The Info Lit of Quotes

two candles
By flotty (Bernd Scheumann), CC0 License, Retrieved from

As part of a Holiday gift I gave a pair of candles.  I included a slip which read, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”  When I had researched the quote’s source, I found conflicting answers.  How do we manage such inconsistencies (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016, Research as Inquiry section, Knowledge Practices subsection)?

I noticed that Fr. James Keller was named most often as the source.  Though the crowd’s knowledge is imperfect, the frequent answer hints at some shared understanding.  Besides, I had to start somewhere.

Among the sites naming Fr. Keller was Goodreads, a site known to librarians and bookworms.   Despite authority’s contextual nature (ACRL, 2016), the name recognition offers a  level of screening.

The Goodreads entry also linked to books by Fr. Keller.  Had time allowed, I could have consulted them.   Cross-checking is a classic information literacy move (ACRL, 2016, Research as Inquiry section, Knowledge Practices subsection).

I’ll close by thanking Rhea Côté Robbins of the Franco American Womens’ Institute.  She is fond of using the quote and made me think of it in the first place.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website :


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