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Libraries

  • To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions — there we have none.

    • Virginia Woolf,
    • "How Should One Read a Book?," The Common Reader, 2nd series ()
  • I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.

  • 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,
    • letter to the American Library Association ()
  • ... invaders always destroy libraries.

  • The memory of man could not go back to a time when that town had not had a public library. It was the pride of the remote village, lost among the Green Mountains, that long before Carnegie ever left Scotland there had been a collection of books free to all in the wing of Deacon Bradlaugh's house. Then as now the feat was achieved by the united efforts of all inhabitants.

  • Libraries are the vessels in which the seed corn for the future is stored.

  • Freedom is a public library.

    • Paula Fox,
    • interview with Radhika Jones, "Borrowed Finery," Bookforum ()
  • ... when I enter a library, even a commonplace one, I still have a reassuring sense that it is going to tell me all I need to know.

    • Susan Allen Toth,
    • in Susan Allen Toth and John Coughlan, eds., Reading Rooms ()
  • Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library.

  • ... librarianship ... 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.

  • I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.

  • The library was a little old shabby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church.

  • ... children's reading, unlike that of adults, is conditioned by what is at hand.

    • Lillian H. Smith,
    • "The Library's Responsibility to the Child," in Emily Miller Danton, ed., The Library of Tomorrow ()
  • ... librarianship is one of the few callings in the world for which is it still possible to feel unqualified admiration and respect.

  • I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library. I wanted to become a writer so I could have my name in the card catalog.

  • 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.

  • When I ... discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.

    • Jean Fritz,
    • in Diane Asséo Griliches, For the Love of Libraries ()
  • With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one — but no one at all — can tell you what to read and when and how.

  • Public libraries are among Britain's most enlightened achievements. We have grown, rightly, to take them for granted as part of our birthright. They are the bedrock of a culture whose greatest pride is its literature ... Closing a library would have been unthinkable ten years ago. Now a richer society can't support it. Something is seriously wrong.

  • It was the best sort of miracle, the kind that happens when the heat outside is blistering or when a storm is brewing; when everything in your life is out of your control. It happens when you are eight, or ten, or twelve, at the moment when you discover that when you walk into the library you have complete freedom. You can leave your world behind and enter into any book you select. Here, where there is quiet, there are, at last, choices to be made. No one will tell you what you can and cannot imagine. I think now that I would not have survived my childhood if not for those walks to the library. Books were the true miracle in my life, my salavation and my ticket out — a blessing I'm grateful for every single day. Nothing is as intimate, as healing, as private as a book.

    • Alice Hoffman,
    • "Nothing Is As Healing As a Book," in Tonya Bolden, 33 Things Every Girl Should Know ()
  • A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft, and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.

  • 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, unorgiastic, reliable, deep and long-lasting. In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.

  • I went to the library. They gave you books for nothing. You had to bring them, back, but when you did, they let you take others.

  • For many, the public library is the only quiet place in an unquiet world; a refuge from the violence and ugliness outside; the only space available for privacy of work or thought. For many it is the only exposure to books waiting on open shelves to be taken home, free of charge. As a former student put it, 'in a liberry, it's hard to avoid reading.'

  • Whenever I entered the high-ceilinged, hushed interior of that library I felt a sense of awe but also felt comfortable, happy and secure. Sunlight slanting through the windows created shadowy nooks in the corners. The smell of the shiny, waxed terrazzo floors mingled with the dusty aroma of books. The library became a second home to me. To this day, I still have that feeling whenever I enter a library.

  • There are no outsiders in a library.

    • Kathleen Eagle,
    • "The Outsider," in Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald, eds., The Most Wonderful Books ()
  • Perhaps no place in any community is so democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.

    • Lady Bird Johnson,
    • in William R. Evans III and Andrew Frothingham, eds., Crisp Toasts ()
  • This is my guess: If we could poll every writer writing today, an enormous percentage of them would say, 'It all began for me at the public library ... ' In fact, I don't know where else it could begin.

    • Robin Swicord,
    • in Anne Safran Dalin and Nancy Davis, eds., Creme de la Femme ()
  • Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.

  • If librarianship is the connecting of people to ideas — and I believe that is the truest definition of what we do — it is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas.

    • GraceAnne A. DeCandido,
    • "Technology Is the Campfire Around Which We Tell Our Stories," in Tatyana Eckstrand, ed., The Librarian's Book of Quotes ()
  • A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.

    • Jo Godwin,
    • in Helen R. Adams, Ensuring Intellectual Freedom and Access to Information in the School Library Media Program ()
  • Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is getting awfully expensive to seek at the mall; at the library it can be had for free.

    • Mimi Kennedy,
    • letter to the American Library Association ()
  • Public libraries are our great teachers and storytellers, and are a vital adjunct to our schools. In this day of standardized and homogenized education, a library offers individual and personalized learning opportunities second to none.

  • A library is a place where you can lose your innocence without losing your virginity.

    • Germaine Greer,
    • quoted by Bob Mondello, "Libraries' Leading Roles," All Things Considered ()
  • ... stereotypes are awfully misleading. There are typical librarians, but not all librarians are typical.

  • I have always thought that librarians are a little bit like doctors, travel agents and professors all rolled into one. We all know that a great story can lift spirits, take you anywhere in the world you want to go and in any time period to boot, and the lessons you learn from a good book can buoy your own convictions and even change your life.

  • The feel of libraries — the way they look, feel, smell, sound — lingers intensely as the memories of a fierce first love.

    • Susan Allen Toth,
    • in Susan Allen Toth, ed., Reading Rooms: America's Foremost Writers Celebrate Our Public Libraries With Stories, Essays, Poems, and Memoirs ()
  • Library-denigrators, pay heed: suggesting that the Internet is a viable substitute for libraries is like saying porn could replace your wife.

  • It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy, and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed. If you haven't been to your library lately, you're over-due.

  • ... the Newark Public Library ... was a library palace, a bibliophilic dream come true. I would have liked to have moved in.

    • Katherine Hall Page,
    • "Research Can Be Murder," in Bruce Joshua Miller, ed., Curiosity's Cats: Writers on Research ()
  • Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets. They don't exist, I always said. I was wrong. Magic carpets do exist. But they are called library cards.