Dukedom enough

“…my library was dukedom enough” The Tempest

Amongst the stuff that I was delighted to gather in my research for this Quixotic project were loads of quotes about libraries and librarians; some good some bad some awful and some very funny. I had intended using them as epigraphs at he start of each chapter but in the new improved blog version I thought they were better gathered together just in case you want to have a  look at them.Like the blog posts I shall put a few up every now and again as I come across them in preparing posts or wherever. I will put the new ones at the top so you don’t have to plough through ones you have already read.

Latest addition

“It was amazing really where the word librarian would get you. As cover it was perfect: no one suspected librarians of anything except chronic timidity and dandruff…” Ian Sanson  – Mr Dixon Disappears (2006)

Previous quotes.

“I don’t want to go around wagging a figure and saying that you ought to do this or that. I’d like to go to places and say, this is fantastic, have you seen this? And encourage parents to go in to their schools and experience their school libraries and meet the librarians. Librarians are the custodians of literacy – they lay the stepping stones that start the journey from one book to another, widening horizons and the reading experience.” Chris Riddell on become the UK Children’s Laureate 2015 and announcing that he will be a champion for school libraries.

I read Alasdair Gray’s celebrated novel Lanark some years ago. It’s very odd but for the purposes of our blog it is enough to know that it features a strange, creative, misfit protagonists who leaves his parents and teachers unsure what he will do for work when his studies finish. As he struggles with interpersonal skills of course this is the advice his parents receive
“I think Duncan would be better in a job without too much responsibility, a job that would give him plenty of time to develop his talents. I see him as a librarian.

Later Duncan shares his enthusiasm for this prospect.
“Show me the alternative to the library service. There is no alternative, I have to co-operate in my own damnation”

And this one is courtesy of my daughter Katie who spotted it whilst reading We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
“Her mother worked at the local library. When I run the world, librarians will be exempt from tragedy. “

There is exactly one quote from the entire canon of Shakespeare about libraries, but then rumour has it that he couldn’t read anyway but never mind so I decided to use it as the heading for this page. This is the quote. Its from the Tempest where Prospero is explaining to Miranda how he came to be usurped by his brother, In part he explains it was because as a man of learning he spent too much time studying and, instead of running his dukedom “my library was dukedom enough”

I wonder what he does when he isn’t fighting battles, probably a librarian or something! Jeremy Vine BBC R2 in an article about historical reconstruction groups fighting Viking battles. 29/2/11

”Never mind how often people change their underwear, the test of a truly civilised culture is how often they change their library books”. “Librarians do battle with the amorphous chaos of human knowledge, understanding, passion myth and mess and subdue it to a state of submissive and accessible order”. “bookshops are to libraries what prostitution is to true love” Binding Love, Weekend Guardian Sept 1990

“Few organisations are less glamorous or less appealing to the young than the typical English choir. Being in a British [choir] is not a musical activity. It is a medical disability… First symptoms of the illness include dressing like librarians…[choirs] are full of bearded 40 something men who sport velvet jackets and dandruff and have the sort of halitosis that can strip paint at 40 yards” Victor Lewis Smith The Mirror May 2000


One response to “Dukedom enough

  1. “the stigma of madness is less acute in a library environment than in almost any other place of work. According to George Eliot, sane people do what their neighbours do, so that if there are any lunatics at large, they can immediately be spotted and avoided. But amongst library staff this principle is reversed: only the sane stand out”. (Erdal, 2012:50)
    Well that explains a lot!
    Erdal, J. (2012) The missing shade of blue: a philosophical mystery. London: Abacus


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