A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 17, 2020
“You can’t learn to swim in a library”

One learns to swim by getting in the water. It is often said that you cannot learn to swim by watching, or by reading a book about swimming in the library. The saying about swimming has been used to describe learning in general.

“You can’t learn to swim by reading a book and you can’t learn to speak French easily unless you get out and speak it” was printed in the Ottawa (ON) Journal on January 25, 1963. “You can’t learn to swim on a library table” was printed in the Lawton (OK) Constitution on October 22, 1976. The saying is not known to have a particular author.


Newspapers.com
25 January 1963, Ottawa (ON) Journal, “Classroom French Is Not Sufficient,” pg. 37, col. 4:
“You can’t learn to swim by reading a book and you can’t learn to speak French easily unless you get out and speak it.”

Newspapers.com
22 October 1976, Lawton (OK) Constitution, pg. 9, col. 1 ad:
You can’t learn to swim on a library table. Get some experience while learning an exciting profession.
Eve’s College of Hairstyling

Newspapers.com
5 July 1978, The Herald-News (Passaic, NJ), “Gifted program seen a model” by J. D. Lasica, pg. B-1, col. 2:
“You can’t learn how to swim by reading a book,” he said analogized.

Google Books
Cal
Volume 42
1978
Pg. 4:
You can’t learn to swim, even by reading the best books on that topic, for you must finally get into the water!

Google Groups: comp.lang.c++
C vs C++
Eric Smith
3/15/93
(...)
The best way to really appreciate the C++ features is to actually use them.  Just like you can’t learn to swim by reading a book about swimming.

Google Groups: misc.kids.pregnancy
Should I ditch my TV?
KAH
1/31/95
(...)
You can’t learn to swim from reading a book, and you can’t learn to read from watching TV.

March 1999, Psychologist (Leicester, UK), “Why I study...social skills” by Michael Argyle, pg. 142:
I wrote some books, hoping that some might read and profit; but if social behaviour is a skill it needs actual practice - you can’t learn to swim by reading books about it

Twitter
BHC
@urtheboss
I said to someone today ..you can’t learn to swim by reading a book.Business is the same!!
12:01 PM · Mar 16, 2010·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
The Hotdogjudge
@hotdogjudge
OH by @markmedia at #himc “You can’t learn to swim by reading a book. Get in and try. If you don’t drown learn to swim. Do it.” #socialmedia
7:00 PM · Jun 17, 2010·Echofon

Twitter
The Art of RAPPORT
@theartofrapport
You can’t learn to swim by reading a book; you have to get in the water.
http://www.artofrapport.co.uk/two_day_interactive_course.html
3:40 AM · Jul 7, 2010·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Annelies Gallagher
@AnneliesGallagh
#quoteoftheday: You can’t learn to swim in a library
5:50 AM · Jun 13, 2012·Twitter Web Client

20 November 2013, The Morning Star (Vernon, BC), “Classical Notes: Cannons fired for YSO’s birthday” by Jim Elderton, pg. A13:
Describing the dedication of the young players, Thomson reminded us: “You can’t learn to swim in the library, you’ve got to get into the pool!”

Google Books
How to Beat the Market Makers at Their Own Game:
Uncovering the Mysteries of Day Trading

By Fausto Pugliese
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
2014
Pg. 88:
You can’t learn to swim by merely reading a book about it.

WRCBtv (Chattanooga, TN)
Dalton high schoolers investigate mock crime scene
It’s all about learning by doing in a new curriculum adopted by Dalton Public Schools called “Studio E” and it’s being phased in as a trial year with MIHS freshmen.

Thursday, August 14th 2014, 1:35 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 14th 2014, 2:21 PM EDT
(...)
“It’s more like we’re doing it and learning it rather than reading about it and learning it. I mean, you can’t learn to swim in a library. You have to do it in the pool,” said freshman Ashley Bryant.

Facebook
Beardhawk Coffee
September 18, 2017 ·
YOU CAN’T LEARN TO SWIM IN A LIBRARY

Forbes
Jul 16, 2020,09:00am EDT
Fed Up With Your Job? How To Learn A New Skill And Pivot Fast
Stephanie Burns
(...)
“I love the saying ‘you can’t learn to swim in a library’. Learning is important, but ‘doing’ is what really cements knowledge deep in our psyches,” says Henderson.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Friday, July 17, 2020 • Permalink