"Tis not knowing much, but what is useful, that makes a wise man."

Thomas Fuller
 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famous Library and Librarian Quotations

  boy reading a book

 

Library / Book Collection

The true university these days is a collection of books.
- Thomas Carlyle

Make thy books thy companions. Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure grounds and gardens.
-
Judah ibn-Tibbon (12th century)

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

Libraries are as the shrine where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.
- Bacon

Give thy mind to books and libraries, and the literature and lore of the ages will give thee the wisdom of sage and seer.
- Newell D. Hillis

I go into my library and all history unrolls before me.
-
Alexander Smith

A library of wisdom, then, is more precious than all wealth, and all things that are desirable cannot be compared to it.
- Richard de Bury

It is, however, not to the museum, or the lecture-room, or the drawing-school, but to the library, that we must go for the completion of our humanity. It is books that bear from age to age the intellectual wealth of the world.
- Owen Meredith, from Inspirational Quotes About Libraries, Librarians and Book Collections

The only true equalisers in the world are books; the only treasure-house open to all comers is a library; the only wealth which will not decay is knowledge; the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom.
- J. A. Langford

No furniture so charming as books.
-
Sydney Smith

Medicine for the soul.
- Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.
- Lady Bird Johnson

And even should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the science and libraries of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them.
- Thomas Jefferson

A great library contains the diary of the human race.
- G. Dawson

A library is thought in cold storage.
-
Herbert Samuel

Libraries are not made; they grow.
- Augustine Birrell

Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.
-
Augustine Birrell

Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library.
- Barbara Tuchman

My library
Was dukedom large enough.
- Shakespeare, The Tempest

Your library is your portrait.
-
Holbrook Jackson

They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.
- William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost

A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge! It blossoms through the year!
- Richard Brainsley Sheridan

Knowing I lov'd my books, he furnish'd me,
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.
- Shakespeare, The Tempest

No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.
- Samuel Johnson

I myself spent hours in the Columbia library as intimidated and embarrassed as a famished gourmet invited to a dream restaurant where every dish from all of the world's cuisines, past and present, was available on request.
- Luigi Barzini

Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.
- Virginia Woolf

But what can a man see of a library being one day in it?
- James Boswell

The dissemination of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of civilization.
- John F. Budd

The man who has a library of his own collection is able to contemplate himself objectively, and is justified in believing in his own existence.
- Augustine Birrell

What is a great love of books? It is something like a personal introduction to the great and good men of all past times. Books, it is true, are silent as you see them on their shelves; but, silent as they are, when I enter a library I feel as if almost the dead were present, and I know if I put questions to these books they will answer me with all the faithfulness and fulness which has been left in them by the great men who have left the books with us.
- John Bright

Come, and take choice of all my library,
And so beguile thy sorrow.
- William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus

He that revels in a well-chosen library has inumerable dishes, and all of admirable flavor.
- William Godwin

It is impossible to enter a large library... without feeling an inward sensation of reverence, and without catching some sparks of noble emulation, from the mass of mind which is scattered around you.
- James Crossley

Books

If minds are truly alive they will seek out books, for books are the human race recounting its memorable experiences, confronting its problems, searching for solutions, drawing the blueprints of it futures.
- Harry A. Overstreet
boy looking at a book

All that mankind has done, though, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.
- Thomas Carlyle

The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead.
- Clarence Day

I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now -- only that place where the books are kept.
- John Steinbeck

Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.
- Edwin P. Whipple

The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world of disasters.
- Ross MacDonald

I like books. I was born and bred among them, and have the easy feeling, when I get in their presence, that a stable-boy has among horses.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

A good book is the best of friends.
-
English Proverb

The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is by easy reading: but a great book that comes from a great thinker-- it is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and with beauty.
- Theodore Parker

Books are the ever burning lamps of accumulated wisdom.
- George William Curtis

Reading

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
- Mark Twain

The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
- Descartes
child reading

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.
- Logan Pearsall Smith

The great objection to new books is that they prevent our reading old ones. - Joseph Joubert

In reading, as in eating, an appetite is half the feast.
- Anonymous

Love of reading enables a man to exchange the weary hours, which come to every one, for hours of delight.
- Baron Montesquieu

All that we have read and learned, all that has occupied and interested us in the thoughts and deeds of men abler or wiser than ourselves, constitutes at last a spiritual society of which we can never be deprived, for it rests in the heart and soul of the man who has acquired it.
- Philip Gilbert Hamilton

If I had read as much as other men I would have known no more than they.
- Thomas Hobbes

Reading to kids is to ordinary reading what jazz is to a string quartet. - Sean Wilentz, Reader's Quotation Book from Cool Quotes About Libraries Books and Knowledge

 

Recommended Book Lists

The fact of knowing how to read is nothing, the whole point is knowing what to read.
- Jacques Ellul

Show me the books he loves and I shall know / The man far better than through mortal friends.
- S. Weir Mitchell

People will not be better than the books they read.
- Bishop Potter

If we encounter a man of great intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reading a poor book is an opportunity lost of reading a good one.
- Anonymous

One sure window into a person's soul is his reading list.
- Mary B. W. Tabor

You must linger among a limited number of master-thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.
- Seneca

A small number of choice books are sufficient.
- Voltaire

It is not the reading of many books which is necessary to make a man wise or good; but well reading of a few.
- Richard Baxter

It is with books as it is with men -- a very small number play a great part; the rest are lost in the multitude.
- Voltaire

We should accustom the mind to keep the best company by introducing it to only the best books.
- Sydney Smith

Choose an author as you would a friend.
- Wentworth Dillon

Let us read thoughtfully; this is a great secret in the right use of books.
- George Gilfillan

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
- Henry David Thoreau
  man behind stack of books

Indiscriminate reading is unprofitable to the mind.
- Latin Proverb

Books like friends, should be few and well-chosen. Like friends, too, we should return to them again and again -- for like true friends, they will never fail us -- never cease to instruct -- never cloy.
- Joineriana

Be as careful of the books you read as the company you keep.
- Paxton Hood

 

Finding Information

He is wise who knows the sources of knowledge -- where it is written and where it is to be found.
- A.A. Hodge

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

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
- Samuel Johnson

One must spend time in gathering knowledge to give it out richly.
- Edmund Clarence Stedman

Research means that you don't know, but are willing to find out.
- Charles F. Kettering

As you grow ready for it, somewhere or other you will find what is needful for you in a book.
- George MacDonald

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.
-
Benjamin Disraeli

To know where you can find anything, that in short is the largest part of learning.
- Anonymous

With the enormous and steady increase in the volume of our literature, we must rely more and more upon sympathetic selection, judicious editing, and the indexer who knows where to exercise discretion. Any simpleton can write a book, but it requires high skill to make an index.
- Rossiter Johnson

Censorship

Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go into your library and read every book.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.
- Walt Whitman

In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.
- Alfred Whitney Griswold

"There is no book so bad,” said the bachelor, “but something good may be found in it.
- Cervantes, Don Quixote

You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Censorship, like charity, should begin at home: but unlike charity, it should end there.
-
Claire Booth Luce

Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
- Potter Stewart

Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.
- William Westmoreland

A wicked book is the wickeder because it cannot repent.
- English Proverb

To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves.
- Claude Adrien Helvetius

Whoever would do good in the world, ought not to deal in censure. We ought not to destroy, but rather construct.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Funny Library Sayings

A book may be compared to your neighbor; if it be good, it cannot last too long; if bad, you cannot get rid of it too early.
-
Henry Brooke

Book lovers never go to bed alone.
- Unknown

There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.
- Rex Stout

Seventy million books in America's libraries, but the one you want to read is always out.
- Tom Masson

"Classic": A book which people praise but don't read.
- Mark Twain

Knowledge is free at the library. Just bring your own container.
- Unknown

Book -- what they make a movie out of for television.
- Leonard Louis Levinson

On how many people's libraries, as on bottles from the drugstore, one might write: "For external use only."
-
Unknown

Borrowing Books

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other people have lent me.
- Anatole France

Borrowers of books -- those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes.
- Charles Lamb

The reason why borrowed books are seldom returned, is that it is easier to retain books themselves than what is inside of them.
- Gilles Ménage

Hard-covered books break up friendships. You loan a hard covered book to a friend and when he doesn't return it you get mad at him. It makes you mean and petty. But twenty-five cent books are different.
- John Steinbeck

Authors

The style of an author is a faithful copy of his mind.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It requires more than mere genius to be an author.
- Jean De La Bruyere

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it. - Oscar Wilde

The pen is the tongue of the mind.
-
Miguel de Cervantes

A book is the only immortality.
- Rufus Choate

It is a delight to read ancient authors, for recreation and passing of time.
- Earl Rivers


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