Quotations about public libraries


A comprehensive list of library quotes can be found at I Love Libraries.

  • Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries – Anne Herbert.
  • When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.  -Rita Mae Brown
  • 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
  • Libraries are the one American institution you shouldn’t rip off.  -Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal Dreams
  • If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.  -Cicero
  • 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. Malcolm Forbes
  • Words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think –  Lord Byron
  • The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries – — Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
  • Google can bring back a hundred thousand answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one – Diana Tixier Herald.
  • If you go to a city where there’s no art gallery,no concert hall, no public library
    you will almost certainly need to hire a bodyguard. You will see dead bodies all the way in from the airport
    – George Passmore
  • The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas – a place where history comes to life – Norman Cousins
  • If you want to help them [the oppressed], build a big library or something somewhere and leave the door open.The character Rincewind in “Interesting Times” by Terry Pratchett.
  • As repositories of history or sources for the future, as guides or manuals for difficult times, as symbols of authority past and present, the books in a library stand for more than their collective contents…” Alberto Manguel.
  • “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.” President John F. Kennedy
  • “I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.” Virginia Woolf

For quotations about librarians rather than libraries, see this page by Laughing Librarian.

“A library is such a potent symbol of a town’s values; each one closed down might as well be 6,000 stickers plastered over every available surface, reading: “WE CHOSE TO BECOME MORE STUPID AND DULL.” Caitlin Moran

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