Libraries are so much more than buildings that house books (or computers for free Internet access). They are also a link between the general public and the artistic community. This link provides entertainment and education to the public, often for free, while giving wider exposure to the creative output of writers, painters, poets, dancers, musicians, and more - all while garnering greater attention for libraries.
Award-winning author Toni Morrison at the New York Public Library in 2010.
photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/livefromthenypl
Underscoring the vital connection between the arts, the people, and libraries is a new project called Library as Incubator. A trio of library school students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison started the project in 2011 in reaction to budget cuts to both the arts and to libraries. They realized that a partnership between libraries and the arts would buoy both and benefit the public. Erinn Batykefer, one of the students who founded Library as Incubator, discussed the project in a Huffington Post article that I've reposted below.
Huffington Post * December 29, 2011
Art Incubators: How Libraries Offer More Than Books
By Erinn Batykefer