CinDC at Pencil Crossings answered these questions for Library Week, which I missed because I was away at stitching camp. But since I make love to a librarian (ok, library student) I thought I'd answer them too.
How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?
I take out all kinds of books from my library on a fairly regular basis. I try to always vet craft books instead of buying them and being disappointed. Of course, eleventy years of grad school gets you in the habit of using libraries, public and otherwise.
I remember once at a faculty meeting someone said that amazon had replaced the library as a place to research "the literature" (you know all the books ever written about whatever subject). Much easier, more thorough, and more books at hand, so to speak. But I don't think bookstores, even virtual ones--can replace libraries. First of all, there aren't a lot of bookstores that let you read and return books. There aren't even as many bookstores as there used to be. And fewer bookstores, no matter how behemoth they may be, mean fewer choices.
I don't remember going to the library a lot as a child, but I don't remember having a lot of books either. I did, however, read volumes. I think I relied on the school library, but I'm sure my mother will tell you that she took me to the library. I started going to the public library in high school because my high school's library had ancient out of date books that were guarded by a nun nearly as ancient. In college, I went to the public library on rare occasions. In those days there wasn't a bookstore in the town. Or in any nearby town. And we couldn't order off the internet either. I rarely studied in my school's "modern" library, choosing Haverford's dark and cozy library instead. (Pictured. I remember it as dark because when I wasn't in "the ship," I was in the smoker.)
I think the dude's studies have led me to have a better appreciation for the scope of the library's mission and the way it can/does serve as a community center.