Season 3 Episode 5

The Library

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 16, 1991 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
372 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jerry is investigated by the library for a book he checked out in 1971 and never returned. Elaine fears for her career when her boss hates her recommendations, and Kramer strikes up a relationship with the librarian. Meanwhile, George believes that a homeless man is his old gym teacher, whom he got fired.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Well I have a review for you, joyboy....

    Problems: Jerry finds out he has an overdue book from 1971. The book is Tropic of Cancer. He thinks that he can get a testimony from one of his old girlfriends. But her side of the story seems totally different. George thinks he sees his old gym teacher who called him "Cantstandya". Elaine has problems pleasing her boss, and Kramer gets intimate with a library worker.

    Great episode! Mr. Bookman was great! His monologues were spectacular! I was laughing so hard! Everything tied together perfectly. This was yet again a sign to all the early Seinfeld fans that this show would someday become big.moreless
  • Combines flawless editing, writing, acting and humour. The Perfect Episode of Seinfeld.

    In The Library; Jerry is under investigation for not returning the book "Tropic of Cancer" to the Library for 20 years and is pursued by the Library Cop Mr. Bookman. Jerry recalls High School to remember where he left the book and tracks down an old classmate to assist him. George recalls the same time at High School when the Gym teacher gives him a wedgie and is later fired. Kramer starts a relationship with the Librarian and Elaine fears that she's on the verge of being fired from her job at Pendant Publishing. At this point we've yet to see Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer really come together as a group; this episode as well as others all go in different directions and don't rely on their companionship but the individual plots are so great it doesn't matter.

    This episode subtly channels "Citizen Kane" as the answer to the mystery is told through flashbacks with different characters pointing ironically towards the changing, subjective nature of memory and the final revelation of the plot's main object. This is a brilliant plot device and the way it involves George's story makes for just a great script. Although Kramer's and Elaine's are brief they contain some of the best elements of the episode, especially with Kramer's relationship with Marion the Librarian. But when it comes to laughs there's nothing surpasses the exchanges between Jerry and the tough as nails Bookman; they're just classic. Jerry's monologues were also great even though the first one was a little weird. The flashbacks were also good but the lack of budget is VERY evident. This is the only episode directed by Joshua White which is sad since his cinematic direction combined with the sharp writing from Larry Charles contributed to this episode's classic status as did the acting. While Jerry and George both are very well acted by Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander; there's no real development to their character while Elaine is shown to have a neurotic side and Kramer shows signs of suaveness and thoughtfulness that is a good growth on the zany neighbour character. Phillip Baker Hall makes for the most memorable guest appearance so far with his brilliant send - up of Joe Friday from Dragnet and Harris Shore debuts as Elaine's boss Mr. Lippman but he's immediately replaced by Richard Fancy in the next episode based at her work.

    The Library is just a sensational episode of Seinfeld; go see it now!moreless
  • "Costansia!"

    I really enjoyed tis episode,it had evething to be the perfect episode of seifeld, unlike last weeka, it had kramer, george,good dialogue, elaine, various plots, many twists and misunderstandindings. I especially liked it because they showed the past, and i also loved Mr. Bookman, " Listen, hot-shot, i´ve been working on this bussinesss for a really long time, so don´t you think you can trick me" or ssomethin like that. Overaall a very good episode, a clasic of seinfeld that i recommend for eveyone to see, because it really is hilarious, and a mean big lUGHS RELLLY!! Great Stuff!moreless
  • A trip to the past...

    This episode centers around a library which triggers moments from their past, Jerry turned out to be some nerd with a creepy hairdo. While George was a total nerd. And the library misses a the book, Tropic Of Cancer goes missing. and Jerry owes 50,000 dollars. We also find out that Jerry's love interest when he was younger now looks really ugly,I like how they try to solve a mystery on where the book went & it all adds up in the end, and also it fits in to the homeless PE teacher story, a great episode with a lot of flashbacks!moreless
  • A very special episode

    This is one of my absolutely favorite Seinfeld episodes. It's pitch perfect, with Phillip Baker Hall playing library cop Bookman. I love it. I love every minute of it.

    Jerry checked out a book in 1971 from the library and is in trouble with the library cop, George runs into an old high school teacher and Kramer dates the librarian. It's all perfect. One of the best episodes of the series and the third season, along with "The Parking Garage", "The Tape", "The Pen", "The Red Dot", and "The Boyfriend".

    Hats off to a great third season.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In this episode Jerry claims that he doesn't drink coffee and doesn't have any when Mr. Bookman asks for coffee. In the pilot, Jerry was seen drinking coffee.

    • Kramer claims that "a nickel a day for twenty years" would come to $50,000. Including the five leap years between 1971 and 1991, a nickel a day for twenty years only comes to $365.25.

    • They say Heyman is fired for giving George a wedgie. In the 1st shot Heyman goes for the waistband but the next shot it was only the students and Heyman is standing back.

    • Marion says that Mr. Bookman has been working at the library for 25 years, however, he states that 1971 was his first year on the job, which would mean he's been working at the library for twenty years, not twenty five.

      Response: He only became the Library cop in 1971. Obviously, he was given a promotion.

    • When Mr. Bookman pays a visit to Jerry, he picks up a book from the shelf and subsequently places it back. Keep your eye on that book as you will see it move to a different position on the shelf just a few moments later.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • George: I don't understand lunch. I don't know anything about lunch.

    • Mr. Bookman: You'd better not screw up again, Seinfeld, because if you do, I'll be all over you like a pit-bull on a poodle.

    • Mr. Bookman: I don't judge a man by the length of his hair or the kind of music he listens to. Rock was never my bag. But you put on a pair of shoes when you walk into the New York Public Library, fella.

    • Kramer: The Dewey Decimal System… What a scam that was!

    • George: So I said, "Mr. Hayman, It's me george Costanza, JFK, ... " He doesn't move. So I said uh, "Can't stand ya'", "Can't stand ya'" He turns and smiles, the little baked bean teeth. I get up to run away, but something was holding me back. It was Heyman. He had my underwear. There I was on the steps of the 42nd St. library ,a grown man, getting a wedgie.
      Elaine: At least it wasn't atomic.
      George: It was.

    • George: Listen, just because I got the guy fired doesn't mean I turned him into a bum - does it?

    • George: He [Mr. Haymen] purposely mispronounced my name. Instead of saying Costanza, he'd say 'Can't stand ya'.

    • Kramer: Bookman. The Library cop's name is Bookman. That's like an ice cream man being named cone!

    • Mr. Bookman: Sure, we're too old to change the world, but what about that kid, sitting down, opening a book, right now, in a branch at the local library and finding drawings of pee-pees and wee-wees on the Cat in the Hat and the Five Chinese Brothers? Doesn't he deserve better?

    • Elaine: Remember that Columbus book?
      Jerry: Columbus... Euro trash

    • Jerry: It reminds me of like this pathetic friend that everbody had when they were a little kid who would let you borrow any of his stuff if you would just be his friend. That's what the library is. A government funded pathetic friend.

    • Elaine: Lippman wants to see me. SEE ME! That can't be good.
      Jerry: Maybe you're getting a raise.
      Elaine: Maybe I'm getting a wedgie.

    • Kramer: HELLO!
      Marion: HELLO!
      Mr. Bookman: Hello.

    • Mr. Bookman: (to Jerry) Well I got a flash for ya' joy-boy.

    • Kramer: (on the loney librarian) She needs a little tenderness...she needs a little understanding...she needs a little Kramer.
      Jerry: Then she'll need a little penicillin.

    • Elaine: (on boys giving wedgies, etc.) Boys are sick.
      Jerry: What do girls do?
      Elaine: We just tease someone 'til they develop an eating disorder!

  • NOTES (1)