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Barbie Goes to the Library

Still from the film Barbie

2023 is the year of Barbie. Director Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster film—which just passed $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales—has been ubiquitous since its late-July release, infusing everything it touches with an effervescent, pink glow. Libraries have been getting in on the action, too, curating collections and displays both onsite and online devoted to the doll/pop culture icon that changed the world.

We’re especially excited about the Barbies found at the Library of Congress (LC), which is showcasing them in a new, must-read post on its always-fascinating blog. Part of the Geppi Collection, housed in LC’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, the dolls came to LC in 2018 courtesy of collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi as part of his landmark 3,000 item collection of comic books, photos, original art, newspapers, buttons, pins and badges, all documenting pop culture. The Geppi Barbies (and Midges and Kens) are from the early 1960s and in awesome condition. Definitely check them out.

And did you know that the Barbie film has a library cameo, too?

In the film, Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) leave Barbieland and set out for the male-dominated real world. When Ken finds that he isn’t prepared for what he finds there, he heads to Los Angeles Public Library to broaden his horizons. LitHub has an excellent, and very funny roundup of some of the books Ken explores, including works on horses, the patriarchy, and war.

Looking for more Barbie-inspired reading? OprahDaily speculates what books might be found in the library at Barbie’s Dreamhouse. It’s a diverse list, including books on the history of the color pink and plastic.

What do you think should be in Barbie’s library?

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