Metro Wiki

The subject of this article appears in the Metro 2033 novel. The subject of this article appears in the Metro 2033 video game. The subject of this article appears in the Metro Last Light video game. The subject of this article appears in the Faction Pack DLC for Metro Last Light. The subject of this article appears in the Tower Pack DLC for Metro Last Light.

Listen, Artyom, librarians are some of the most dangerous creatures out here. If you meet one, or two God forbid, don't fight it; but don't run from it, either. The beasts won't attack if you look them in the eye. Remember: never let them out of your sight. Show them your back, you die! If a beast gets nervous, move away, but slowly. And if you shoot... well, look or don't look, you won't see anything ever again.

— Miller explaining Librarians to Artyom

Librarians (Russian: Библиотекари) are huge, quasi-intelligent creatures so named by the metro dwellers due to their habitat - the Moscow State Library. Only encountered in a select section of the book and later in the games, they are some of the most powerful and frightening enemies Artyom will have to face in Metro 2033.

They serve as the climax enemy for the Ranger Trainee in Last Light's DLC level: Kshatriya. They also appear in Last Light's Tower Pack, in the final simulation area, where three are fought separately.


In both canons, librarians are much less deformed than other mutants of the Metro, resembling ordinary gorillas in both posture and overall physical appearance, though they are much larger and have longer and thinner arms. In the game however, they have a fearsome visage, as their faces, somewhat humanoid, have one lip that covers their shark-like teeth and snout. This is caused by the nose and upper lip of their human progenitors fusing over successive generations. They are very territorial and will confront anything that appears to be a threat. They show signs of aggression by roaring and raising their upper lip, showing their teeth as a deterrent like most modern primates do. They are so powerful and territorial that they will even fight a demon if it enters the Library.

Notorious for being some of the most dangerous monsters that inhabit the wastes of Moscow, librarians are very difficult enemies, resilient enough to withstand multiple point-blank shots even from one of the powerful weapons like the Duplet, and whose attacks can kill Artyom and the Stalker of Kshatriya with a few quick vicious sweeps. They are quite agile and capable of performing high jumps through the building despite their size, and most importantly they have enormous physical strength, at least somewhat on par with the demons, and more than enough to tear apart a human being with their elongated fingers and claws. They are one of, if not, the most intelligent mutants found in the surface of Moscow.

They also appear to be omnivorous as they have cultivated large amounts of plants in several areas around the Library. Librarians' place in the apocalyptic Moscow ecology is entirely unknown, given their rather reclusive behaviour. However, due to the fact that librarians are some of the few mutants that have the capacity and power of actively battling demons, their position is likely that of apex predators—similar to pre-war humans.


Librarians have a somewhat low level of intelligence that can be compared to a gorilla. Aside from humans and the Dark Ones, however, they are one of the most intelligent creatures still alive. Librarians have unique abilities that come from the fact that they are mutated primates. They can memorize small pieces of literature, place traps, and are even capable of semi-communication in the form of creating a temporary neutrality only by staring a human in the eye. Aside from this, the Librarians' intelligence is largely undiscovered and remain almost unknown. In Metro: Last Light, Bar and Su can be heard talking about one librarian that can apparently utter short sentences about overdue books and is an albino. In the novel, a librarian that had just killed Daniel mimics Artyom's speech, and presumably said "Go away!". It's implied that the librarian said this on purpose, but may have just been mimicry.

Despite showing extremely aggressive behaviour when encountered and confronted by humans, librarians seem to be reclusive in nature - actively avoiding confrontation whenever it is possible. Unlike any other mutants like demons, watchers, and lurkers, the librarians don't seem to actively hunt, spread, and invade other biomes/habitats; they tend to remain in their place, similar to most humans in the metro, who actively avoid several other stations and the surface. This might indicate librarians, similar to humanimals, are human in origin (though clearly much more intelligent than the former). Gorillas, however, are also known for their reclusive nature and sheer strength. Conversely, the possibility of the librarian being of human origin is easily validated considering that there is no known primate, even in the Hominidae genus, has ever developed the ability of having considerable language to speech, and librarians are known to have the ability to speak (or at least mimic speech).

Metro 2033[]

Common Librarian[]

Common librarians are covered in gray skin and are found only in the Moscow State Library. These librarians are more passive than black librarians. Artyom can prove that he is no threat by standing his ground and staring it down until it walks away. If Artyom turns his back on one, however, it will take its chance to attack and if Artyom attacks one it will not relent unless killed.

Black Librarian[]

These librarians are only found underground. They are often found sleeping in nests of torn-up books and can still be stared down or avoided. They are more aggressive but have the same health.

Metro: Last Light[]

Librarians aren't encountered in the standard Metro: Last Light campaign, but make an appearance in The Faction Pack DLC. They are encountered after passing through a heavily irradiated area with a single demon, in the location where Artyom first directly encountered them in Metro 2033.

The librarians of Last Light's Faction Pack partially differ in physical stature to their 2033 counterparts. While before the librarian held similarities to that of a massive gorilla, never before has the comparison been more accurate. The librarians in Metro: Last Light are thicker in size, in particular to the arm and torso, and, keeping in step with the nuclear spring, are slightly browner in coloration. They also display the distinctly gorilla-like behaviour of beating their chests as a sign of aggression toward the Stalker.

Gameplay wise, librarians appear to have undergone moderate changes—mostly to make them more manageable "glass-cannon" sort of enemies when the player character's equipment is minimal. Staring down a librarian, once a tactic that required some skill and patience, is now a far more automatic feature of the seemingly less-aggressive librarians. This is exemplified in that librarians now have a tendency to flee mid-combat, only to return moments later in varying levels of hostility. This can sometimes lead to moments in which they are able to be stared down, even after taking considerable damage. To further make them easier enemies, librarians cannot only be completely bypassed by sneaking, but don't hold up tremendously well under fire. Direct hits to the librarian's skull have a low, but very notable chance of stumbling the creatures and, though they still retain a considerable level of health, have been recorded as taking as little as three shots from a Shambler on Ranger Hardcore to be killed. On the other hand, it can take as many as twenty shots to kill one on Normal mode with the same weapon. Perhaps to counter this, the librarians in the Faction Pack have tremendous damage output, rivaling if not surpassing those of 2033. Even if armoured, a good hit or two is enough to kill the stalker on the Ranger difficulties.

In the Tower Pack that was released on September 3rd, they can be fought in the final simulation area. Here, the player goes against 3 but separately. It is recommended they should be fought with spawned teammates and using the placed mini-gun. But players should be careful as numerous nosalises' may swarm while fighting against the librarians.


Staring Down[]

All librarians in Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light have been tested, and can all be stared down with enough practice, skill, and luck. Artyom or the Ranger Trainee can avoid combat with every librarian by following Miller's advice and staring them down; stare into one's eyes long enough and it will back down and retreat for a short period.

Librarians are not set off by the readying, aiming, or holstering of a weapon, nor by the raising of the watch but taking the gas mask on or off while staring at them will usually break eye contact.

When engaging a librarian of any variety, the approach is vital—it's best that Artyom start the encounter at a safe distance and on the terms of the player character. Advanced players of Metro 2033 will find situations easier to predict and control, and thus, easier to manage when they are intentionally walking down certain corridors with viewpoints ready for an oncoming librarian, or intentionally stepping on glass or bone while turned to a single librarian.

Proximity is also key when handling a librarian. Artyom should never be closer than a meter to the librarian, lest risk attack. Conversely, he should never be too far—further than around three meters—or risk it approaching him, a danger for the two ending up too close together. If the librarian gets nervous it will walk towards whatever it feels threatening, Miller advises taking a step or two back or risk turning it hostile.

It's good to keep in mind that after being stared down, the Librarian will proceed to the nearest opening (these usually being holes in the overall structure or openable doors) to leave the room were the player character is. During this, Artyom must keep the eye contact with the beast until it leaves the room entirely or else the librarian will simply turn back and attack Artyom anyway. Beyond that, if the nearest exit is near the player, the librarian will walk to it anyway, making it possible for the beast get close enough to the Artyom to cause it to go hostile, thus making it a good idea to move away from the exit while keeping eye contact.

Similar strategies can be applied to the black librarians of Metro 2033. Staring them down is very possible, though players report the rules of engagement for black librarians to be much "stricter" than those of the common librarian, as these are more hostile in nature. Constant eye-contact is a must, and movement should be pre-planned. For sleeping librarians, stealth (or sneak attacks in Metro: Last Light) is the best tactic, but if Artyom or the Stalker is wearing the heavy armour, or he has awoken them, he cannot sneak past them, and will have to fight or run.


Point-blank shots to the head from shotguns, MGR-loaded rifles, or pneumatic weapons are effective against these beasts. Polis is the final shop in the game, so MGR have no retail use after this point.

The best weapon to use on Ranger Hardcore is the Helsing as it's very accurate, taking aim and firing at the head while over-pressurized will kill one in two bolts, which can be retrieved afterwards. One can kill a Librarian by firing roughly 4-5 shots to the head from a fully charged Hellbreath .

The easiest weapon to use in Metro 2033 is the Heavy Automatic Shotgun. Five to six consecutive headshots are sufficient in Ranger Hardcore difficulty. Another strategy is if Artyom is wearing the heavy armour and does not have the heavy automatic shotgun, the automatic shotgun is another sound solution as long as you aim for the head.

Another ammo-saving, viable, and highly effective strategy is to use the throwing knives, as their extremely high damage in Ranger difficulty allows for the use of a one-two attack on the librarians; first during the initial stare-down straight to their faces, and then a follow-up as they recoil from the first attack. A maximum of 3-4 knives anywhere are required to take one down, but using the aforementioned tactic can reduce that to only two.

If one does not wish to chance losing their throwing knives due to possibly missing and having it go in an inaccessible area, sticking the beast with 2 sticky grenades will kill it with ease. It is advised to make sure one has ample room to run before throwing them, as the librarian will begin to chase Artyom with the grenade still attached, bringing the blast radius with it, and should it initiate a Quick-Time Event, the Librarian will be rendered immune to damage during the prompt effectively wasting the grenades.

In the Novel[]

Librarians are one of the enemies Artyom actually encounters face to face in the book. They quickly attack Artyom, Melnik, Ten, and Daniel when they enter the main hall of the library. They are described identically to their appearance in the game (however, the game model lacks the pointed ears). Black librarians, or any other variation, however, are not encountered. Librarians are depicted as quasi-sentient creatures that hunt and move in packs of two or more individuals. Also, they are intelligent enough to imitate human speech with frightening accuracy, though whether they understand what they are saying or not is unknown. This could suggest that librarians were ordinary human beings before the destruction of Moscow, and that the severe irradiation of the city drastically mutated them. Later, Daniel is killed by a librarian sticking its claw through his stomach from behind. When Daniel then talks, the librarian mimics the words, and then starts mixing them and tells Artyom to "go away"—suggesting librarians retain a high level of intelligence. Librarians are also fond of growing huge plants as a form of agriculture in the novel, again suggesting high-intelligence. Unlike the game, librarians also venture outside into the Library courtyard but still they go no further than this.

Related Achievements/Trophies[]

Metro 2033[]

Ach-Heavy Reader.jpg Heavy Reader 20 Game points.png
Kill a librarian

Metro 2033 Redux[]

HeavyReaderR.jpg Heavy Reader Bronze Trophy - 10 Game points.png
Kill a Librarian


  • Another notable, perhaps intelligent, action performed by a librarian was placing ammo near a hole in the wall as a trap. If Artyom attempted to grab the ammo, it would grab Artyom through the wall and attempt to kill him. This can be avoided by not grabbing the ammo before going to the other side of the wall. The librarian will retreat after he reaches the other side of the wall, and the ammo can be looted.
    • This happens again in the Faction Pack DLC, when retrieving the balalaika in the same location. The exact animations from the previous game are used again for this scene. This is likely to be a throw-back for series fans.
      • On another note, unlike in the previous game, this encounter cannot be avoided by going to the other side of the wall. Even killing the librarian walking around the area just causes another librarian to immediately spawn and warp to the position after triggering this encounter.
    • The same scare tactic is used in Undercity, though by a nosalis instead of a librarian.
  • Another sign of intelligence allegedly shown by at least one librarian is the ability to read passages of text and mentally process them into speech. As they rest in the hub during Kshatriya, Bar and Su may be heard discussing rumors they apparently heard from Shaman (who they seem to consider to be a reliable source) regarding sightings of an albino librarian overheard talking to itself about overdue books and fines, words which could easily be found in pre-war documents scattered around the library it lives in.
  • Besides the błotniak, the librarian is one of the few known instances of semi-intelligent mutants in the Metro Series.
  • Librarian-like mutants called blind ones appear in the game Metro Exodus. The large, robust beings bear a slight resemblance to librarians, except with a more gorilla-like appearance, possessing somewhat telepathic capabilities that are similar to the Dark Ones, and a complete lack of eyes. It's unknown if they are a derivative variant of the librarian or a wholly different species with little to no connection.
  • If librarians did in fact mutate from gorillas, it's rather odd that staring them down is effective. In fact, this is one of the few ways one can incur the wrath of normally peaceful gorillas, since they consider this a challenge.