With all the news about Bernard Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford, we might forget that America's real favorite Ponzi scheme is the public library.
Remember what very few people bothered to ask Madoff a few years before his whole fraud collapsed: "How is it that you continue to offer such consistently steady returns while others around you are failing?" It is not uncommon for libraries to boast an increase of 15-20 or even 50%, crediting these figures on "Internet" use, "bathroom" use, and people generally losing their jobs and all their worldly possessions and having no place else to go.
While all is collapsing, libraries thrive.
How do libraries continue to provide such excellent service when the local Starbucks has just closed? I mean, Starbucks charged $4 for a cup of coffee, didn't they make enough profit to keep these stores viable? What are libraries doing that's so much better?
Well, the secret is that libraries take your money and your neighbor's money and your other neighbor, well not them because they rent, but their landlord's money and then libraries buy books and other materials with it. And the libraries even borrow more money and build more libraries and then make you and your neighbors and the landlord pay it back for them. How great is that?
Libraries don't need to charge $4 for a cup of coffee because as long as you live and breathe, you will pay for libraries.