Useful quotes

Sometimes you are just looking for a good quote to put in a document, or a display – or just to use somewhere else. This page was suggested and  compiled by School Librarian Margaret Smallpeice who works in Dubai.  If you have any other quotations to add, please add it as a comment.


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Library Quotes


Anne Harding


Anne Harding


The school librarian is uniquely placed to support teaching and learning in all areas of the National Curriculum, not just English, as well as the wider school curriculum. Where the library is fully integrated into the life and ethos of the school, the potential benefits that a good professional partnership with the teaching staff can bring to the quality of teaching should not be underestimated. All Party Parliamentary Group 2014 report “The beating heart of the school”

“A library is one of humankind’s greatest inventions and is at the heart of our culture. The library liberates and educates us as individuals, allows us to look beyond the boundaries of our own locality, gives us a sense of our place in the wider world. Children in particular need libraries and the services they offer. The simple fact is that they need free access to books”. David Almond in The Evening Chronicle , November 12, 2012.

In other words, within any school, student engagement in reading matters more than student socio-economic background in predicting reading proficiency. OECD Report (2002) p.143

Libraries are about books, but they’re also about much more than books. They’re about ideas and invention and imagination and play and curiosity and wonder and hope. Yes, libraries are all about hope. They are houses of possibilities. Phil Shapiro, PCWorld Jan 4, 2011 Towards a National Transition Plan for Libraries


“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” Maya Angelou

‘Knowledge is free at the library. Just bring your own container.’ Anonymous

“The gadget that will have the biggest impact on literacy is already out there. It’s called a book.”  Anthony Horowitz.

 ‘A library 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.’ Isaac Asimov

“Knowledge is power.” Francis Bacon

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few are to be chewed and digested.” Francis Bacon Nutrimentum spiritus (food for the soul) Berlin Royal Library inscription

‘I would never have become an author if it hadn’t been for my local library as a child.’ Malorie Blackman

“A wonderful thing about a book, in contrast to a computer screen, is that you can take it to bed with you.” Daniel J. Boorstein

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Jorge Luis Borges

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.” Chinese Proverb

“To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.” Chinese Saying

“Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.” Cicero

“Words are the voice of the heart.” Confucius

“I’m wondering what to read next.” Matilda by Roald Dahl

‘The Internet may be the world’s greatest library, but let’s face it – all the books are scattered on the floor.’D.C. Denison, Boston Globe

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” Walt Disney

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot

“If we encountered a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” Erasmus

“When I discovered libraries it was like having Christmas every day.” Jean Fritz

“An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.” Stephen Fry

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Margaret Fuller

‘I see libraries and librarians as frontline soldiers in the war against illiteracy and the lack of imagination.’ Neil Gaiman

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” Neil Gaiman

“Why buy a book when you can join a library?”Ricky Gervais

“When we visit a library and read a book we stand on the shoulders of giants so we can see further, we raise our self-esteem and awareness of identity and make ourselves anew, open to the great possibilities of life.” Alan Gibbons, Campaign for the Book.

“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. The both move people forward without wasting anything” Peter Golkin

“Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought” Sir Arthur Helps

“There is no friend as loyal as a book”. Ernest Hemingway

“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.” Harold Howe, former U.S. Commissioner of Education

“I cannot live without books.” Thomas Jefferson (after selling his entire library to help pay his debts; his books were the beginning of the Library of Congress.

‘Thank you for being the first place I realised how beautiful books were, how many books there were and for teaching me that they should all be available to me, that I could learn whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to in my mind. Thank you for opening the world to me.’ A L Kennedy

“A book is like a key that fits into the tumbler of the soul. The two parts have to match in order for each to unlock. Then—click—a world opens.” Brad Kessler

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Stephen King

‘The motto of all the mongoose family is, “Run and find out.” ‘– The Jungle Book (1894) ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ Rudyard Kipling

“We read to know we are not alone.” C.S. Lewis

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S. Lewis

“Libraries are necessary gardens; unsurpassed at growing excitement!” J. Patrick Lewis

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” Abraham Lincoln

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.’ George R. R. Martin

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” Groucho Marx

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx

“The library is the heart of creativity in any school”  Michael Morpurgo

‘Libraries are browsing places, dreaming places, finding out places. So much education takes place when children are making choices of their own.’ Michael Morpurgo

“I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am…I, am a librarian!”! From The Mummy (film)

“At the moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.” Barack Obama

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

“And if you are a parent, introduce your children to their neighborhood library. It will give them a real sense of independence to have their own library card and enjoy borrowing books.” Sarah Jessica Parker

“I read all the time. I love it. My fantasy would be to be locked into a library. I’d be very, very happy. ” Pink (singer)

‘The way to get children reading is to leave the library door open and let them read anything and everything they want.’ Terry Pratchett

“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.” Philip Pullman

“The School Library should be a focal point for a school…(the library) should be an unmissable, unavoidable place” Michael Rosen

“I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J.K. Rowling

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” St Augustine

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler)

‘The education that mattered most to me began when my mother first took me to the public library and I registered for my own hallowed ticket.’ Will Self

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.” B. F. Skinner

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” Sir Richard Steele “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” William Styron

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” Paul Sweeney

“A good book is the best of friends, the same to-day and for ever” Martin Farquhar Tupper

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint” Mark Twain, (1835 – 1910)

“In the non-stop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us the floaties and teach us how to swim.”Linton Weeks, Washington Post

‘You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books are the greatest weapons.’ Doctor Who

“I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” Malcolm X

“’Never before had I felt so trapped, so seduced and caught up in a story,’ Clara explained, ‘the way I did with that book. Until then, reading was just a duty; a sort of fine one had to pay teachers and tutors without quite knowing why. I had never known the pleasure of reading, of exploring the recesses of the soul, of letting myself be carried away by imagination, beauty and the mystery of fiction and language. For me all those things were born with that novel…’” The Shadow of the Wind, Carols Ruiz Zafon

“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in in, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.”  Lemony Snickett

“I guess there are never enough books.”John Steinbeck

“I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.”  Margaret Atwood

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”  Joseph Brodsky

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” Neil Gaiman

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Haruki Murakami

“Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.”  John Green

“Books are like mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”  Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over.”  Gail Carson Levine

“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” Cassandra Clare

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” Fran Lebowitz

“Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist.” – Ian McEwan

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want” – Sylvia Plath (from her Journals)

A Book Is A Place by Clyde Watson (poem)

A book is a place where you can go whenever you wish:/ just open it up and step in!/ For if you can read you can sail seven seas, /explore lost kingdoms with magic keys/…Climb snowy mountains, /Fly to the moon, /Speak with ghosts,/ Hear mermaids croon/… Swim with whales through sea-green depths, /Tame wild horses and… /When you come back and close your book and sit there with a dreamy, faraway look… /It’s because you know you can go anywhere you wish /just open a book and step in!

Reading Rocks by Tanja Jennings (School Librarian)(poem)

This is where I want to be /Under water Over sea/ Flying Above Floating Free/ Climbing into clouds above /Reading words that speak of love /Travelling to brave new worlds/ Eating Cadbury coconut swirls/ Fighting monsters from the grave /Wondering which characters will be saved/ Racing raging rapids/ Shooting into space/ Feasting with vampires /Duelling with Demons /Learning languages and lore/ Experiencing war/ Living life in the raw /Being quick to the draw /Horror magic drama crime/ Books are random They’re sublime /Laugh, cry, scream and dream/ In a never ending stream /Step inside an author’s mind/ You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.

10 1/2 Inclinations by Ben Okri

There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten you. Find that trail. Read outside your own nation, colour, class, gender. Read the books your parents hate. Read the books your parents love. Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you; and make their works your secret passion. Read widely, for fun, stimulation, escape. Don’t read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later, cautiously. Read what you’re not supposed to read. Read for your own liberation and mental freedom. Books are like mirrors. Don’t just read the words. Go into the mirror. That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That’s where the gods dream, where our realities are born. 10½) Read the world. It is the most mysterious book of all. © Ben Okri 2006. All rights reserved.

Hear It Again by Ted Hughes (poem)

Even the most misfitting child /Who’s chanced upon the library’s worth /Sits with the genius of the Earth /And turns the key to the whole world./

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