on libraries by oliver sacks
 The Essay “On Libraries” by Oliver Sacks Exercise: Questions & Answers Class 12 English


 Understanding the text 

Answer the following questions.

a. Where could the author be found when he was late for lunch or dinner?

➜ The author could be found in a little lab along with the oak-panelled library that belonged to his father when he was late for lunch or dinner.


b. What are his first memories?

➜ The beautiful oak panel library and books were the first memory of the writer.


c. Why did he dislike school?

➜ The author didn’t like school because he had to listen to the teachers passively obeying their instructions. The author liked to learn himself in libraries being free to choose books of his own choice. 


d. What did he feel about at the library?

➜ At the library, he felt free to look out thousands of books, to roam around and to enjoy the special atmosphere and the quiet companionship of other readers all like him in the same quest.


e. Why was he so biased about sciences especially astronomy and chemistry?

➜ He was so biased about science especially astronomy and chemistry because science was his study of interest. Any library could provide books on various subjects and faculties, and to read all of them is not possible. We must focus our study on a specific subject to get a wide range of knowledge on that subject so the writer, to get specific knowledge, focused himself in astronomy and chemistry.


f. Why did he become so fascinated by Hook?

➜ The writer became so fascinated by Theodore Hook because he was greatly admired in the 19th century for his wit and his genius for theatrical and musical improvisation. He was said to have composed more than 500 operas on the spot.


g. Describe library at the Queen’s College.

➜ The Queen’s College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, England. It has a magnificent library building which was designed by Christopher Wren, one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. Beneath the library building, there is the vast subterranean holding of the library.


h. Why did the students ignore the bookshelves in the 1990s?

➜ The students ignored the bookshelves in the 1990s because they have access to computerized books.


i. Why was he horrified when he visited the library a couple of months ago?

➜ He was horrified when he visited the library a couple of months ago because most of the shelves were sparsely occupied. Most of the books were had been thrown out or digitalized.


 Reference to the Context 

a. The author says, “I was not a good pupil, but I was a good listener.” Justify it with the textual evidences.

➜ In the essay, Oliver Sacks says, “I was not a good pupil, but I was a good listener.” To be a good pupil, one has to be a good relation to teachers in a school. S/he has to attend classes regularly under the instructions provided by the teachers. S/he has to complete all the assignments given by the teacher after the lectures. But Oliver Sacks was not like that kind of pupil. He didn’t like to learn passively. Instead, he likes to learn actively in libraries selecting books of his choice. He loves reading varieties of books in the library being free.


b. A proverb says, “Nothing is pleasanter than exploring a library.” Does this proverb apply in the essay? Explain.

➜ The beautiful quotation, “Nothing is pleasanter than exploring a library.” Walter Savage Landor talks about the happiness, any studious person gets in a library. Any library provides enormous sources of information on a variety of topics. Nothing gives much satisfaction as reading books gives to a bookish fellow. Oliveri Sacks is a bookworm who spends much of his time in different libraries in different places. His book reading started from his own library at home. All of his family members loved reading books and he was grown up in that environment. The oak-panelled library at his own home was his favourite room. Instead of attending formal schools, he preferred to read freely in libraries. Especially he enjoyed the library environment and the quiet companionship of other readers. He would love to sit at a table in libraries, with a mountain of books in Infront of him.


c. Are there any other services that you would like to see added to the library?

➜ When we hear the term “Library”, an image comes to our mind that is a room filled with several stocks of bookshelves and book lovers reading there. In the past, the shelves were full of paper-based books. I would like to see libraries offering an abundance of additional services which we can enjoy. I like to have access to audiobooks, E-books, large print and braille materials, CDs, DVDs, Internet access, community clubs, manuscripts and so on. They could provide access to reading to different readers. Even blind people can read books in a library if they provide braille materials. Internet users can read E-Books there.


 Reference beyond the text 

a. Write an essay on Libraries and its uses for students.

➜ A library is a place where books and sources of information are stored. They make it easier for people to get access to them for various purposes. Libraries are very helpful and economical too. They include books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, manuscripts and more. In other words, they are an all-encompassing source of information. A public library is open to everyone for fulfilling the need for information. They are run by the government, schools, colleges, and universities. The members of the society or community can visit these libraries to enhance their knowledge and complete their research.


Libraries play a vital role in providing people with reliable content. They encourage and promote the process of learning and grasping knowledge. The book worms can get loads of books to read from and enhance their knowledge. Moreover, the variety is so wide-ranging that one mostly gets what they are looking for. Furthermore, they help the people to get their hands on great educational material which they might not find otherwise in the market. When we read more, our social skills and academic performance improves. Most importantly, libraries are a great platform for making progress. When we get homework in class, the libraries help us with the reference material. This, in turn, progresses our learning capabilities and knowledge. It is also helpful in our overall development.


b. Do you have any public library in your locality? If so, do the people in your community use it? Give a couple of examples.

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