Central Library Inscriptions

Over the front entrance doors

Written by Roscoe Conkling Ensign Brown (b.1867- d.1946; Appointed Brooklyn Public Library Board, 1908; Vice President, Brooklyn Public Library Board, 1922-1938; President, Brooklyn Public Library Board, 1939-1941).

Left: "Farther than arrow, higher than the wings, fly poet's song and prophet's word."

Center: "While men have wit to read and will to know, the door to learning is the open book."

Right: "The world for men with all it may contain is only what is compassed by the mind."

Over the front entrance doors

Left: "The Brooklyn Public Library through the joining of municipal enterprise and private generosity offers to all the people perpetual and free access to knowledge and the thought of all the ages." (Roscoe C. Brown)

Right: "Here are enshrined the longing of great hearts and noble things that tower above the tide, the magic word that winged wonder starts, the garnered wisdom that never dies." (Roscoe C. Brown)

Flatbush Avenue wing

"In books lies the soul of the whole past time, the articulate audible voice of the past-all that mankind has done, thought, gained or been. It is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books." (Thomas Caryle)

"Read not to contradict and confute, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and to consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

"Of all men's creations, books are the nearest to us, for they contain our very thoughts, our ambitions, our indignations, our illusions, our fidelity to truth, and our persistent leaning toward error." (Joseph Conrad)

"I go into my library, and history rolls before me. I breathe the morning air of the world while the scent of Eden's roses yet linger on it. I see the pyramids building. I hear the shouts of the armies of Alexander." (Alexander Smith)

"The spirit and the senses so easily grow dead to the impressions of the beautiful and the perfect that one ought everyday to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." (J.W. von Goethe)

"He hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book. He hath not eat paper, as it were. He hath not drunk ink. His intellect is not replenished. He is only an animal, only sensible in the dullest parts." (William Shakespeare)