The Night Vale Public Library is a notable landmark in Night Vale, although there is widespread dissatisfaction with the library among the town's citizens. Its available public computers are outdated and slow, they provide a lending period of only fourteen days, and the Biography section contains nothing but 33 copies of the official biography of Helen Hunt. There have been reports of a faceless spectre who roams through the Biography section, bringing visitors to an untimely end. Cecil expresses his desire for the City Council to make some serious changes to the library, "or I may find myself hoping that the faceless spectre puts the library to the same mysterious, violent end as its many victims."
Unidentifiable black metallic trees suddenly appeared by the library back in June, causing all airborne objects above 30 feet to catch fire. They were cleared away to make room for a new strip mall and parking lot.
Paul Birmingham, a vagrant, lives in a lean-to behind the library.
Before episode 16, the library had no entrance. Instead, citizens found themselves there by "waking up between two shelves in a dizzy haze, unsure of how [they] got there, and then wandering around, trapped, until [they] wake with a start in [their] own beds, covered with sweat, and with a few books we checked out on [their] nightstand." In addition to a front entrance, the library also received drinking fountains, dunking chambers, a fainting pool, librarian repellent dispensers, and beanbag chairs.
As of episode 29, the public library "was burned down last night", and it was "only a matter of days before we'll need to burn it down again".
The library is run by a group of malevolent librarians (who are all named Randall) which the Night Vale citizens are encouraged to be cautious of. In 1993, "an unchecked librarian population resulted in the loss of many innocent and screaming book lovers." To this day they are not trusted, and it can be assumed that they are the main cause of the establishment's fatality rate resting "well above the national average for libraries." As of "The Phone Call", librarian repellent dispensers have been placed throughout the building for the safety of the visitors. Visitors are warned that should they be approached by a librarian, they should remain still and try to "make themselves bigger than the librarian."
In "First Date", Cecil also advises, "Remember: if confronted by a librarian while looking for a book to check out, do not attempt to escape by climbing a tree. There are no trees in the library, and the precious moments it will take you to look around and realize this will allow the librarian to strike."
In "A Beautiful Dream", the librarians offer amnesty for a variety of crimes to anyone willing to visit the library. The spittle flying from their mouths indicates that this is likely a front and they are just as malevolent as usual.
In "Lazy Day", a librarian is described as "the most fearsome creature imaginable".
In "Old Oak Doors Part A", Tamika Flynn says that she "looked at a librarian right in the area where most creatures would have eyes,” implying that librarians are either eyeless or that their eyes are located somewhere else. However, in "The Librarian", Cecil describes one as a "long-taloned creature with its many round black eyes and hairy brown teeth."
The public library also boasts a Board of Directors. This group was involved in the opening of the new branch, stating that the private library will "serve the community by showing how rich Marcus is, and what a great guy that obviously makes him."
The Night Vale Public Library has chosen to open a second branch, the Night Vale Private Library. Announced in "First Date", it will be located next door to the current library, and will be open only to Night Vale's local billionaire Marcus Vanston. The private library's selection will be expansive, with thousands of books on any given subject, and a Biography section featuring biographies of both Helen Hunt and Sean Penn. The library will also include such extravagances as a childrens' area shaped like a pirate ship and floor-to-ceiling windows which will face the public library.
Additionally, this new branch will have no librarians, ensuring Vanston's safety from the numerous librarian maulings which occur in the public library each year.
- Episode 2 "Glow Cloud"
- Episode 7 "History Week"
- Episode 11 "Wheat & Wheat By-Products"
- Episode 16 "The Phone Call"
- Episode 27 "First Date"
- Episode 28 "Summer Reading Program"
- Episode 29 "Subway"
- Episode 34 "A Beautiful Dream"
- Episode 54 "A Carnival Comes to Town"
- Episode 76 "An Epilogue"
- Episode 102 "Love Is a Shambling Thing"
- Episode 107 "The Missing Sky"
- Episode 108 "Cal"
- Episode 115 "Council Member Flynn, Part 2"
- Episode 134 "Fall Football Preview"
- Episode 144 "The Dreamer"
- Episode 157 "The Promise of Time"
- Episode 180 "U-View"