You poor girl, what sort of aged, unfriendly Libraries have you met in short life? A silent Library is a sad Library... A Library should be full of exclamations!... A Library should be full of now-just-a-minutes and that-can't-be-rights and scientifick folk running skelter to prove somebody wrong... A Library should not shush ; it should roar !
Catherynne M. Valente
I always knew from that moment, from the time I found myself at home in that little segregated library in the South, all the way up until I walked up the steps of the New York City library, I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I'll be okay. It really helped me as a child, and that never left me. So I have a special place for every library, in my heart of hearts.
I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.
A library was nothing without its people. You say library and there's this iconoclastic image of an old-lady librarian telling people to be quiet and not to run. But the thing was, that lady-that iconoclastic lady-was with us when we cleaned. She wore blue jeans, too. Maybe she was what people thought about when you said library, but she didn't make the library. People made the library. That's what made a library. Without them, all the sacredness was gone. It was just a building with books.
As a kid, I would get my parents to drop me off at my local library on their way to work during the summer holidays, and I would walk home at night. For several years, I read the children's library until I finished the children's library. Then I moved into the adult library and slowly worked my way through them.
I was so inspired by Dr. King that in 1956 with my brothers and sisters and first cousins, I was only 16 years old, we went down to the public library trying to check out some books and we were told by the librarian that the library was for whites only and not for colors! It was a public library! I never went back to that public library until July 5th, 1998, by this time I'm in the Congress, for a book signing of my book "Walking with the Wind"
I claim that this bookless library is a dream, a hallucination of on-line addicts; network neophytes, and library-automation insiders...Instead, I suspect computers will deviously chew away at libraries from the inside. They'll eat up book budgets and require librarians that are more comfortable with computers than with children and scholars. Libraries will become adept at supplying the public with fast, low-quality information. The result won't be a library without books--it'll be a library without value.
A university is a reading and discussion club. If students knew how to use the library, they wouldn't need the rest of the buildings. The faculty's job, in great part, is to teach students how to use a library in a living way. All a student should really need is access to the library and a place to sleep.
A silent Library is a sad Library. A Library without patrons on whom to pile books and tales and knowing and magazines full of up-to-the-minute politickal fashions and atlases and plays in pentameter! A Library should be full of exclamations! Shouts of delight and horror as the wonders of the world are discovered or the lies of the heavens are uncovered or the wild adventures of devil-knows-who sent romping out of the pages. A Library should be full of now-just-a-minutes and that-can't-be-rights and scientifick folk running skelter to prove somebody wrong. It should positively vibrate with laughing at comedies and sobbing at tragedies, it should echo with gasps as decent ladies glimpse indecent things and indecent ladies stumble upon secret and scandalous decencies! A Library should not shush; it should roar!
Catherynne M. Valente
Congratulations on the new library, because it isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you - and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life. [Letters of Note; Troy (MI, USA) Public Library, 1971]
The point of a library's existence is not persuasion or evangelism, but knowledge. It is irrelevant to the good library whether, as an institution, it shares or promotes your core values or mine, or the Attorney General's or Saddam Hussein's. The library is always an instrument of choice, and the choice is always yours, not your elected or designated leaders.
Harry - I think I've just understood something! I've got to go to the library!' And she sprinted away, up the stairs. 'What does she understand?' said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from. 'Loads more than I do, ' said Ron, shaking his head. 'But why's she got to go to the library?' 'Because that's what Hermione does, ' said Ron, shrugging. 'When in doubt, go to the library.
I was a voracious reader and the library fed my curiosity, imagination and my soul. I read by the shelf - biographies, fantasy - all and everything fed my dreams. Then as an adult whenever I would go on location the first thing we would do as a family is sign up at the closest library. Not only would we find books, but what was happening in that town, because the library is the head of the community.
Well, when it became obvious that magic was going to wreck the computer networks, people tried to preserve portions of the Internet. They took snapshots of their servers and sent the data to a central database at the Library of Congress. The project became known as the Library of Alexandria, because in ancient times Alexandria's library was said to contain all the human knowledge, before some jackass burned it to the ground.
Every child needs a safe place to fall - a place where he or she can explore things without worrying about failure and judgment. A library is one of those places. In a library you can learn by following your own nose, which is very different from someone telling you what you should learn. Once a kid learns a library is hers, to use as she wants, the world opens up., I've seen it happen. It happened to me.
INTERVIEWER You're self-educated, aren't you? BRADBURY Yes, I am. I'm completely library educated. I've never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn't want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it's like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there's so much to look at and read. And it's far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don't have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on-well, what if you don't like those books? I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.
A great library doesn't have to be big or beautiful. It doesn't have to have the best facilities or the most efficient staff or the most users. A great library provides. It is enmeshed in the life of a community in a way that makes it indispensable. A great library is one nobody notices because it is always there, and always has what people need.
A friend of mine said to me a year ago, "You're so lucky, Nancy, because Ronnie left you the library," She said, "You have that to work on, and to go to, and, in a sense, to be with him." I had never thought of it like that, but it's true. I go to the library or work for the library all the time, because it's Ronnie. I'm working for Ronnie.
Look at the way the walls curve,' Macey said, her gaze panning around the strangely shaped room. 'it's almost like...' 'The library,' Liz said, and immediately I knew that she was right. It was exactly like the library at the Gallagher Academy, from the position of the fireplace to the tall windows that overlooked the grounds. 'How do you know?' Zach asked. Liz looked totally insulted. 'Because...uh...library.' 'Okay.' Zach threw up his hands. 'Point taken.
I grew up in a small town with a very small library. But the books in the library opened a large place in my heart. It is the place where stories live. And those stories have been informing my days, comforting my nights, and extending possibilities ever since. If that library had not been there, if the books - such as they were - had not been free, my world would be poor, even today.
Marion Dane Bauer
As parents, we should remember that our lives may be the book from the family library which the children most treasure. Are our examples worthy of emulation? Do we live in such a way that a son or a daughter may say, 'I want to follow my dad,' or 'I want to be like my mother'? Unlike the book on the library shelf, the covers of which shield its contents, our lives cannot be closed. Parents, we truly are an open book in the library of learning of our homes.
Thomas S. Monson
They say that Caliph Omar, when consulted about what had to be done with the library of Alexandria, answered as follows: 'If the books of this library contain matters opposed to the Koran, they are bad and must be burned. If they contain only the doctrine of the Koran, burn them anyway, for they are superfluous.' Our learned men have cited this reasoning as the height of absurdity. However, suppose Gregory the Great was there instead of Omar and the Gospel instead of the Koran. The library would still have been burned, and that might well have been the finest moment in the life of this illustrious pontiff.
How do you explain to somebody who doesn't understand that you don't build a library to read. A library is a resource. Something you go to, for reference, as and when. But also something you simply look at, because it gives you succour, answers to some idea of who you are or, more to the point, who you would like to be, who you will be once you own every book you need to own.
I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.
I was going to the library, too. I'd get my parents to drop me off at the library on their way to work in the morning during school vacations. Sometimes my dad would embarrass me by making me take sandwiches. I was absolutely fine given the prospect of a day spent with books and not eating.
One of the powerful functions of a library - any library - lies in its ability to take us away from worlds that are familiar and comfortable and into ones which we can neither predict nor control, to lead us down new roads whose contours and vistas provide us with new perspectives. Sometimes, if we are fortunate, those other worlds turn out to have more points of familiarity with our own than we had thought. Sometimes we make connections back to familiar territory and when we have returned, we do so supplied with new perspectives, which enrich our lives as scholars and enhance our role as teachers. Sometimes the experience takes us beyond our immediate lives as scholars and teachers, and the library produces this result particularly when it functions as the storehouse of memory, a treasury whose texts connect us through time to all humanity." [Browsing in the Western Stacks, Harvard Library Bulletin NS 6(3): 27-33, 1995]
Richard F. Thomas
I had a library of maybe 1,000 books in my room in Buenos Aires. I did have the sense that everything there was organised in the right way. You'll probably think I needed serious psychiatric treatment, but there were times when I would not buy a book because I knew it wouldn't fit one of the categories into which I had divided the library.
I'm completely library educated. I've never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn't want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it's like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there's so much to look at and read. And it's far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don't have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on-well, what if you don't like those books?
Corliss wondered what happens to a book that sits unread on a library shelf for thirty years. Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read?... 'How many books never get checked out, " Corliss asked the librarian. 'Most of them, ' she said. Corliss never once considered the fate of library books. She loved books. How could she not worry about the unread? She felt like a disorganized scholar, an abusive mother, and a cowardly soldier. 'Are you serious?' Corliss asked. 'What are we talking about here? If you were guessing, what is the percentage of books in this library that never get checked out?' 'We're talking sixty percent of them. Seriously. Maybe seventy percent. And I'm being optimistic. It's probably more like eighty or ninety percent. This isn't a library, it's an orphanage.' The librarian talked in a reverential whisper. Corliss knew she'd misjudged this passionate woman. Maybe she dressed poorly, but she was probably great in bed, certainly believed in God and goodness, and kept an illicit collection of overdue library books on her shelves.
Children have to have access to books, and a lot of children can't go to a store and buy a book. We need not only our public libraries to be funded properly and staffed properly, but our school libraries. Many children can't get to a public library, and the only library they have is a school library.
Suppose each of us make up a list of, say, fifty or more books that we believe should be in the library. Then , when Robinson goes to the bookseller in Philadelphia let him start with the first of each of our chooses, then the second of each, and so on down, omitting duplicates, of course. Let him go as far as his money lasts. How does that sound." "Vandaliz has a library, " Fell said, "and so has Springfield and Edwardsville. why not Everton.
If there's a 13- or 14-year old kid who is yearning for something beyond the social forces in his own world, in his own neighborhood, the library is the only place where he can go to find that. It was exciting and thrilling to me all the time I worked in the library. It's such a force for social good and it can do so much.
I cannot imagine the type of sinister fiend who would be against the library. A library essentially says, 'Look, here is some free information that will enrich your life. Read it on your own time. I trust that you will bring it back when you are finished.' It might be the most civilized, forward-thinking institution in America. Perhaps the only one, in fact.
The library smells like old books - a thousand leather doorways into other worlds. I hear silence, like the mind of God. I feel a presence in the empty chair beside me. The librarian watches me suspiciously. But the library is a sacred place, and I sit with the patron saint of readers. Pulsing goddess light moves through me for one moment like a glimpse of eternity instantly forgotten. She is gone. I smell mold, I hear the clock ticking, I see an empty chair. Ask me now and I'll say this is just a place where you can't play music or eat. She's gone. The library sucks.