Libraries have and always will contain our nation’s heritage, the heritage of humanity, the records of its triumphs and failures, of mankind’s intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements. They are not repositories of human endeavor alone—they are instruments of civilization. They provide tools for learning, understanding, and progress. They are a source of information, a source of knowledge, a source of wisdom, and hence, they are a source of action. They are a laboratory of human enterprise. They are a window to the future. They are a source of hope. They are a source of self-renewal. They represent the link between the solitary individual and humankind, which is our community.
—Vartan Gregorian, “A Sense of Elsewhere,” American Libraries, November 2007, 46