Favorite Library Quotes

A library is also a place where love begins.
(Rudolpho Anaya. From: "In Commemoration," in The Magic of Words)

And the smell of the library was always the same - the musty odour of old clothes mixed with the keener scent of unwashed bodies, creating what the chief librarian had once described as 'the steam of the social soup.'
(Peter Ackroyd, English writer. From: Chatteron, chapter 5)

The best of my education has come from the public library ... my tuition fee is a bus fare and once in a while, five cents a day for an overdue book. You don't need to know very much to start with, if you know the way to the public library.
(Lesley Conger)

[Describing his house:] It is a library with living rooms attached.
(Bernard Berenson)

Great libraries have always looked to both the future and the past.
(Laura Shapiro. From: Newsweek, 10-21-96, p. 86)

I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book. ANOTHER VERSION I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. ANOTHER VERSION I find television very educational. Every time someone turns it on, I go in the other room and read a book.
(Groucho Marx)

If information is the currency of democracy, then libraries are its banks.
(Wendell H. Ford, U.S. Senator, Kentucky, 1974-1998. From: 1998 American Library Association Conference, Washington, DC)

If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in a library?
(Lily Tomlin)

If we didn't have libraries, many people thirsty for knowledge would dehydrate.
(Megan Jo Tetrick, age 12, Daleville, Indiana)

If you're rich you can buy books. If you're poor, you need a library.
(John Kenneth Galbraith)

In early days, I tried not to give librarians any trouble, which was where I made my primary mistake. Librarians like to be given trouble; they exist for it, they are geared to it. For the location of a mislaid volume, an uncatalogued item, your good librarian has a ferret's nose. Give her a scent and she jumps the leash, her eye bright with battle.
(Catherine Drinker Bowen. From: Adventures of a Biographer, ch. 9. 1959)

In the library I discovered that you could learn by following your nose. And I learned that a book was as close to a living thing as you could get without being one.
(Bill Harley. From: Memories of Mrs. Bergeson)

In the library, one often finds people close their mouths and open their minds!

In times of change, it is the learners who will inherit the earth, while the learned will find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists. Libraries are for learners. ANOTHER VERSION In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
(Al Rogers)

Librarians are almost always very helpful and often almost absurdly knowledgeable. Their skills are probably very underestimated and largely underemployed.
(Charles Medawar. From: The Social Audit Consumer Handbook, Macmillan, 1978, p. 41)

Librarians are the secret masters of the universe. They control the knowledge. Don't piss them off. ANOTHER VERSION Mary Kay is one of the secret masters of the world: a librarian. They control information. Don't ever piss one off.
(Spider Robinson, science fiction author. From: The Callahan Touch)

Libraries are not made; they grow.
(Augustine Birrell. From: Obiter Dicta. Book Buying)

Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark. The pleasure they give is steady, unorgastic, reliable, deep and long-lasting. In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.
(Germaine Greer. From: Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, "Still in Melbourne, January 1987," 1989)

Libraries are starting places for the adventure of learning that can go on whatever one's vocation and location in life. Reading is an adventure like that of discovery itself. Libraries are our base camp.
(James H. Billington)

[Libraries:] Here is where people, One frequently finds, Lower their voices And raise their minds.
(Richard Armour. From: Light Armour. McGraw-Hill, 1954)

Libraries ... those temples of learning, those granite-and-marble monuments
(Susan Allen Toth. From: Reading Rooms)

Libraries, which are as the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.
(Francis Bacon)

The library is a place where most of the things I came to value as an adult had their beginnings.
(Pete Hamill. From: D'Artaganan on Ninth Street)

The library is a temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars of history.
(Carl Rowan)

A library is books and somewhere to put them and some people who want them there.
(Sheila Bourbeau. From: Historical Society of Cotuit)

A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.
(Henry Ward Beecher)

The library is perhaps the best antidote to the insidous influence of the suburban shopping mall. As responsible citizens, we need to give the young a chance to choose between a video arcade and a reading place, a chance to browse in a marketplace of ideas instead of a marketplace of goods and services.
(Sonny Yap)

A library ... is the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life.
(Norman Cousins. From: quoted in ALA Bulletin, October 1954, p. 475)

The Library is the Heart of the University.
(Charles W. Eliot)

The library profession is ... a profession that is informed, illuminated, radiated by a fierce and beautiful love of books. A love so overwhelming that it engulfs community after community and makes the culture of our time distinctive, individual, creative and truly of the spirit.
(Frances Clark Sayers. From: quoted in The Reader's Quotation Book)

My alma mater was books, a good library .. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.
(Malcolm X. From: The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965)

My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.
(Pete Golkin, Arlington, Virginia)

Our libraries are not cloisters for an elite. They are for the people, and if they are not used, the fault belongs to those who do not take advantage of their wealth.
(Louis Dearborn L'Amour. From: Education of a Wandering Man)

Our libraries create dreams. If you take away the libraries, you take America's dreams away.
(Ilker Turgun, Keansburg, NJ)

People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.
(Saul Bellow. From: Quoted in The Reader's Quotation Book)

The reflections and histories of men and women throughout the world are contained in books... America's greatness is not only recorded in books, but it is also dependent upon each and every citizen being able to utilize public libraries.
(Terence Cooke)

The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library. You can measure the awareness, the breadth and the wisdom of a civilization, a nation, a people by the priority given to preserving these repositories of all that we are, all that we were, or will be. Our libraries are being eroded alarmingly by inflation. It behooves us - all of us - to stop the rot by the application of that prime preserver - money.
(Malcolm Forbes. From: 1981)

[said of a library] There were many hours when I never quite know how I'd gotten there or why I stayed.
(Philip Roth. From: Goodbye Columbus)

[said of a library] To use it should be as natural ... as to use the trolley when one needs transportation.
(John Cotton Dana. From: Libraries: Addresses and Essays)

Some kids go to the library ... Others to the street. But they can't go tothe libraries if the libraries are closed.
(Officer Dombranski, NYPD)

The student has his Rome, his Florence, his whole glowing Italy, within the four walls of his library. He has in his books the ruin of an antique world, and the glories of a modern one.
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

...the studious silence of the library ... Tranquil brightness.
(James Joyce. From: Ulysses)

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.
(Andrew Carnegie)

There is such seduction in a library of good books that I cannot resist the temptation to luxuriate in reading.
(John Quincy Adams)

There was one place where I could find out who I was and what I was going to become. And that was the Public Library.
(Jerzy Kosinski. From: Testimonials (for the New York Public Library))

They go in [to the library] not because they need any certain volume but because they feel that there may be some book that needs them.
(Christopher Morley. From: Pipefuls)

Throughout my formal education I spent many, many hours in public and school libraries. Libraries became courts of last resort, as it were. The current definitive answer to almost any question can be found within the four walls of most libraries.
(Arthur Ashe. From: Library News, #5, Winter 1982, p. 1)

To my thinking, a great librarian must have a clear head, a strong hand, and above all, a great heart ... and I am inclined to think that most of the men who will achieve this greatness will be women.
(Melvil Dewey. From: Libraries in America)

When I enter a Library ... I still have a reassuring sense that it is going to tell me all I need to know.
(Susan Allen Toth. From: Reading Rooms)

When I got my library card, that's when my life began.
(Rita Mae Brown. From: Quoted in The Readers Quotation Book)

When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it.
(Marie De Sevigne)

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This site last updated: July 2, 2001