The Clayr's Library is a vast archive of magical materials, both written and physical, that extends deep below the Clayr's Glacier. Much of the first half of Lirael is given over to Lirael's explorations of the Library, where she works as a Third Assistant Librarian, before eventually earning a promotion to the position of Second Assistant Librarian.
Description[edit | edit source]
The library is shaped in a large downward shrinking spiral, reaching from the top of the mountains and down thousands of feet to the very base of the glacier. Along the path of the spiral, in addition to shelves and shelves of tomes, are doors to different chambers, often with some kind of large symbol on them. The spiral itself ends its downward path abruptly at the face of a large pale green rock.
The library itself holds much more than books. The Clayr document all of their visions and prophecies. The library is also a museum of sorts and contains various relics and ancient artifacts such as the statue of the Disreputable Dog, clothing of distant cultures, and large collections of different weapons and armor. The Great Library also acts as a prison to at least one Free Magic Elemental which the Clayr take special care to trap and imprison, such as the Stilken.
Before entering the spiraling passageway of the library, there are several areas for the library staff to attend to their duties. Each Librarian has an individual office of various sizes, according to rank. The Robing Room contains all the initial equipment given to librarians upon their arrival, librarian uniforms, and any additional required equipment.
The Reading room is a large domed room which functions as the central hub of activity in the library. Here scholars perform research, Charter sendings fetch and return materials, and Librarians record and index.
Somewhere, presumably connected to the Reading Room, is the Junior Librarians' Common Room.
Librarians[edit | edit source]
Librarian Ranks[edit | edit source]
From highest to lowest ranking:
- Chief Librarian
- Deputy Librarian
- First Assistant Librarian
- Second Assistant Librarian
- Third Assistant Librarian
There are five ranks of librarians in the library and the color of their waistcoat denotes their rank. The Clayr who work in the library are all either Third (yellow), Second (red), or First Assistant Librarians (blue), working under a Deputy Librarian (white) and the Chief Librarian (black). The different ranks of librarians also have different levels of access to the library, especially in the Old Levels, and these are denoted by the number of emeralds activated by Charter Magic on their bracelets.
Equipment[edit | edit source]
Every librarian is given, upon arrival at the library, a waistcoat matching their rank, a brass whistle, a small charter magic clockwork mouse, a Charter Magic-infused dagger and a bracelet.
- Library Waistcoats: Primarily made of canvas and coated in silk, these heavy waistcoats denote the librarian's rank.
- Brass Whistles: A simple brass pipe that is worn through straps on the librarian's lapel so that it can be blown if her arms are restrained.
- Clockwork Mouse: A silver ball-like object to be stored in the librarian's front left pouch. It has little mechanical legs, two bright chips of ruby for eyes, and a small key in its back. The mouse is part clockwork and part Charter Magic, and is to be used in times of emergency if the whistle is not heard. When activated, it runs back to the Reading Room and raises an alarm. It needs to be wound monthly and the spell renewed each year at Midsummer.
- Dagger: Steel and washed in silver, they are approximately the length of a forearm. The blade is infused with Charter marks of breaking and unraveling, ideal for fighting Free Magic creatures. The magic cast on them is not remarkably strong, and needs to be renewed every ten years.
- Bracelet: Worn on the right wrist, the bracelet is silver with seven emeralds. It functions as a key to the library's doors, with the number of magically-activated emeralds related to the librarian's rank and post. The emeralds determine which doors each librarian is authorized to enter. One lit emerald is enough to open common doors.
Notable Librarians[edit | edit source]
- Imshi: Imshi is a Second Assistant Librarian during the book Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr. She helps Lirael don her librarian waistcoat and equipment for the first time.
- Lirael: A main protagonist in the Old Kingdom series, she was raised by the Clayr and served as a Third and Second Assistant Librarian.
- Ness: Ness is a Deputy Librarian during the book Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr.
- Roslin: Roslin is a First Assistant Librarian during the book Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr.
- Vancelle: During Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr, Vancelle is a Chief Librarian who wields the ancient and powerful sword Binder.