Quotations about   library

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No furniture so charming as books.

Sydney Smith (1771-1845) English clergyman, essayist, wit
(Attributed)

Quoted in Lady Holland (Smith's daughter), Memoir, Vol. 1, ch. 9 (1855). See also Beecher.
Added on 2-Nov-17 | Last updated 2-Nov-17
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Books, that paper memory of mankind.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
The Art of Literature, ch. 4 “On Men of Learning” [tr. Saunders (1851)]
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Added on 12-Oct-17 | Last updated 12-Oct-17
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Ah, Stefan, give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a dangerous enemy indeed.

Anne Rice (b. 1941) American author [b. Howard Allen Frances O'Brien]
The Witching Hour, Part 2 (1990)
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Added on 7-Sep-17 | Last updated 7-Sep-17
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Books to the ceiling, books to the sky.
My pile of books are 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 (1933-1987) American author, illustrator
The Fiction Magazine, Vol. 5 (1986)
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Added on 15-Jun-17 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
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Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
(Attributed)
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Recounted in the Pennsylvania School Journal, Vol. 46, #7 (Jan 1898) as an anecdote from a clergyman printed in the New York Tribune.
Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
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The book has been man’s greatest triumph. Seated in my library, I live in a Time Machine. In an instant I can be transmitted to any era, any part of the world, even to outer space. I have lived in every period of history. I have listened to Buddha speak, marched with Alexander, sailed with the Vikings, ridden in canoes with the Polynesians. I have been at the courts of Queen Elizabeth and Louis XIV; I have been a friend to Captain Nemo and have sailed with Captain Bligh on the Bounty. I have walked in the agora with Socrates and Plato, and listened to Jesus deliver the Sermon on the Mount.

Best of all, I can do it all again, at any moment. The books are there. I have only to reach up to the shelves and take them down to relive the moments I have loved.

Louis L'Amour (1908-1988) American writer
The Sackett Companion (1988)
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Added on 20-Apr-17 | Last updated 20-Apr-17
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It is just those books which a man possesses, but does not read, which constitute the most suspicious evidence against him.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Toilers of the Sea, Book 1, ch. 4 (1866)
Added on 5-Jan-17 | Last updated 5-Jan-17
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A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.

Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) American journalist, critic, transcendentalist, reformer [Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli]
Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)
Added on 6-Oct-16 | Last updated 6-Oct-16
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We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864)
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Added on 16-Sep-16 | Last updated 16-Sep-16
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Consider as well that, however one may sing the praises of those who by their virtue either defend or increase the glory of their country, their actions only affect worldly prosperity, and within narrow limits. But the man who sets fallen learning on its feet (and this is almost more difficult than to originate it in the first place) is building up a sacred and immortal thing, and serving not one province alone but all peoples and all generations. Once this was the task of princes, and it was the greatest glory of Ptolemy. But his library was contained between the narrow walls of its own house, and Aldus is building up a library which has no other limits than the world itself.

Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536) Dutch humanist philosopher and scholar
The Adages, “Make Haste Slowly [Festina Lente]” (1508 ed.)
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Discussing the Aldine Press, the first modern publishing house. In Margaret Mann Phillips, ed., Erasmus on His Times (1967).
Added on 25-Aug-16 | Last updated 25-Aug-16
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Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and inaccessible, solitary, impatient of interruption, fenced by etiquette; but the thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written out in transparent words to us, the strangers of another age.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Society and Solitude, “Books” (1870)
Added on 11-Aug-16 | Last updated 11-Aug-16
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There are persons who honestly do not see the use of books in the home, either for information — have they not radio and even television? — or for decoration — is there not the wallpaper?

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) American writer
“In Search of Readers,” in Helen Hull, The Writer’s Book (1950)
Added on 7-Apr-16 | Last updated 7-Apr-16
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The covers of this book are too far apart.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
(Attributed)

One-sentence book review. First attributed to Bierce in 1923, but showing up in anonymous humor as early as 1899. See here for more information.
Added on 31-Mar-16 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
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Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Eyes and Ears, “The Duty of Owning Books” (1862)

See Sydney Smith.
Added on 24-Mar-16 | Last updated 2-Nov-17
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If these writings of the Greeks agree with the book of God, they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed.

Umar I (c. 583-644) Arab caliph, jurist [Omar, Umar ibn Al-Khattāb, Al-Farooq]
(Attributed)

Ordering the burning of the Library of Alexandria in AD 641, as quoted in Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88). The story is generally considered spurious. More discussion here. Alt. trans.: "They will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous"
Added on 11-Feb-16 | Last updated 11-Feb-16
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Whatever agencies for good may rise or fall in the future, it seems certain that the Free Library is destined to stand and become a never-ceasing foundation of good to all the inhabitants.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) American industrialist and philanthropist
An American Four-in-hand in Britain (1883)
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
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To a historian, libraries are food, shelter, and even muse.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
“The Houses of Research,” Authors Guild Bulletin (Mar 1972)
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Added on 26-May-15 | Last updated 26-May-15
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Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
(Attributed)
Added on 5-May-15 | Last updated 5-May-15
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Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature, dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. The are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world, and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
“The Book,” Lecture, Library of Congress (17 Oct 1979)
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Reprinted in Authors' League Bulletin (Nov-Dec 1979)
Added on 7-Apr-15 | Last updated 7-Apr-15
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The great inconvenience of new books is that they prevent us from reading the old ones.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 4-Nov-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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If being a parent consists often of passing along chunks of ourselves to unwitting — often unwilling — recipients, then books are, for me, one of the simplest and most sure-fire ways of doing that. I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

Anna Quindlen (b. 1953) American journalist, novelist
“Public & Private; Enough Bookshelves,” op-ed, New York Times (7 Aug 1991)
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Added on 16-Apr-10 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
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A room without books is like a body without a soul.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Aug-16
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