A few years ago I joined the library board for my small Ohio county. I knew how important I thought libraries were and I knew how important they had always been to me ... but it is through this volunteer job that I've learned how truly important a library is to everyone else.
In our area, we have a large Amish population. It isn't uncommon to see an Amish family show up at the library and leave with 40-50 books and magazines. Every month I hear great stories about how someone needed help navigating a job application website or wanted to know where to find information on their family history or even how to learn to knit (because a first grandchild is on the way and every kid deserves a baby blanket!).
In our area, plenty of levies got turned down over the last couple years, but we put a new levy on the ballot when the state cut our funding heavily ... and it passed with a very comfortable margin. Sure, we have a few people that say libraries are out-moded or that libraries should stick with books and not embrace new technologies (Kindles and movies on DVD/Blu-ray usually get specific callouts by these folks). But most of our voters seemed to think the libraries were valuable enough to fund even when their own funds were tight.
It makes me proud that I get to say I had something to do with it when someone says they took their kids to storytime or stopped by the library and picked up a book or two to get through some cold winter nights.
Libraries are important to Americans ... and important to America.