Did you know Casanova was a librarian?


Illustration of Casanova

Giacomo Casanova in his 63rd year.

We’ve all heard of Casanova, right? He’s known as one of the most famous lovers in history.

But if you don’t know anything about Giacomo Casanova and would like to (without reading a history book), watch the 2005 film with Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller.

One fact the film neglects to mention, however, is that Casanova was a librarian. He worked as a private librarian for a Count at the Castle du Dux in Bohemia during his later years.  It was during this time he wrote his extensive memoirs which, incidentally, landed him in the history books (and film!).

But he isn’t the only famous librarian in history. There was also Mao Zedong. Chairman Mao was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chairman (duh!) of the People’s Republic of China.

You may have heard of some his disastrous policies? There was the Great Leap Forward which aimed to modernise China’s economy by making Chinese citizens work on large-scale communes.

There was also the Cultural Revolution – a socio-political movement which aimed to preserve communist ideology. Neither policy worked out the way Mao planned; they crippled the economy and killed millions of people.

But before all of this – he a was a librarian. An assistant librarian to be exact. Mao carried the periodicals and organised the shelves at Peking University for a short time. According to Mental Floss, he earned eight dollars a month for his efforts.

And let’s not forget about Lewis Carroll. Or should that be Charles L. Dodgson? Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the author who wrote children’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Charles, obviously a talented writer, was also a mathematician.  He obtained a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours in Mathematics, from Christ Church College Oxford, and went on to become a Mathematics Lecturer.

It was during his time at Christ Church that he scored a part time gig as a sub-librarian – keeping track of library books and their borrowers.

What other famous librarians do you know of? Comment below!