When I give talks to library groups, I always finish by reminding librarians that they're powerful advocates for fair use and privacy, because "you look like a total jerk when you criticize librarians."
Case in point: this Fox Chicago piece proposing that Illinois shut down its library system:
But keeping libraries running costs big money. In Chicago, the city pumps $120 million a year into them. In fact, a full 2.5 percent of our yearly property taxes go to fund them.
That's money that could go elsewhere – like for schools, the CTA, police or pensions
One of the nation's biggest and busiest libraries is the $144-million Harold Washington Library in the Loop. It boasts a staggering 5,000 visitors a day!.
I also always open my library talks with a joke: "You know, with library budgets on the chopping block and Wall Street thriving, there's only one answer: securitize bonds based on library fines!"
Once again, Fox comes through:
We know we spend a lot on them. But libraries do bring in some revenue: more than $2 million in fines is collected annually by Chicago public libraries.
Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money?
(Image: St. Thomas Public Library, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from bluefootedbooby's photostream)