I like public libraries. They are one of the very few services I do not mind paying taxes to support. In fact they along with the millitary, police, fire departments and hospitals are the only other services I happily support.
I despise public schools, along with the compulsion for children to be indoctronated by those most vile institutions. But that is the subject of another rant...
Public libraries are an entirely different thing. They are an exquisite example of a government service for the public good. They are a resource available to those who wish to better themselves regardless of means. The cost to individual taxpayers is miniscule. They are not compulsory, in that no one is forced to go to them. They provide resouces equally to all persons regardless of class, position, or stature.
Public libraries are indeed the truest form of government of the people, by the people, FOR the people. Those that wish to better themselves have a place to learn how and people (librarians) that will gladly help them help themselves. This is indeed the greatest spirit in which our (once) great country was founded. We are all better when any one of us, group of us, and/or all of us betters ourselves. And we each better all of us when we step up to help any one of us, group of us, or all of us to better ourselves.
None of us are perfect. Our nation is not perfect. We are striving to make "a more perfect union". That is our strength. We do not always succeed, but so long as we learn from our mistakes, we succeed in the long run.
Making available all available knowledge to all people, regardless of means, is a success unto itself. This is truly the hallmark of civilization.