges' work.
  • The Dresden Files has a variation of this: all the written knowledge in the history of ever, updated live. The Archive (dubbed "Ivy" by Harry) is a walking Library of Babel in the form of a young girl. Everything and anything that is written, she knows. Harry takes advantage of this in Book 10: When Ivy is kidnapped, Harry, in the midst of figuring out what to do, grabs a piece of paper and writes a reassuring note, telling her that he's coming. Post-rescue, she mentions that she got it.
  • In The Neverending Story, Bastian creates a library with every story he has ever composed, for the benefit of a city of storytellers.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events features several non-supernatural libraries which come close to this, including a massive system of filing cabinets, a collection of banned books, and a pile of valuable secret documents under a table.
  • The Beast's library in Robin McKinley's Beauty. Might not have all the books that will ever be written, but it certainly has books that haven't been written as of when the story occurs.
  • The book The City of Dreaming Books by German author Walter Moers takes place in the city of Bookholm. On the surface, you can buy nearly every book in existence. But in the catacombes below, if you are able to survive long enough, you can find everything ever written. Somewhere.
  • In Magnus, the Library of Dragylon, Lucifer's fortress, is described thus:

Lucifer walked slowly along the surface of the library's dark aisle of ethereal water that was connected to cosmic engines located at Dragylon's core. His jewel-encrusted wings fluttered behind him like the robes of a scholar while he glanced at the towering bookcases to the left and right of him. He strode through shafts of light descending down from the sphere's atmos­phere through certain panels that were open on each side of the library's vaulted roof, eyes flashing brightly each time he passed through the pockets of thick shadows, the darkness consuming all but the muscled outline of his golden form like a solar eclipse. The library consisted of rolled scrolls of ivory parchment stuffed into open sleeves, with each sleeve stacked on top of one another on the shelves. Small flaming symbols of angelic and cherubic origin hovered in the space of each sleeve's open circle, serving as a coded filing system created by his scribe Medius. Lucifer's own voice whispered at him from behind the scrolls' fiery symbols as he walked past them, swirling around him in cosmic drafts of devilish diatribes and prideful proclamations.

  • The Galactic Library on Trantor, from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, should count. At least until it's sacked. Add in the 'finished' copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica which is used to 'provide' the chapter quotes, as the Encyclopedia project is intended as a compendium of human knowledge so it won't be forgotten, too.
  • The Clayr's Great Library in Garth Nix's The Old Kingdom series, which first shows up in Lirael, is under a mountain and doesn't limit itself to just books: odds and ends like sealed Free Magic beings and chambers large enough that it takes ten minutes to walk through them that contain only a pond, a tree, loads and loads of flowers and a fake sky (this is undergrounds, remember?) are hidden here and there. Working in the library is apparently dangerous enough that whole parties of armed librarians are required for trips into the lower levels, and all librarians are required to have various weapons as well as a whistle and a clockwork mouse that will raise an alarm in case of emergencies on their person. Oddly subverted in that the sheer volume of stuff in the library makes it quite difficult to find what you are really looking for when you need it and very easy to stumble upon things that should have stayed lost.
  • Brutally Deconstructed in Ms Fnd in a Lbry.
  • The Great Library of Pandathaway in the Guardians of the Flame series appears to qualify—though its librarians also charge ruinously high fees to actually find the information within its cavernous shelves and chambers.
  • Elinor's library in Inkheart counts. It seems like there is every genre imaginable there!
  • The titular location in Thomas Ligotti's The Library Of Byzantium is implied to be one of these.
  • Steven Moffat's Doctor Who short story "Continuity Errors" has a planet-wide library (which he presumably autopilfered for "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" below).
  • Occurs regularly as a location throughout George MacDonald's fiction, notably Phantastes, Lilith, and Alec Forbes. Even in his realistic novels, the books in the library are definitely magical.
  • The Archives of the University in The Name of the Wind and sequels. It has no natural light, and it's so vast it's difficult to find anything, since no librarian could live long enough to implement an organization system, so there are different systems in place in different areas. It has The Big Board that marks locations in the world where teams of librarians are retrieving more books. There is one character, Puppet, who has lived in the Archives for years. There are "bad neighborhoods" of shelves with no organization whatsoever. There are secret passages that access the Archives from the undercity that was buried hundreds or thousands of years ago.
  • In Clifford Simak's "The Goblin Reservation", a crystal planet containing all the knowledge of the previous universe (the one before the last Big Bang) is offered as payment for the book's McGuffin.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Library, so big it doesn't even need a name, just a The, from Doctor Who in "Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead."
  • The school library in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an approximation of this, with all those arcane references back in the rear stacks.
    • Angel has the templates, seemingly empty books that can retrieve any and all of the works in the extensive library of Wolfram & Hart.
  • Memory Alpha is the Library of Congress for the Federation in Star Trek. Since the Federation consists of multiple worlds, and new information is being brought in by Starships all the time, it's probably huge. Logically, there are Memories Beta through Omega to back it up in case the facility is lost.
    • In one of Diane Duane's Star Trek novels, the Enterprise returns to Earth for a resupply, and while everyone else is on shore leave, Spock stays behind to update the ship's computers with information from all of Earth's major libraries. (He finds it relaxing.)
  • The collectors' library in Andromeda. Although it only appears once in the episode "Time out of Mind".
  • The protagonist of John Doe carried The Library of Babel around in his head.
  • The Gaia Library in Kamen Rider Double is a neverending white void filled with bookshelves that only Philip can access. However, its function is more like a Search Engine of Babel as Philip needs keywords before he can get any of the information he needs.
  • Warehouse 13: Myka discovers that the eponymous Warehouse also holds a massive library containing first editions of everything ever printed.

Pete: Does that include comic books?

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Library of Yves in the Tabletop RPG In Nomine. Slightly subverted in that Yves' Library is actually well-organized ... it's the sheer scale of its contents that can make a search take days without assistance. Also notable is that the Library includes not just every book that ever existed, but every book that its author never actually got around to writing. (Such as the scripts for all seven seasons of Firefly.)
    • Yves' demonic counterpart Chronos has an unsorted, unorganized, and incomplete version of Yves' Library. From a mortal's viewpoint, Chronos' Library qualifies for this trope.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Black Library, containing the collected knowledge of the entire Eldar race. It's hidden in the webway, and guarded by the greatest of the Solitaires.
    • The Imperium has thousands, ranging from Alexandria size to covering all the planets in a system. Unfortunately they seem to think cataloging things is a sin.
    • Of particular note is the Adeptus Administratum Offices on Earth. The Administratum being essentially a galactic-scale bureaucracy goes through a lot of paperwork, which is them stored in kilometre-high stacks and likely never seen again until the end of time. The Adeptus Mechanicus never deletes anything, and (despite the name) contains the majority of the Imperium's scientific talent.
    • The Hidden Library of Tzeentch is even larger than the Black Library and contains every single scrap of knowledge, every thought of every creature across space and time, and is where Tzeentch himself concocts his eternal plots.
    • The Solemnance Archive, being a Necron record, has been expanding for the last hundred million years as its undead robot master, Trazyn the Infinite, adds new objects to his 'collection'.
  • The Library of Candlekeep in the Forgotten Realms has shades of this, most notably the 'arcane knowledge' part; you must donate a book to the library in order to gain access, and most of the people who wish to do so are mages who donate low-level spellbooks.
  • The dwindling race of Callidians, from the Talislanta game setting, are the keepers of a Library of Babel of pre-Great Disaster documents.
  • Mage: The Awakening has the Athenea of the Mysterium (which are generally on a somewhat smaller scale) as well as a Dominion of the Underworld which acts as a repository for all dead knowledge, also called the Atheneum.
  • The Library of Celaeno (see Literature) makes an appearance in the Call of Cthulhu adventure The Fungi From Yuggoth. It's infested with byakhee, and anyone who tries to smuggle information (not just the books but any information from the books) out of it gets eaten.
  • In the Ravenloft setting, the lich-king Azalin has a library which houses the self-updating life stories of every sentient being who has ever been born in his domain of Darkon, or who's entered it and stayed long enough to lose all memory of their previous life. Destroying your own book is one of the few ways to recover from Darkon's insidious Identity Amnesia effect.
  • The plane of Mirrodin from Magic: The Gathering gives us the Knowledge Pool at Lumengrid, home of an entire race of Gadgeteer Genius Badass Bookworms known as the Vedalken. While the Pool is technically less of a traditional library as it is a swirling mass of liquid wisdom compiled by its keepers over countless millenia, the Vedalken have made it their prerogative from Day 1 to collect as much knowledge as is concieviably possible.
  • In Planescape, Thoth's Library.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In the The Elder Scrolls verse, the Plane of Oblivion occupied by the Deidra Prince Hermaeus Mora is like this - an entire plane of reality filled with books, and supposedly containing every bit of Forbidden Knowledge and every secret, ever, at all. One book you can read in the game tells the story of a master Conjurer who traveled the Planes of Oblivion to learn more about them - passing through one realm after the next. His travels ended in the Library of Forbidden Knowledge - since he had started his journey specifically to seek greater understanding, he was completely incapable of tearing himself away from the infinity supply of knowledge that universe offered. In the course of the game, you can actually obtain one book from this library - the Oghma Infinitum, which... well, let's just say that it's basically the most powerful, useful and hard-to-get artifact around.
    • The legend and the Oghma continue in Oblivion. There's also the Imperial Library filled with The Elder Scrolls that contain all knowledge that was and ever will be...but seems less impressive after the description of Hermaeus Mora's.
  • World of Warcraft: The Library section of the Karazhan instance has bookshelves as tall as staircases, as well as books strewn all along the floor which can be picked up and used to give you one of a few buffs, depending on the tome.
    • In addition to that, there are at least two libraries which might fit this trope even though they are physically small because they are larger on the inside than the outside, and/or because they have no normal doors and can only be reached by teleportation.
  • In Touhou, there's Voile, the Magical Library. Maintained by Patchouli Knowledge, who spends her days locked up inside adding to the already-massive cache of knowledge. While 100 straight years of this this have given her anemia, asthma, and Vitamin A deficiency, you are more than likely to find anything you could ever want in there (Marisa sure does).
    • Bonus points for Patchouli, since she's not just the librarian, but also the author of an unspecified proportion of the books in her library, and probably the overwhelming majority of the magic books in the library, given the esoteric rules for wizardry in the Touhou 'verse.
    • It is also worth noting, just to get a sense of its dimensions, that in the stage you fight in the Voile Library, it is possible for you have a roughly five-minute-long aerial battle over the bookshelves traveling in one direction without ever reaching the end.
      • Fanon has run away with the notion of Voile as a repository for nearly every book every written. Case in point: the doujin anime Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream goes as far as to depict the library with a volume of Wikipedia [dead link] in stock.
    • Canonically, it's size is unspecified but large, it mostly has grimoires, many written by Patchouli, and there's a handful of random books from the outside world. Considering that grimoires are illegible to anyone that can't use them, the library is completely useless to the vast majority of characters.
  • The Dark People from The Longest Journey seek to obtain every book ever written, which they store in their library, located on a moving island whose location is a secret for but a few.
  • The Library of the Ancients in Final Fantasy V has an unbelievable number a books, including a large number which decide to attack the party. Being killed by a book is not a good way to go.
    • Daguerreo in Final Fantasy IX is a Shout-Out to this location, but its function is as a late-game optional town.
      • It also has a more minor shout-out in the form of Tantarian, an optional boss book-monster that lives in a library (in a town called Alexandria, no less).
  • Candlekeep in Baldur's Gate has an enormous library of spellbooks and histories which are maintained and patrolled by a fanatical order of monks, as well as having at least one backup copy of the entire library in another dimension.
  • The Duke's Archives, the personal collection of Duke Seath the Scaleless in Dark Souls. It takes of multiple rather large rooms and an entire tower(that also doubles as a dungeon), and considering that Seath is the creator of sorcery, they're no doubt on rather dangerous subjects. As Big Hat Logan found out.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, one of the doors leads to a massive library filled with books on several different subjects. It was used by the ship's former owner as a storage for his book collection.
  • The final Episode of Umineko no Naku Koro ni features the City of Books. The entire library is owned by Featherine and contains all the various books and stories (in the meta-world, various Fragments) that she ever created. The final battle between Lambda, Battler and Ange against Bern takes place here.

Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • "The Library" in the desert in Avatar: The Last Airbender whose supernatural librarian, Wan Shi Tong, keeps humans outside because they have an annoying tendency to abuse his knowledge. The protagonists, after promising Wan Shi Tong that they were not going in the library with malicious intent, go up to the observatory and find the next eclipse - but only because they're planning to launch an attack. Long story short, Wan Shi Tong overhears them and gets very, very mad.

"If you're going to lie to an all-knowing Knowledge-Spirit, you should at least put some effort into it."

    • It makes sense why he's pissed, as humans only seem to want his knowledge to wage war on each other.
      • Though it still arguably involves some Blue and Orange Morality—he sees knowledge as good purely for its own sake, and doesn't seem to care who the "good" or "bad" guy in any conflict is.
  • Futurama: in "The Why of Fry" the Brain Spawn are constructing a database of all the knowledge in the universe, and once it's full, they plan to destroy the universe to make sure no new knowledge appears. In Fry's own words, "Now it's personal."
    • The Brain Spawn, amusingly, are actually scanning in EVERY SINGLE FACT (such as "2+2=4", "Puppies are cute", etc) not just tomes of knowledge or principles of mathematics. (Fridge Logic: If they wanted to store all mathematical facts, they'd need to record infinite facts of the form "n+n=2n" alone.)
    • Spoofed in "Mars University". All the literature in the world is in the Mars U library—on two disks. (Fiction and Nonfiction)
  • Twilight's library from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • The tree library in Ponyville, not so much. It's about the size of the average public library. The grand library tower in Canterlot, oh yes. Which makes perfect sense, as it's the library belonging to Princess Celestia. Twilight just happens to have enough favor with Celestia to be permitted to live in it.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The Internet itself could probably be the closest thing to a Real Life example,even the part about most of it being nonsense or forbidden knowledge is there with the networks and web databases that can't be accessed normally.
    • Sites like Amazon and Google Books allow users to look inside select pages of millions upon millions of books, which could be thought of as a sort of immense library.
  • Pretty much all of the developed nations have national libraries: tremendous collections of books, articles, magazines, and other printed/recorded material. The libraries of large research universities also contain vast collections, often including priceless historical artifacts.
    • Since the Library of Congress is used to store publications for the U.S. Copyright office, virtually every work copyrighted in the U.S. is sent there, with just under half being added to the permanent collection. That amounts to an additional 10,000 items per day.
  • While nowhere near as well known as the library of Alexandria, the House of Wisdom, located in ancient Baghdad, was for its time the largest repository of knowledge in the world and actually held a great number of greek and roman translated pieces that may have originated from Alexandria. Unfortunately, it too was destroyed, in their case when the Mongols sacked the city.
    • It was said that when the Mongols sacked Baghdad, the Tigris River ran black with ink from the scrolls they dumped in it.
  • Einstein spoke of a "vast library, stacked from floor to ceiling with books in many different languages, arranged in an order we do not understand, but can dimly suspect". He called it the world.
  1. Ook
  2. (The "bit" part comes from the sheer non-conformity, spotty validation and difficulty searching for and accessing content online)
  3. that don't cause any water damage to the books behind them!