6.0685 Rs: Quotations about libraries (1/200)

Tue, 20 Apr 1993 11:15:35 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0685. Tuesday, 20 Apr 1993.

Date: 19 Apr 1993 17:21:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Quotations about libraries: responses

Thanks to everyone who responded to my query regarding quotations about
libraries. Several folks asked that I post responses to the list. I am
doing so, with some silent editing based on the sources I have in my
office. I would suggest that they be verified for anything more than
casual use.
>From Martin Raish, who posts quotations on his office door:

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.
-- Ray Bradbury

You must live feverishly in a library. Colleges are not going to
do any good unless you are raised and live in a library every day
of your life.
-- Ray Bradbury

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 us is steady,
unorgastic, reliable, deep and long-lasting. In any library in
the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.
-- Germaine Greer, Daddy, We Hardly Knew You (1990)

What do we, as a nation, care about books? How much do you think
we spend altogether on our libraries, public or private, as
compared with what we spend on our horses?
-- John Ruskin, 1865

I have written 240 books on a wide variety of topics. . . . Some
of it I based on education I received in my school, but most of
it was backed by other ways of learning -- chiefly in the books I
obtained in the public library.
-- Isaac Asimov

My house is a library with living rooms attached.
-- Bernard Berenson

The library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas.
-- Norman Cousins

70% of all archaeological research is done in the library.
-- Indiana Jones (in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

Our whole American way of life is a great war of ideas, and
librarians are the arms dealers selling weapons to both sides.
-- James Quinn

When the first Red Cross trucks reached a devastated, post-
revolutionary Bucharest in January 1990, people asked why no
books were among the humanitarian supplies. For information-
starved Romania, books were as important as food, medicine, or
-- Chronicle of Higher Education 37(42):B2 (3 July 1991)

My parents were teachers and they went out of their way to see to
it that I had books. We grew up in a home that was full of
books. And so I learned to read. I loved to read.
-- Alex Haley

My mother and father were illiterate immigrants from Russia.
When I was a child they were constantly amazed that I could go to
a building and take a book on any subject. They couldn't believe
this access to knowledge we have here in America. They couldn't
believe that it was free.
-- Kirk Douglas
>From John Lienhard:

My all-time favorite quotation, which I suspect lacks the punch
you want, but which embodies the sense of it all comes from Charlamagne's
tutor, Alcuin:
O quam dulcis vita fuit
dum sedabamus in quieti
. . .
inter liborum copias

Oh how sweet life was
when we sat quietly . . .
midst all these books
>From John R. Likins:
| "Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, an eighteenth century German dramatist |
| whose works I was forced to read as an undergraduate, was librar- |
| ian at the Herzogliche Bibliothek at Wolffenbuttel ... He was a |
| kind of "librarian in residence" who maintained a drafty study in |
| which he spent all day eeking out his rather tedious classical |
| dramas and avoiding the patrons as much as possible. In fact, in |
| an essay describing his library's collection, he states that he |
| has deliberately avoided publishing a list of its contents 'as it |
| would only arouse much trivial and unecessary speculation and be a |
| source of great personal inconvenience ... '" -- Betty Vogel |
| "Network: Any thing reticulated or decussated, at equal |
| distances, with interstices between the intersections." |
| --S. Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language (1755) |
| "Do I contradict myself? |
| Very well then I contradict myself, |
| (I am large, I contain multitudes.)" -- Walt Whitman |
The Betty Vogel quote is from her little on librarianship published
in Canada about 15 years ago I think...I've got it at home if you need
the exact cite. Whitman is from Song of Myself -- John
>From Brian Nielsen:

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money
will get you through times of no libraries.
[KVA's note: This quotation is by Anne Herbert, in the Whole
Earth Catalog (1969 or 70, I believe.)]
>From Michael Ossar:

The true University of these days is a collection of books.

--Thomas Carlyle
>From Thaddeus P. Bejnar:

"Books are capital." THomas Jefferson
>From Ron Grimes:

Have you tried the Quotations Database on Dialog - File 175?
One of our favorites is the Samuel Johnson quote, "Knowledge is of
two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find
information upon it." (which doesn't contain the term librar?, though).
>From Thierry van Steenberghe:

"A man will turn over half a library to make one book."
Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's _Life of
Johnson_, vol. ii, p. 344, 6 Apr. 1775
>From Ellen Sather:

"My library was dukedom large enough." William Shakespeare in "The Tempest."
From: IN%"BGRISSOM@ukcc.uky.edu"

The Library is a sphere whose exact center is any one of its
hexagons, whose circumference is unattainable.
--Jorge Luis Borges
see the fantasia by his nephew Miguel de Torre
Borges in the 4/12/93 New Yorker
>From Linda L. Scarth:

Part of the Norman Cousins quote found in the American Library Association
Bulletin, October 1954--A library...should be the delivery room for the
birth of ideas-a place where history comes to life.

A theatre-the stage is time, the play is the play of the world. Alexander

My real somewhat inappropriate favorite is - A room frought with books
and people. Fred Allen.
>From Patricia M. Andersen:

"Behind every great University is a great Library". This was
said by Tip O'Neill, July 9, 1988, ALA New Orleans, General Session.
>From Ed Morman:

I like the spirit of Ranganathan's "Five Laws of Library Science":

1. Books are for use.
2. Every reader, his book (preferably restated in gender-neutral language.)
3. Every book, its reader.
4. Save the time of the reader.
5. A library is a growing organism.
>From Joseph P. Browne:

My own favorite library quotation, which I used in a short talk at a library
dedication some 25 years ago, speaks of the importance of remembering that a
library is but a tool of scholarship, and not an end in itself. It is from
a 17th century Anglican divine:
"It is a vanity to persuade the world one hath much learning,
by getting a great library."
Thanks again to everyone who responded. I will close with an admonition,
spoken by Hercule Poirot in the television production of "The
Incredible Theft." He was trying to get his secretary to accept an
anonymous phone call; she was resisting because she could not figure out
where to file the record of the call. We librarians can take it to heart.

"Life first, filing second, Miss Lemmon!"
The suggestions for sources of quotations about libraries will follow in a
separate message.
Karl Van Ausdal vanausdalk@appstate.bitnet
Music Library vanausdalk@conrad.appstate.edu
Appalachian State University voice (704) 262-2389
fax (704) 262-6446