I just read the following quote from A Passion for Books, posted by a LibraryThing pal (thanks Donna!). This book of essays is by Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), who was an American Congregational minister, author, and lecturer.
“Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows. No man has the right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. He cheats them! Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it. And the love of knowledge in a young mind is almost a warrant against the inferior excitement of passions and vices.
Let us pity these poor rich men who live barrenly in great bookless houses! Let us congratulate the poor that, in our day, books are so cheap that a man may every year add a hundred volumes to his library for the price which his tobacco and his beer would cost him. Among the earliest ambitions…among all that are struggling up in life from nothing to something, is that of forming and continually adding to a library of good books. A little library, growing larger every year, is an honourable part of a man’s history. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.”
As Donna said, the language here is dated and sexist, but the thinking behind it is worth sharing.