• Member Since 2nd May, 2012
  • offline last seen Sep 28th, 2020

Fedora Mask

For Love and Justice.


Twilight Sparkle loves being a librarian. She gets to spend all day surrounded by her favorite things in the world—books—and best of all, nopony ruins it by trying to talk to her (or at least if they do, they have to be quiet about it).

But when the new head of the Equestrian Library Association gives her an ultimatum, Twilight's future as Ponyville's librarian will hinge on her ability to face the most horrifying creatures she's ever had to deal with:

No, not her new boss (who's clearly up to no good). Not the cult of the Dark God Cacophonon. Not even the strange book that won't. Stop. Staring. Worse than all that.

Library Patrons.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 199 )

Oh crap. I am betting that book of evil makes into circulation.

I am not sure if you are trying to make Volume Control a villain, because everything he said is correct.

3104109 Even the humble Strawman can have a point if he is actually a straw assassin. Who carries knives. Pointy knives.

Now, far be it from me to spread vicious rumors that Volume Control is actually made of straw, or has ever hunted other ponies for sport--but one has to wonder, why haven't we heard any evidence to the contrary, hmm?

Think about it.

(I'm being cryptic and noncommittal)

Although this is a funny story so far, I dislike the fanon idea of "Twilight the book fetishist." People who really enjoy books as things to _read_ rather than collectors items usually want to share their love of reading with other people.

3104331 I agree with you right up until someone I lent a book to returns it with the cover bent/creased/scuffed up. Then God defend them...

...from me pouting for like 20 minutes.

To be honest, I think it's nothing to do with loving to read per se: persnicketyness is persnicketyness, and in a person who loves books it extends to their books. In my interpretation, it's more a symptom of Twi's perfectionism and fixation on order than just her love of reading.

Or the short version: well, yes, not everyone who loves reading is like that, but without that the main joke of the fic doesn't work, so. :twilightsmile:



Well, he did say he wanted every book in the library to circulate. That one pretty much has to get out, if Twilight's going to keep her place.

A very promising start.

Going to have to agree with Volume Control. What use is a library if you can't take out books for your own benefit? If anything, Twilight thinks pretty much every book is hers and hers alone. She's got the idea of the library down with having lots of books with taking care of them, filing them and what not, but not the idea of how an actual library works with patrons.

I always kind of wondered this because no pony really ever comes into the library to do anything. Just Twilight's friends and if anything, have a party or show a film.

so volume control staged a coup de tate and made himself head of the association now he is threatening celestias student and above all else ignoring a royal edict. you do realise he'll be in jail inside of a week right?

Only the first chapter and I'm already loving it, especially those little bits of wordplay. :twilightsmile:

3104534 Not really, the sudden rise to power may be a little shady, but his review of the library seems to be normal. He mentions the library association is paying Twilight's for a job she doesn't do, so he replaces her with some one willing to do the work they're being paid for. In fact the royal edict is the only thing keeping her afloat.

3105042 keep in mind that a local lybrary association needs permission from a local magistrate to act in a constitusional monarchy (daiarchy here)

being the closest highest ranking noble, thats twilight herself.

So is the ELA kind of like the IRS, virtually untouchable and fearsome? So terrifying in fact that gods tremble at the mere thought of doing their taxes late?

I heard about a book that won't stop staring. It's a RepliCant. Is that what that is? I know little about that game.

Asking for everypony in Ponyville is going to get Volume Control fired. It should be the goal, yes, but not after two weeks.

Something is suspicious about Volume Control and however he seized control. The very first thing Twilight ought to do is a little research about what went down at the ELA meeting.

With a toss of his head, he turned towards the door. “Perhaps you’d best write to her n—” Volume Control froze. For several long seconds he was silent.

And then Volume Control learned he was making a mistake. This is not only a Junior Grade Librarian... this is the Princess' most trusted, most faithful student. Twilight is living there by Royal Edict. And he is about to violate that royal edict. Volume Control is suddenly pondering how much longer his job is about to last.

And that's why he changed his mind in such a hurry. XD Because of the size of the brick he nearly made himself pass in the floor there. XD

3106313 The IRS with audits bright
Both man and beast does fiercely smite
And ponies eek* must pay their bill
from Baltimare to Ponyville.
But more to fear have those who borrow
and to their unending sorrow
No books return, nor late fees pay
For they must face the ELA.

*eek is an archaic word meaning "too" or "also," and is pronounced like "ache" unless my Middle English pronunciation is failing me. Chaucer uses it quite a bit.

Why not just use the word "too"? Because, as Chaucer would have put it, "Shutte up your hole for pies and fasten it wel."

3106996 ...okay, don't want to piss off the ELA now...

Volume Control brings to mind the Auditors of Reality that make an occassional appearance in Pratchett's Discworld series.

Have an up-vote, good author, and proceed post-haste! :rainbowdetermined2:

This is brilliant, and you gave me the idea of writing a Star Swirl vs. Lovecraftian mythos tomes story.
Also, you must read this article about scary libraries: http://exurbe.com/?p=1992

I have long kept a joke ranking of libraries I use, rating them by how successful they are at preventing people from getting at books. This facetious metric helps me remain cheerful in the face of particularly impenetrable libraries, like the Capitolare in Padua, which is only open from 9 AM to noon on weekdays not sacred to saints the librarians particularly like (they like a lot of saints), and which so excels at protecting its books from people that it took me three visits to Padua before I managed to get in for a precious two hours and see two books. (...) But there is a less joking side to this. In a perverse sense, people are the enemy of books: we touch them, rip them, bend their covers, get our oily finger pads all over them, etc. The safest book in the world is one sealed away in frigid, nitrogen-rich darkness, far from human touch. The two duties of the librarian, to protect the books and serve the patrons, are directly antithetical.

could have done without the necronomicon.


I don't think Celestia is going to help in this case. ELA can probably do something horrible to her like revoke her library card. No one is above law!

Same rules with the Equestrian Revenue Service.

Extremely funny and well written. The ELA-guy makes a good lawful-neutral villain. I love the clash of practicality with dedication we see in Twilight here.

Can't wait for more! :pinkiehappy:

3104331>>3104331 this is a plot point in the series. We're repeatedly shown that Twilight does want people to love books the way she does...but people in Ponyville aren't really interested. The idea that Twilight is overprotective of her books doesn't fit with her sharing them with Dash, not bothering to call Discord out on eating them and hoofing one off to The Cutie Mark Crusaders of all ponies. Rather, I think in-show we're supposed to assume ponies just don't really like reading much in Ponyville, or attain them off screen when it isn't interrupting the plot.

This will be epic. This will be awesome.

“Um... Civil disobedience,” she decided, after a moment's hesitation. “And see if you can get them to stay in order this time."

And that line says EVERYTHING.

~Skeeter The Lurker

3107503 The head of the Canterlot Mason's Guild looked up at the strange visitor, with his strange robe, and his strange smile, and his strange, too-tight skin. All the more strange was the fact that, a mere moment ago, the head of the Canterlot Mason's Guild had been quite certain he was alone in the room.

"And what brings you here so stealthily?" he asked the figure.

"There is a matter I wish seen to," replied the figure, his voice a permanent, strained whisper. "I understand that you specialize in... resolving unpleasantness between your client and another party."

"Ah, then you wish to commission a statue?"


The guild head leaned forward across his desk, and slid around the papers with a hoof. "We do like to know who we're working for."

"I am certain you do. Suffice it to say, I am a wealthy stallion who wishes this pony to be... memorialized, as you might put it." The hooded figure passed a slip of paper across the desk.

The head of the guild took the picture, looked at it, and snorted. "Oh, yes, very funny."

"I do not kid."

"Then you are very seriously deranged," said the guild head sternly. "You honestly mean to suggest that we--"

He stopped as a sack of bits--not a pouch, not a money-bag, a sack, landed on his desk. Coins spilled over the top, onto his carefully ordered papers.

The guild head cleared his throat. "Well that certainly... yes... But, even if we were to accept this... contract, how would the statue be... constructed?"

"That is your concern," sniffed the robed figure. "You would like my business, yes?" The guild head nodded hastily. The hooded figure's lips pulled back, exposing his teeth. "Then the matter is simple. We petrify the Gift Horse."

It it explicitly stated anywhere that Golden Oaks is a lending library? (As opposed to a repository where copies may be made, but the original volumes do not leave the premises.) :twilightsmile:

(Yeah. Probably won't fly.) :facehoof:

Anyway, the competition from the "Books & Wheelbarrows" outlet next door probably doesn't help Twi's circulation figures. :twilightangry2:

It would've been nice to get another chapter of "In Search of Lost Friends...", but there's nothing wrong with something new and equally hilarious.

3104387 I can sort of relate to that frame of mind. My brother scarcely washes his hands, which does nothing for the covers of the books he borrows from me, and he's too lazy to keep the spines of paperbacks from creasing. This is why he will only ever borrow one George R. R. Martin book until I get through the series myself. It would be different if I actually had to run a library, but in Twilight's defense, she does live there.

3111448 Er... yes it would be nice to get another chapter of Lost Friends. I'll do my best, but I'm not ready to make any predictions/promises yet.

I'm glad you're willing to forgive me and read a new thing in its place. Your faith will (eventually) be rewarded!

3111006 Hmm, I honestly hadn't considered the possibility that it might be something like a research library. Mostly because Ponyville is sort of a little hick town.

On the other hand, it is pretty close to Canterlot, so if for some reason the Canterlot Library needed to store excess or non-circulating materials someplace else, Ponyville would be an obvious choice.

I prefer to think that Twilight is just really bad at outreach, though.

Almost makes me think of how Aziraphale (and other booksellers) were described in 'Good Omens'. Although I'd have to agree, her resisting booklending doesn't really fit in with what we've seen.

Another thing that comes to mind ... there's precedent for some books to be kept out of circulation. Whether it be 'reference books' (stuff most American public libraries keep and not lend out, usually encyclopaedias) or more restricted materials (things that would be in the securely locked Starswirl wing), some books just don't get lent out.

(And if she wasn't so rattled, wouldn't she know to keep a section aside for dangerous information, especially after the love poison mess?)

Something tasteful and fun I found stabbing randomly at the front page?


Ha! Cute story. What's not to like? It has an ultra-neurotic version of Twilight, funny prose, and an evil book bound in equine skin, that watches you. To say nothing of...


...actually, forget any other reasons. I think I'm pretty much going to follow the story mostly on due to that book. The description you provide, with the tricks-of-the-light, and Twilight wanting to hop up on a couch, like she was avoiding a mouse, was awesome.

Um... actually, I think Twilight might be the small-time lawful neutral villain in this one. :twilightoops:

Seriously, her boss there just wants her to, y'know, actually be of service to her community, like her job entails, instead of treating a public library as her personal book collection. That's a pretty goodly reason for things.


He conceded and let her try to change, in the end, yes. But he actually just kicked her out instead of trying to change her ways, so he has a villaineous streak in his personality, at least.

I am liking this story so far. Excited to see what happens next

I can kinda understand where Twilight comes from, two weeks ago I started working at a library, I can't understand how people can't seem to put books back where they found them

of course I am not a Librarian, I am a Page which is like Spike's duties except I don't send letters to a pony princess by fire breath

I am getting a very serious "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" vibe from this story. So a song is necessary.

I haven't seen a comedy that's piqued my interest like this in a while. I look forward to seeing where it goes.

He's not a villain. He's worse.

...he's a bureaucrat.

3114036 Hey so was I (a page, that is--and a circ desk worker)!

I think you will enjoy some of the ponies who actually visit the library next chapter, though with any luck they will only speak a little to your personal experience.

It's a good start, but it's all set up and there isn't enough to get my teeth into to favorite it yet.

Patrons, the bane of any library.

3111866 which, again, isn't the case in canon (with all likelihood).

But this is a comedy 'verse. Proceed!


I was a page too. What a coincidence. It's better if patrons leave books on the table rather than put them back. They are more likely to put them in the wrong spot.

This actually kind of reminds me of a premise for a fanfic that I myself had toyed with the idea of writing, where Twilight gets in trouble with a library inspector because said inspector didn't approve of Spike working there (and probably living there too) naturally leaving a dilemma of what to do about it so to be able to fix it without having either of them leave the library. I ended up not going through with it, though, namely because part of the story would've had Spike trying go and assist the other members of the Mane 6 in their various activities while Twi worked at coming up a solution...which proved to be oddly not as interesting as you might think. Either that or I was just approaching the idea entirely the wrong way, but anyway, we aren't here to discuss fanfic ideas I've had and never wrote. :rainbowwild:

Anyway, do like the premise of THIS fanfic, and will follow. :twilightsmile:


I agree with you there. Something is not right. It's like he looks like the pony version the Grim Reaper. First the strange book that could be the Necronomicon and then this pony shows up. Things are getting weird around here.

3115975 Well, the problem there sounds like you've got Twi off by herself looking for some technical loophole while Spike tries to address the problem in a way that's sort of not addressing the problem... It's not a bad premise though. Maybe an older Spike who's willing to move out so that Twi can keep her residence, and misunderstandings on both sides--Twi spends all her time trying to think of a way to fix things (which again, kinda boring, so you get like one scene of that or she starts dragging other ponies into it) so Spike thinks she's upset with him for getting them kicked out, so he starts talking about striking out on his own, which makes Twi thinks he wants to leave, and then when the whole thing's exploded in a big confrontation Twi figures out how Spike can stay and the two reconcile.

And maybe Spike decides it's time to get his own place anyway? I'm not sure how I'd do it.

Sorry, people mention a story idea to me and I can't help myself.

Not a bad idea, but again doesn't seem quite enough, or goes in directions I'm not sure I'd personally want to go in.

My main idea behind the idea was to have Spike go out and live life with some of the other mane six, but ultimately deciding that he was happiest with Twilight. A kind of "discovering the grass isn't really greener on the other side of the hill after all" sort of story. I also would've tried to explore the brother-sister-like relationship between Twi and Spike during it too (had I written it) and just kind of reaffirm that for them. So at the very least it had a good beginning and a fair ending at least, but it was the middle that always fell apart.

Oh well. I've got more than enough fanfic ideas on my plate that I can work with that I don't REALLY need another. :twilightblush:

I hope you're not trying to make Volume Control a villain. He DOES raise good points. The library isn't Twilight's personal book collection. At some point, I hope to see a chapter in which Twi and another character discuss the problem seriously, and Twi admits that she wasn't doing hr job.

Or maybe she just gets featured on an episode of WTFIWWY. Either's okay with me!

The only time the library seemed to operate like an actual library was "Show Stoppers" when the CMC borrowed that book for their show. But even then it was still treated like it's Twilight's personal book collection.

Looking forward to read more of this, as Twilight has to deal with actually having a job.
"1500 word essay on proper reading posture". That's so in-character it hurts.

Volume Control has perfectly good points.

That said, he still comes across as a bit of a douche. And his sudden and ambiguous rise to power has got to be hiding something dirty.

Readnig this story I had my suspicions, but this comment cements it.

You, sir/madam, are a genius.

Upvote, fave, all that good stuff :twilightsmile:

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