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"And then, of course, there was the sheer size of the library; tens of thousands of books; thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows."
— Description[src]

The Hogwarts Library was located off of a corridor on the first-floor of Hogwarts Castle and contained tens of thousands of books on thousands of shelves. Overseen by Madam Irma Pince, the library was where students could go to peruse or borrow books to supplement their studies (or for personal enjoyment).[4] The library closed at 8:00 pm.[5]


"The only other sound was the slight squeaking of one of Madam Pince’s shoes as the librarian prowled the aisles menacingly, breathing down the necks of those touching her precious books."
— Madam Pince's domineering presence in the library[src]

A section of the library

Quite strict where the rules in the library was concerned, Madam Pince was the kind of librarian who saw herself as the guardian and protector of the books, at odds with the students who try to use them, whom she did not allow to eat, talk, laugh, whisper, sneeze or scurry in the library.[4]

Overall, her demeanour did not suggest that she would be very helpful, as making research was very difficult in the Hogwarts library. As a result, completing homework assignments that required additional information became unnecessarily tedious. As with a helpful librarian, students would not have to spend hours simply looking for the books they needed, but using the information that could have been found quickly in the their homework, leaving less time for studying.


Early known history

Before Harry Potter's time at Hogwarts, the Restricted Section had books about Horcruxes in it including Secrets of the Darkest Art. However by Tom Riddle's time at Hogwarts in the 1940s, Horcruxes were a banned subject and Albus Dumbledore was very strict about it.[6] It's unknown when, but Dumbledore eventually removed every book containing information on Horcruxes in the library.[7]


The entrance of the Vault of Fear was located in the library. During the 1986–1987 school year, several students including Jacob's sibling entered the Vault of Fear to defeat the boggarts inside. Rowan Khanna distracted Madam Pince by claiming their Self-Inking Quill was left near some books so their friends could enter past closing hours.[8]

During the 1987–1988 school year, it held the election for the head of the decorating committee for the Celestial Ball.[9]

During the 1988–1989 school year, Barnaby Lee brought a Leucrotta into the library, which was against the rules (as creatures were not allowed in the library), to help Jacob's sibling and Tulip Karasu research ways how to clean its teeth. The Leucrotta repeated the insults from Kelly about Madam Pince aloud, which Pince overheard, with her giving Jacob's sibling detention in response, believing them to be guilty and not believing the story after their friends scarpered with the Leucrotta.[10]


"The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Stepping carefully over the rope that separated these books from the rest of the library, he held up his lamp to read the titles."
First year Harry Potter wanders into the Restricted Section[src]

The trio researching in the library

In December 1991, in his first year, Harry Potter used his newly-acquired Invisibility cloak to sneak into the Restricted Section during the Christmas holidays. He went at night in order to look for information on Nicolas Flamel.[4] Unfortunately, he picked up a large black book near the bottom of the shelf that began screaming when he opened it. Worried that he would attract attention, Harry closed it and ran off.[4] Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger also read through various library books in the hope of finding information about Nicolas Flamel; Hermione in fact managed to find a book about Flamel whilst doing some "light reading".

That school year, Draco Malfoy once used the Leg-Locker Curse on Neville Longbottom outside the library to bully him.[11] Hagrid also visited the library this year in search for books regarding dragons in the Dragon Section of the library. He needed information on how to care for his newly acquired Dragon egg.[12] Also in this year, Professor Quirrell sent Harry to library to remove the curse he was under. On his way to the library he met with Albus Dumbledore, who suggested that he look in the Reference Section as a means of help.[13]

The trio in the library in their second year researching Polyjuice Potion

During the 1992–1993 school year, Harry Potter eavesdropped on a group of Hufflepuffs, while hidden in the Invisibility Section.[14] While researching on information about the basilisk who was attacking Muggle-borns and Mrs.Norris, Hermione Granger, together with Penelope Clearwater, was petrified by the basilisk, by looking at it in Penelope's mirror. They were found near the library and was later carried up to the Hospital Wing.[15][16]

During the 1993–1994 school year, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger studied some of the material in the Legal Section of the Library. They hoped would help Hagrid at Buckbeak's hearing.[17] In 1993, it had an infestation of Imps. A Draconifors-dragon statue can also be found here.[18]

Harry Potter looking for a book on how to breathe under water

During the 1994–1995 school year, Harry Potter received Minerva McGonagall's permission to enter the Restricted Section so he could research a way about being able to breathe underwater for an hour to compete in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament,[5] but had also made use of the regular section, and came across the book Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed when researching spells for the first task. He was looking for books comtaining simple spells, as Sirius suggested that the way to deal with a dragon is relatively.[19] Harry also checked out books for the third task in order to prepare, some of the spells he learned were the Impediment Jinx and the Reductor Curse.[20]

During the 1995–1996 school year, Harry and Ron researched the properties moonstone in for Potions homework in the library.[21] Alicia Spinnet was also jinxed by Miles Bletchley whilst she was studying, in an attempt to sabotage the Gryffindor Quidditch team's chances for a Quidditch match versus the Slytherin Quidditch team.[22] Later that year, Harry saw Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle and Theodore Nott looking at him angrily in the library, as his recent interview published in the The Quibbler had outed their fathers as Death Eaters.[23] At Easter, Harry ate chocolate with Ginny Weasley in the library whilst reading books, however Madam Pince caught them and jinxed their belongings to chase them out of the library.[24]

Sixth years Harry and Hermione talking in the library

During the 1996–1997 school year, Harry studied Everlasting Elixirs in N.E.W.T. Potions class, taking notes on them in the Hogwarts Library from his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. In his copy of Advanced Potion-Making the Half-Blood Prince had made annotations on these elixirs. He and Hermione were forced out of the library after Madam Pince saw his graffitied book and looked as though she was going to have a fit. Hermione warned him that if he wasn't careful, Pince would ban him from the library.[25]


"A warning: If you rip, tear, shred, bend, fold, deface, disfigure, smear, smudge, throw, drop, or in any other manner damage, mistreat, or show lack of respect towards this book, the consequences will be as awful as it it within my power to make them."
— Warning on the inside of a library book[src]

The library books had various spells on them to prevent students from defacing or stealing them, all of which were standard practise. However, Madam Pince had been known to place spells of her own on them as additional protection; one such example would make the book physically assault the reader should they dare to scribble on it.[24] Hermione Granger tore a page out of a library book about magical creatures without being cursed, jinxed, or hexed by the book. How she did this is unknown. Chocolate and (presumably) other food was forbidden in the library. Harry Potter also showed signs of breaking the security of the library in his first year, when he entered the Restricted Section under his invisibility cloak.[4]

Taking out books

Students and teachers could take out books from the library, with the librarian’s permission. Books from the Restricted Section required a signed note from a teacher to be checked out.[26][14] Professor Severus Snape told Harry Potter that it was against the rules to carry a library book out of the castle. However, he may have just made that rule up to get Harry into trouble.[27] Students seemed to be able to place books on hold — during the 1992–1993 school year the book Hogwarts, A History had a two-week waiting list.[28]

Professor Dumbledore removed the books pertaining to the subject of Horcruxes, due to the fact that they involve such Dark Magic. He kept them in his office until his death, whence Hermione Granger summoned them before departing in her sixth year.[7]


There were overdue records on the library due date sheet. Ron Weasley had Quidditch Through the Ages overdue.[29]


The Restricted Section

Included in its many sections were:

Behind the scenes

  • In the 1940s, Tom Riddle may have looked in the Restricted Section of the library in hopes of finding a book regarding Horcruxes. At least one book in that section, Secrets of the Darkest Art gave explicit instruction on how to create a Horcrux. However, if he had looked in the library, he could not have found any book that had information on the possibility of creating multiple Horcruxes, since no individual in history was known to have done such a feat before his attempt and he later asked a teacher, Professor Slughorn for advice.[32]
    • It's unknown when Albus Dumbledore removed all the books containing information on Horcruxes from the library but it was banned by Tom's time at the school and Dumbledore was very strict about it.[33] The books were taken and put in Dumbledore's office prior to June 1997 until Hermione Granger took them during her search for Horcruxes.[7]
  • As the students often use the library to progress in their academics, it is likely there is at least one section of books concerned with every subject taught at Hogwarts.
  • In the PC version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Library is larger and more labyrinth than in the films, perhaps closer to what is implied in the books. There are study tables nestled throughout red-carpeted rooms criss-crossed and walled with full bookshelves, many of which are actually secret passages that Filch uses to travel between rooms quickly. Polished wooden catwalks overlook most rooms here, some with stained-glass windows, and the entire complex is housed in the lower section of the Astronomy Tower. If one continues up through the levels of the library, they will eventually gain access to the top of the tower, where Astronomy studies are conducted.
  • In the GBC version of the game, the library has two floors, the lower (accessed by the second floor) being a very large room filled with labyrinthine paths between bookshelves. The lower floor is where the Restricted Section and the librarian's desk can be found. The upper floor (accessed by the third floor) consists on a very large balcony, overlooking the lower floor.
  • In the GBA version of the game, the library is a very large room with wine-coloured wallpaper. Annexed to the library is a room with many tables and a lectern facing them, possibly a place for lectures. The restricted section is through a wooden door, and it's a very odd room, with many secret passages, pressure pads and deep holes on the ground.
  • In the video game adaptations of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the regular area of the library is a massive, cathedral-like area of the castle, with two long arms stretching to the left and right of the entrance, each lined with bookshelves at least five stories high. Wooden balconies line each level, and books can be seen flying like birds from the large, round librarian's desk in the centre of the room, up to the shelves where they each belong. There are also antechambers leading off from this area, up staircases from the main room, some locked or blocked in ways that require certain spells to unseal. These chambers are also lined with high shelves, and some are haunted by seemingly malevolent ghosts. A large cauldron of Wiggenweld Potion can be found bubbling in the Library, free for any student who needs a pick-me-up. The Restricted Section of the library in the game is even more intimidating. Accessed through a portrait in a section of the Library guarded nightly by Prefects, the Restricted section is a set of vast chambers, easily as big as the regular section only much more treacherous to navigate. Ghosts haunt the many halls and antechambers of the Section, some of which will attack the player if they get too close, and many of the doors are smeared with ectoplasm. Objects ranging from books to entire bookshelves may spring to life to assault those who venture here at night, some doors lock themselves, and some are heavily locked to begin with. On the GBC version of the game, the room is quite similar to the same version's previous instalment, only slightly smaller.
  • In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Library is divided into separate sections which are distributed throughout every floor of the castle, still containing a number of known secret passages concealed among their shelves.
  • In the Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince games, the Library resumes its simple layout from the films. The gate to the Restricted section is unlocked in the former game and locked in the latter.
  • Another difference in the Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince games is that the library is located on the second floor near the Charms classroom, not the first.


The Harry Potter Wiki has 84 images related to Hogwarts Library.

Notes and references

  1. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club), Harry leaves the library, walks along this corridor, walks up a staircase, and is then in a corridor around the corner from the headmaster's office. The headmaster's office is, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch), said to be on the second-floor, placing the library on the first-floor. Additionally, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady), Harry heads towards the library, changes his mind, ascends a staircase and is then on the second-floor corridor, outside of Lupin's office.
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
  6. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes) - "a banned subject at Hogwarts, you know ... Dumbledore's particularly fierce about it ..."
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)
  8. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 9 (The Vault of Fear)
  9. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, "Celestial Ball" Achievement - Part 1, Side Quest "Let the Festivities Begin!"
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Side Quest "Brush Up Your Leucrotta"
  11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
  16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 11 (The Firebolt)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (PC version)
  19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  20. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 31 (The Third Task)
  21. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
  23. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  25. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
  26. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  27. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch)
  28. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  29. Quidditch Through the Ages
  30. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) - GBC version
  31. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Side Quest "Talbott"
  32. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes), Dumbledore thought that Tom knew how to create Horcruxes, but that he just wanted to know whether it was possible to create seven because "no book could have given him that information". In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas), Hermione had taken books about Horcruxes that Dumbledore "removed", and that she would "bet Voldemort got all the instruction he needed from here". Harry agreed that it "could" be "where he got the information" but it's unconfirmed.
  33. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes) - "a banned subject at Hogwarts, you know ... Dumbledore's particularly fierce about it ..."
First-floor of Hogwarts Castle
First-Floor Girls' Toilets · Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom
Class 1 · Classroom 1A · Classroom 1C · Classroom 1D · Classroom 1E · Classroom 4F · Classroom used for storage · Classroom with maps of Great Britain and Ireland · Muggle Studies Classroom
First-floor corridor · Library corridor · Passage of the Fouls · Tapestry Corridor
Halls and rooms
Detention Chamber · East Wing · Hospital wing · Library · Rear Hall · Severus Snape's storeroom
Minerva McGonagall's office · Poppy Pomfrey's office
Other locations
Minerva McGonagall's bedroom · Stone Bridge
Portraits, statues and other artwork
Bearded man · Elizabeth Burke · Count · Fat Friar · Female nurse · Male nurse · Beaumont Marjoribanks · Hengist Rawkes · Scholar · Google Stump
Staircase to the second-floor corridor · Staircase to the Serpentine Corridor · Staircase to the library corridor