Rav Avigdor Miller on Library Books and Dirty Apples
Is it permissible to take out fiction books, kosher fiction books, from the public library to read?
It’s like asking, “Suppose an apple fell into a toilet bowl, can I take it out and eat it? It’s a kosher apple so can I eat it?” Well, it might be the most beautiful apple, but you’re taking it from a dirty toilet. It’s going to depend on what else is in the toilet. There might still be certain books in the library that are still readable, but you have to know that once you walk in there you immediately smell the odor of tzo’ah, of excretement. The library today is a foul place more than ever before.
And therefore, its recommended that you stay out in order that your garments should not be redolent with the fragrance of the public library. Because the books are terrible today. Children should be trained to stay away. Nobody should let their child play with excrement.
And I want to tell you that it’s a big error of the principals of the English Departments of the Yeshivos and Bais Yaakov schools, when they give children assignments to go to the library. It’s irresponsible. Maybe twenty years ago, but not today. So the principals, the men and women principals of the English Departments of the Yeshivos and the Bais Yaakovs, should no longer send their pupils to the libraries.