Quotations about Libraries, Books and Reading


“You see, I don’t believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.”
~~ Monty Python ~~

Children’s books are written for upbringing…but upbringing is a great thing; it decides the fate of the human being
— Vissarion Grigor’evich BELINSKII (1811-1841)

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Choruses from The Rock

A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone. 

~Jo Godwin


Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

         Richard Steele


When I step into this library, I cannot understand

why I ever step out of it. 

         Marie de Sevigne


To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.



A room without a book is like a body without a soul
— Marcus Tullius Cicero


The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one’s devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas – a place where history comes to life

— Norman COUSINS (1915- )


As a child, my number one best friend was the librarian in my grade school.  I actually believed all those books belonged to her. 

~Erma Bombeck


To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.


“In the non-stop tsunami of global information librarians provide us
with floaties and teach us to swim.”

–Linton Weeks, Washington Post, January 13, 2001

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


Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.

Henry David Thoreau


“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

 –Frederick Douglass
 The medicine chest of the soul.

 – Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

 Nutrimentum spiritus.
 (Food for the soul)
 –Inscribed over a German library

 Information is the currency of democracy.

 – Thomas Jefferson

 With one day’s reading a man may have the key in his hands.
 — Ezra Pound

 If over others you would leap, then in a book you must seek.
 — Chinese proverb

 Here is where people,
 One frequently finds, 
 Lower their voices 
 And raise their minds.
 — Richard Armour

 I cannot live without books.
 –Thomas Jefferson

 “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

 A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
 –Chinese Proverb

 Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
 –Mortimer J. Adler
 Books are the quietest and most constant of friends:
 they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors,
 and the most patient of teachers.
 –Charles W. Eliot

 The more that you read,
 the more things you will know.
 The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.
 –Dr. Seuss

 Words are the voice of the heart.

 Books to the ceiling,
 Books to the sky,
 My pile of books is a mile high.
 How I love them! How I need them!
 I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them
 –Arnold Lobel

 Wisdom begins with Wonder…

 At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.
 –Barack Obama

 Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.
 –Harper Lee
 To Kill a Mockingbird

 I read because one life isn’t enough.
 –Richard Peck

 What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.
 –Harold Howe, former US Commissioner of Education

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

 The closest thing you will find to an orderly universe is a good library.
 –Ashleigh Brilliant

 Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own. 

–Charles Scribner, Jr.

 So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, 
 Go throw your TV set away, 
 And in its place you can install 
 A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
            –Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 A library is thought in cold storage.

  –Herbert Samuel

 He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing.

 A library is a fuelling station for your mind. 

–Steve Leveen

 Books fall open, you fall in.

 –David McCord

 I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking something up and finding something else on the way.

–Franklin P. Adams

  A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.
                              –Henry Ward Beecher
 Libraries enable the past to talk to the future.
                                    –Edward Cornish

 Reading is a window to the world!
                                                           –Lynn Butler

 “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” 
 Jorge Luis Borges
 Knowledge is Power

–Francois Bacon

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” 

— Mahatma Gandhi

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
 –Groucho Marx (1895-1977)

 “It was as though I had been dying of thirst and the librarian had handed me a five gallon bucket of water.  I drank and drank.  The only reason I am here and not in prison is because of that woman.  I was a loser, but she showed me the power of reading.”
 –Gary Paulsen, from the biography by Edith Hope Fine
 When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.
–Jean Fritz

 I have lived a thousand lives lost within the pages of a book.
                                       -Robert Cormier

 “Give me a room whose every nook is dedicated to a book.”
–Frank Dempster Sherman

 In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends.
 — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “I go into my library, and all history unrolls before me. I
 breathe the morning air of the world while the scent of Eden’s roses yet lingered in it, while it vibrated only to the world’s first brood of nightingales, and to the laugh of Eve. I see the pyramids building; I hear the shoutings of the armies of Alexander.”
–from “Books and Gardens” by Alexander Smith
 “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.”
 –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 “A life without stories would be no life at all.” 

–from Alexander McCall Smith’s, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies.

“Knowledge is of two kinds: that which we know and…,
 –Samuel Johnson

 Knowledge is free at the library.  Just bring your own container.
 Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
 –Richard Steele

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild & precious life?
–Mary Oliver

If you want your children to be brilliant,

read them fairly tales.

If you want them to be geniuses,

read them more fairy tales.

Albert Einstein

‘Children, don’t speak so coarsely,’ said Mr Webster, who had a vague notion that some supervision should be exercised over his daughters’ speech, and that a line should be drawn, but never knew quite when to draw it. He had allowed his daughters to use his library without restraint, and nothing is more fatal to maidenly delicacy of speech than the run of a good library.
— Tempest Tost
Robertson DAVIES

“We cannot have good libraries until we first have good librarians — properly educated, professionally recognized, and fairly rewarded.”
Herbert S. White
(Library Journal column, 15 November 1999, pp. 44-45)

I can now do personal research online. Am I more productive than if I had to go to the library? Of course, I am.

Andy Grove,

Only the Productive Survive, Forbes ASAP, December 1, 1997

“Information isn’t powerful. Information isn’t power. … Hey, who’s got the most information? Librarians do! It’s hard to imagine a group of people with less power than librarians.

John Brockman,

Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite 280 (1996)

“You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.”
 Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
(Good Will Hunting)

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