Davies, Robertson
'Children, don't speak so coarsely,' said Mr Webster, who had a vague notion that some supervision should be exercised over his daughters' speech, and that a line should be drawn, but never knew quite when to draw it. He had allowed his daughters to use his library without restraint, and nothing is more fatal to maidenly delicacy of speech than the run of a good library.

Tempest Toast

Neill, S.D.
It is clear that censorship is not a cut and dried issue. There is a danger in thinking it is, for then the debate falters and understanding ends. We must realize that censorship will be with us always. It is a weapon to protect the order of society and the peace of communities. However, it is a two-edged sword and must be handled with care and caution. Of all professions librarianship must ensure that both sides of the debate remain alive. If the censorship side predominates, truth and moral progress suffer; if the anti-censorship side predominates, the drift to selfishness and anarchy presents a clear danger to the cohesion and order of the social system, the destruction of which brings us to barbarism, tyranny, and the loss of all freedom.

Canadian Library Journal
A Clash of Values: Censorship
February 1988 (pp. 35-39)

Shera, Jesse
When a librarian really believes that a book is harmful, that its content is contrary to the welfare of the community, or that it is destructive of good taste, even if those are his opinions only, he has not only the right, but also the obligation to do what he properly can to keep that book out of the hand of those whom he thinks might be injured by it.

Wilson Library Bulletin
Intellectual Freedom--Intellectual? Free?
November 1967


Twain, Mark
Whenever a copyright law is to be made or altered, then the idiots assemble.

Mark Twain's Notebook, 1902-1903

Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

Mark Twain's Notebook, 1902-1903


Bierce, Ambrose
Dictionary. A malovent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic.

The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary

Holmes, Oliver Wendell
When I feel inclined to read poetry I take down my Dictionary. The poetry of words is quite as beautiful as that of sentences. The author may arrange the gems effectively, but their shape and lustre have given by the attrition of ages.

The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table
The Autocrat's Autobiography

Macbeth, George
Literature ought to let you make up your own mind. Dictionaries lay down the law.

In Brian Redhead and Kenneth McLeish
The Anti-Booklist

Morris, Joseph F.
Dictionary: Spell binder.

November 17, 1968 (p. 397)

Clemens, Cyril
I have studied it often, but I never could discover the plot.

Mark Twain Anecdotes

We sailed for America, and there made certain preparations...Two members of my family elected to go with me. Also a carbuncle. The dictionary says a carbuncle is a kind of jewel. Humor is out of place in a dictionary.

Following the Equator

All dictionaries are made from dictionaries.

Philosophical Dictionary


Hubbard, Elbert
EDITOR: 1. A person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed. 2. A delicate instrument for observing the development and flowering of the deadly mediocre and encouraging its growth. 3. A seraphic embryon; a smooth bore; a bit of sandpaper applied to all forms of originality by the publisher-proprietor; an emictory.

The Roycroft Dictionary (p. 46)

Twain, Mark
I am not the editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one.

Galaxy Magazine

How often we recall, with regret, that Napoleon once shot at a magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember with charity, that his intentions were good.

Letter to Henry Alden, Nov. 11, 1906

In Austria an editor who can write well is valuable, but he is not likely to remain so unless he can handle a sabre with charm.

Europe and Elsewhere

I hate editors, for they make me abandon a lot of perfectly good English words.

Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field, Fisher

Nobody except he has tried it, knows what it is to be an editor. It is easy to scribble local rubbish, with the facts all before you; it is easy to clip sections from other papers; it is easy to string out acorrespondence from any locality; but it is an unspeakable hardship to write editorials. Subjects are the trouble - the dreary lack of them, I mean. Every day it is drag, drag, drag - think, and worry and suffer - all the world is a dull blank, and yet the editorial columns must be filled. Only give the editor a subject, and his work is done - it is no trouble to write it up; but fancy how you would feel if you had to pump your brains dry every day in the week, fifty-two weeks in the year. It makes one low spirited simply to think of it. The matter that each editor of a daily paper in America writes in the course of a year would fill from four to eight bulky volumes like this book! Fancy what a library an editor's work would make, after twenty or thirty years' service. Yet people marvel that Dickens, Scott, Bulwer, Dumas, etc., have been able to produce so many books. If these authors had wrought as voluminously as newspaper editors do, the result would be something to marvel at, indeed. How editors can continue this tremendous labor, this exhausing consumption of brain fibre (for their work is creative, and not a mere mechanical laying-up of facts, like reporting), day after day and year after year, is incomprehensible. Preachers take two months' holiday in midsummer, for they find that to produce two sermons a week is wearing, in the long run. In truth it must be so, and is so; and therefore, how an editor can take from ten to twenty texts and build upon them from ten to twenty painstaking editorials a week and keep it up all the year round, is farther beyond comprehension than ever. Ever since I survived my week as editor, I have found at least one pleasure in any newspaper that comes to my hand; it is in admirng the long columns of editorial, and wondering to myself how in the mischief he did it!

Roughing It

Twain, Mark
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain

I said there was nothing so convincing to an Indian as a general massacre. If he could not approve of the massacre, I said the next surest thing for an Indian was soap and education. Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run; because a half-massacred Indian may recover, but if you educate him and wash him, it is bound to finish him some time or other.

Facts Concerning the Recent Resignation, 1867

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but Cabbage with a College Education.

The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of the Extraordinary Twins

Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won't fatten the dog.

Speech 11/23/1900

It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others-and less trouble.

Doctor Van Dyke speech, 1906

The self taught man seldom knows anything accurately, and he does not know a tenth as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers, and besides, he brags, and is the means of fooling other thoughtless people into going and doing as he himself has done.

Taming the Bicycle, 1917

All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The theological knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal. That is, when a man is buying a basket of strawberries it can profit him to know that the bottom half of it is rotten.

Notebook 1908

Education that consists in learning things and not the meaning of them is feeding upon the husks and not the corn.

Mark Twain

Everything has its limit-iron ore cannot be educated into gold.

What is Man essay 1906

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.

Mark Twain's Notebook, 1898

In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made school boards.

Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar


Twain, Mark

It is a free press...There are laws to protect the freedom of the press's speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press.

License of the Press speech

...the liberty of the Press is called the Palladium of Freedom, which means, in these days, the liberty of being deceived, swindled, and humbugged by the Press and paying hugely for the deception.

The Twainian, May, 1940
From Author's Sketch Book, Nov. 1870


Twain, Mark
Journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft (when committed in the pecuniary interest of a journal,) & admires the thief....However, these same journals combat despicable crimes quite valiantly- when committed in other quarters.

Letter to W. D. Howells, 10/30/1880


Broadfield, A.
Librarianship has for its purpose the maintenance of the part of the life of the individual which is th activity of thinking freely.

A Philosophy of Librarianship


Adams, Geo Matthew
You go into the restaurants of a town and you see people with hungry stomachs, but you go into the library of the same town and you will see hungry brains feasting upon their favorites. There are all too few libraries, and far too many restaurants. People should eat less and think more!

April 2, 1967 (p. 269)

Alcott, Amos Bronson
The richest minds need not large libraries.

Table Talk
Bk. I.
Learning - Books

Armour, Richard
Here is where people,
One frequently finds,
Lower their voices
And raise their minds.

Light Armour

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

Advancements of Learning
Book ii

Beecher, Henry Ward
A library is but the soul's burial-ground. It is the land of shadows.

Star Papers
The Bodleian Library

Berlin Royal Library
Nutrimentum spiritus.
Food for the soul.


Borges, Jorge Luis
In the vast Library there are no two identical books.

The Library of Babel (p. 54)

Bradbury, Ray Douglas
You must live feverishly in a library. Colleges are not going to do any good unless you are raised and live in a library everyday of your life.

Writer's Digest
February 1976 (p. 25)

Cousins, Norman
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. 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.

ALA Bulletin

October 1954 (p.475) Crabbe, George
[Libraries] These are the tombs of such as cannot die.

The Library

Dawson, Rev. George
A great library contains the diary of the human race.

Address on Opening the Birmingham Free Library
26 October 1866

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan
A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

The Adventures of of Sherlock Holmes
The Five Orange Pips

Duffus, R.L.
The early libraries were collections of books, just as a museum is a collection of pictures, stuffed animals or fossils. They were primarily safe places where books could be preserved and only incidentally where books could be used. The Twentieth century library in America is no longer a museum. It is less and less important as a place where books are preserved; more and more important as a place where they are used, worn out and replaced!

Books, Their Place in a Democracy (p. 145)

Dunne, Finley Peter
Libries niver encouraged lithrachoor anny more thin tombstones encourage livin'. No wan iver wrote annythin' because he was tol' that a hundherd years fr'm now his books might be taken down fr'm a shelf in a granite sepulcher an' some wan wud write "Good" or "This man is crazy" in th' margin. What lithrachoor needs is fillin' food.

Dissertations by Mr. Dooley
The Carnegie Libraries

Emerson, Ralph Waldo
A man's library is a sort of harem.

The Conduct of Life
In Praise of Books

Esar, Evan
A person's library consists of all the books he has that no one wants to borrow.

20,000 Quips & Quotes

There are too many books in every public library, and not enough people to dust them.

20,000 Quips & Quotes

To maintain your library intact, buy three copies of every book: one to show, one to loan, and one to read.

20,000 Quips & Quotes

The only source from which you can't keep books that you have borrowed is in the public library.

20,000 Quips & Quotes

There are thousands of books in the public library, but the one you want to read is always out.

20,000 Quips & Quotes

Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked our 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 for us, the strangers of another age.

Society and Solitude

Meek young men grow up in libraries.

Nature, Addresses and Lectures
The American Scholar

Farris, Jean
Library: A tome home.

July 23, 1967 (p. 67)

Fuller, Thomas
It is vanity to persuade the world one hath much learning, by getting a great library.

Holy and Profane State
Chapter XVIII
Of Books (p. 189)

Godwin, William
He that revels in a well-choses library, has innumerable dishes, and all of admirable flavour.

The Enquirer
Early Taste for Reading

Holmes, Oliver Wendell
My experience with public libraries is that the first volume of the book I inquire for is out, unless I happen to want the second, then that is out.

The Poet at the Breakfast-Table
Chapter 7

Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.

The Poet at the Breakfast-Table
Chapter 8

Hubbard, Elbert
LIBRARY: A place where the dead lie.

The Roycroft Dictionary (p. 88)

Jefferson, Thomas
I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county, to consist of a few well-chosen books, to be lent to the people of the county, under such regulations as would secure their safe return in due time.

Volume xii (p. 282)

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

The Rambler
number 106, 23 march 1751

Keppel, Francis
Libraries can be of indispensable service in lifting the dead weight of poverty and ignorance.

Address at opening session of annual American Library Association conference
St. Louis
28 June, 1964

Lamb, Charles
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 windingsheets. I could as soon dislodge a shade. I seem to inhale learning, walking amid their foliage; and the odour of their old mothscented coverings is fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid the happy orchard.

Essays of Elia
Oxford in the Vacation

Library at Thebes
The medicine chest of the soul.


McDonough, Roger
To the majority of residents of the inner city, libraries do not represent "magic doors" or "the way out" but, rather, appear to be merely another vestige of the "establishment"--and they are, for this reason, avoided or ignored.

American Library Association Journal
August 1968

Melancon, Robert
A great public library, in its catalogue and its physical disposition of its books on shelves, is the monument of literary genres.

World Literature Today
Spring 1982 (p. 231)

Meyer, Edith Patterson
The library can become a big factor in raising the level of intelligence in the country and in developing leaders. It can also play a large part in bolstering the faith of individuals who feel frustrated and upset by the tremendous problems that face the world. The more complex the world grows, the more necessary it is to spread the knowledge and wisdom to be found in books.

Meet the Future

Right to Read Defense Committee v. School Committee of the City of Chelsea
The library is "a mighty resource in the marketplace of ideas." There a student can literally explore the unknown, and discover areas of interest and thought not covered by the prescribed curriculum. The student who discovers the magic of the library is on the way to a life-long experience of self-education and enrichment. That student learns that a library is a place to test or expand upon the ideas presented to him, in or out of the classroom.

454 F. Supp. 703, 707, 713 (1978)

Sagan, Carl
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.


Saxe, J.G.
I love vast libraries; yet therre is a doubt
If one be better with them or without,--
Unless he use them wisely, and, indeed,
Knows the high art of what and how to read.
At Learning's fountain it is sweet to drink,
But 'tis a nobler privilege to think;
And oft, from books apart, the thirsting mind
May make the nectar which it cannot find.
'Tis well to borrow from the good and great;
'Tis wise to learn; 'tis godlike to create!

The Library

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

Titus Andronicus
Act iv, scene 1, l. 34

My library
Was dukedom large enough.

The Tempest
Act I, scene 2, l. 109

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