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A screenshot of two lecterns inside Minecraft.

Taking Inventory: Lectern

A job site you can stand behind!

It must be great being a villager. Living in a small community, looked after by a chunky iron golem, with a job for life. But which villager job would you choose if you had to pick one? The fisherman? The armorer? I think I would opt for the librarian, whose job site – the lectern – is our item of the week.

Lecterns were added by Minecraft developer Dinnerbone, who wrote on Reddit in 2012 that he’d been working for a while on a stand for written books. He had a few goes at finishing off the concept over the years, but it wasn’t until the Village & Pillage Update in 2019 that they finally made it into villagers’ lives.

Lecterns are pretty easy to craft. You’ll need four wooden slabs and a bookshelf. Throw them together in a crafting grid – three slabs on top and one on the bottom – and you’ve got yourself a lectern. You could also steal one from a village library, but why would you do something as mean as that?

Lecterns, when placed into the world, will hold a single written book or book and quill. Hold the book in your hand, aim at the lectern, and then hit the use key to place it. Once placed, using the lectern allows you to read the book. To take it out again you can left click in Bedrock Edition, or use the reading interface in Java Edition. The book will also drop if you break the lectern.

Lecterns also serve as the job site block for librarian villagers, who like to trade paper, ink and books with the player. They even sell enchanted books, so if you’re looking for a particular enchantment then they’re useful to seek out. 

Oh, and a lectern will emit a redstone pulse whenever a page is turned on the book, while a comparator will emit a signal strength that depends how far through the book a reader has reached. You could use this to play a custom note block soundtrack, or to drop TNT on the head of the reader when they get to a certain page. Up to you.

Real-world lecterns tend to be seen in just a few places – religious buildings, classrooms, and political events. They’re handy when you need to speak to a bunch of people, but want some notes in front of you. Often a lectern comes with a little light, to make it easier to read those notes.

Someone reading from a lectern is officially called a lector, and they deliver a lecture or lection (which has evolved over time to the word “lesson”). That “lec” bit comes from the latin word for “read”, which all makes a lot of sense.

The most famous lectern in the world is arguably the “Blue Goose” – the main lectern used by the President of the United States. It’s big and bulky, and that’s because it’s bulletproof – designed to be hid behind in an emergency. It also has teleprompters, a built-in microphone, and space for notes and a glass of water.

Librarian villagers, unfortunately, don’t get space for a glass of water on their lectern. So be nice and bring them a water bottle occasionally. Otherwise they’ll end up too parched for their parchments. 

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere
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