Originally Posted by Gantrioch
My problem with public libraries is that mostly what they carry is trash reading. I know public libraries that have a larger fiction section than the non-fiction and reference sections put together. Now, there's nothing wrong with that; in fact, I probably read more trash books than anyone else. But when you need to do some real research, especially science (i.e. chemistry), public libraries have such limited resources that you're forced to go to a local university, which, for many people, isn't so local.
I'm not certain what you mean by "trash" reading, but if you mean primarily popular reading, usually fiction, then I agree that most community libraries tend to carry that in more of an abundance than they do the research volumes you refer to. The reason is simply DEMAND -- local libraries respond to popular demand, which is usually for "lighter" reading material. Larger cities of course will have a Main or Central library which tends to house harder science texts and the like. The limited funding that many community libraries face often limits their ability to subscribe to some scientific journals as well to purchase updated science texts. So, instead they opt to have more popular offerings and leave the "heavy" burden to the university, law, and medical libraries. As they say, it is about the benjies... (money, that is).