Flynn Carsen is a perpetual college student who has 22 academic degrees. Carsen’s professor kicks him out of college, telling Carsen that he lacks real life experience and needs to experience life outside of college. Carsen’s mother, Margie is constantly worried about her son and encourages him to get a job, find a bride, and be happy.
Carsen receives a mysterious invitation for an interview at the Metropolitan Public Library. Shortly after Carsen’s odd but successful interview, he is shown the true duties of his new job by a doleful library employee, Charlene, and library head Judson. The position of librarian, Carsen’s new job, is said to have existed for centuries. Its purpose is to protect historical and often magical items in a secret section of the library.
Carsen finds that the job entails more than he expected when one of three parts of the Spear of Destiny is stolen by the evil Serpent Brotherhood. Whoever has the complete Spear of Destiny will control the destiny of the entire world. Carsen must now track down the remaining two pieces of the Spear of Destiny to prevent the Serpent Brotherhood from possessing all three pieces and gaining control of the world. His only tools are his mind and a book written in a previously untranslated language called the "Language of the birds".