Libraries have, sadly, come under fire more so than ever lately, so, in need of a cheer up, I’ve collected over fifty of the most marvelous quotes about libraries.

These quotes, compiled of wise words from authors, to celebrities, to librarians themselves, are sure to bring a smile to your face and remind us just why these institutions are so darn important!

Turn the page to:


Library Quotes from Authors

“They say in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind”

Lemony Snicket

“It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home”

Elizabeth Kostava

“When I got my library card, that was when my life began.”

Rita Mae Brown

“I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interest. The library was open, unending, free.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates

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

Lemony Snicket

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

Jorge Luis Borges

“The Library didn’t only contain magical books, the ones which are chained to their shelves and are very dangerous. It also contained perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren’t also dangerous, just because reading them didn’t make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangerous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader’s brain.”

Excerpt from Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett

“My library is an archive of longings”

Susan Sontag

“It turned out to be near impossible to stand in a library and not want to pull things from the shelves”

Matt Haig

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

Anne Herbert

“the library . . . was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets . . .”

From The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco

“Libraries are the backbone of our education system”

Karin Slaughter

“I took to the Bodleian library as to a lover and… would sit long hours in Bodley’s arms to emerge, blinking and dazed with the smell and feel of all those books.”

From The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie R. King

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

Neil Gaiman

“But I loved the library simply because it was a library. I love libraries. I like reading, but I love libraries. Being surrounded by books makes me feel safe, the way some people need trees or mountains around them to feel secure. Not me – nature’s not what I cling to. I cling to books.”

From Back When You Were Easier to Love, by Emily Wing Smith

“Public libraries are the sole community centers left in America. The degree to which a branch of the local library is connected to the larger culture is a reflection of the degree to which the community itself is connected to the larger culture.”

Russell Banks

“The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door onto the world”

Rita Dove

“I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

Kurt Vonnegut

“A library is infinity under a roof” 

Gail Carson Levine

“Librarians save lives: by handing the right book, at the right time, to a kid in need”

Judy Blume

“A trained librarian is a powerful search engine with a heart”

Sarah McIntyre

“As a child, my number one best friend was the librarian in my grade school. I actually believed all those books belonged to her.”

Emma Bombeck

“That perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.”

Aphra Behn

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.”

Carlos Maria Dominguez

“They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked books being read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books… they would help.”

Neil Gaiman

Image credit: Oli Götting

Library Quotes from Famous People

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library”

Albert Einstein

“A library is a house of hope”

Karen Batchelor, activist and lawyer

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert”

Andrew Carnegie

“At the dawn of the 21st century, where knowledge is literally power, where it unlocks the gates of opportunity and success, we all have responsibilities as parents, as librarians, as educators, as politicians, and as citizens to instill in our children a love of reading so that we can give them a chance to fulfill their dreams.”

Barack Obama

“When I was young, we couldn’t afford much. But, my library card was my key to the world.” 

John Goodman

“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money”

Ray Bradbury

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.”

Ray Bradbury

“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers. And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open”

Laura Bush

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort”

E.B. White

“A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone”

Jo Godwin

“The library connects us with the insight and knowledge of the greatest minds that ever were”

Carl Sagan, astronomer 

“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better” 

Sidney Sheldon

“The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history”

Carl Thomas Rowan

“Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind, which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.” 

James Madison

“Libraries always remind me that there are good things in this world”

Lauren Ward

“To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul”

Cicero

“The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community.”

Paula Poundstone

Library Quotes from Librarians

“Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague”

Eleanor Crumblehulme

“Librarians are committed to promoting lifelong learning in order to create a community of well-informed individuals. Librarians are catalysts to enlightenment for their communities.”

Louise Capizzo

“Never argue with a librarian, they know too much”

Sozisbookish

“When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian”

Joan Bauer

“Sir. You don’t shush me. You don’t ever shush me. I’m a librarian, and I shush you…”

Maggie, Nos4a2

“Librarians have always been a special breed of literates”

Laurbrarian

“The library is the heart of the school. It’s the hub.”

Ron Black

Library Quotes in Popular Culture

“You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have… Arm yourselves!”

The Doctor, in Doctor Who

“Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card”

Arthur Read, in Arthur

Let us all join Kurt Vonnegut in congratulating the librarians across America, who often stand in the face of anti-democratic bullies, as the famous author puts it.

Which one of these is your favorite quote about libraries? Is that too hard a question to ask? I figure it probably is! 

I hope this has given you inspiration in the uncertain world of what libraries are in the 21st century.