Monday, May 02, 2005

Library Quotes

  It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual.  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 A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.  ~Jo Godwin 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, "Books," Society and Solitude No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.  ~Samuel Johnson What a place to be in is an old library!  It seems as though all the souls of all the writers that have bequeathed their labours to these Bodleians were reposing here as in some dormitory, or middle state.  I do not want to handle, to profane the leaves, their winding-sheets.  I could as soon dislodge a shade.  I seem to inhale learning, walking amid their foliage; and the odor of their old moth-scented coverings is fragrant as the first bloom of the sciential apples which grew amid the happy orchard.  ~Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia No possession can surpass, or even equal a good library, to the lover of books.  Here are treasured up for his daily use and delectation, riches which increase by being consumed, and pleasures that never cloy.  ~John Alfred Landford Librarians are almost always very helpful and often almost absurdly knowledgeable.  Their skills are probably very underestimated and largely underemployed.  ~Charles Medawar For him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.  Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Members blasted.  Let him languish in Pain crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no sur-cease to his Agony till he sink in Dissolution.  Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.  ~Curse Against Book Stealers, Monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.  ~Shelby Foote 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.... In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.  ~Germaine Greer There are 70 million books in American libraries, but the one I want to read is always out.  ~Tom Masson Librarian is a service occupation.  Gas station attendant of the mind.  ~Richard Powers The student has his Rome, his Florence, his whole glowing Italy, within the four walls of his library.  He has in his books the ruins of an antique world and the glories of a modern one.  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Nutrimentum spiritus (food for the soul).  ~Berlin Royal Library, inscription Shera's Two Laws of Cataloging:  Law #1, No cataloger will accept the work of any other cataloger.  Law #2:  No cataloger will accept his/her own work six months after the cataloging.  ~Jesse Shera, 1977 The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracte


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