Public libraries equal pure democracy at its finest. No wealth is necessary to take advantage of all libraries have to offer. And wow, they have a lot to offer. Books books books on everything and anything, available in hard copy and as audio books, ebooks, large print, and mp3 books to make sure you always have ENOUGH books while traveling.
There is a pure joy of vicarious adventures, learning about distant lands, quantum physics, or ANY TOPIC that exists in all of the accumulated human knowledge — preserved against all odds against deliberate destruction of libraries by savages and misfortunes and the ravages of time.
Neil Gaiman wrote the best essay ever on the value of public libraries in his book The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction. The definitive essay on the value of public libraries and several more on the value of libraries and librarians are a MUST READ by anyone, even someone who (gasp) does not YET use the library. Here is a link to a talk he gave on the value of reading.
Public libraries provide the gift of knowledge, other points of view, and time travel. You can learn how people lived through biography and history. Entertainment of story books in a never ending supply of children’s books that grow with children as they age are available for free at public libraries. Looking for travel ideas, they have books for that.
Public libraries are more than books now. TV shows and movies — available in multiple languages — music, newspapers, computer rooms, Internet connections, movie nights, activities, and so much more.
The public library is a community place where everyone can meet and participate equally. Escape into science fiction, or learn about quantum physics, both are possible at the public library.