A few words on libraries

Discover Your Public Library

Five thousand years ago, the Sumerians established libraries to

preserve prayers, hymns and documents. Ever since, libraries have

reflected and shaped societies that created them by preserving the


thoughts and actions of their cultures.

Libraries are the means by which the present learns from the past

and leaves its own intellectual legacy to the future. In my 30 years

as a librarian I have particularly enjoyed collecting sage quips and


memorable quotations about libraries.

The following are a few of my favorites that I’d like to share

with you this summer week:

“Library Here is where people,

One frequently finds,

Lower their voices

And raise their minds”

-- Richard Armour, American humorist


“My Library is dukedom large enough”

-- William Shakespeare, English dramatist and poet

“A library is a launching pad to wherever you wish to go.”

-- Julie Andrews, actress

“You see, I don’t believe

that libraries should be drab

places where people sit in

silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of


employing wild animals as librarians.”

-- Monty Python skit, British comedy

“I have always imagined that paradise will be some kind of


-- Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine author

“The medicine chest of the soul.”

-- Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

“A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.”

-- Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman

“I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might

sober me up to sit in a library.”

-- “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald, American author

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the Earth as the

Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank,

office nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

-- Andrew Carnegie, public library philanthropist extraordinaire

Finally, I believe the 19th century Canadian journalist and

politician, Joseph Howe, makes a particularly eloquent case for

frequent visits to your Laguna Beach Library to explore the exciting

world of knowledge it holds.

Speaking of himself,

Howe says, “My books are very few, but then the world is before me

-- a library open to all -- from which poverty of purse cannot

exclude me - in which the meanest and most paltry volume is sure to

furnish something to amuse, if not to instruct and improve.”

* MARIANNA HOF is the Laguna Beach branch librarian.