Here's an interesting library story... Worchester (Mass.?) wants to ask local colleges to help pay for the public libraries. This seems ridiculous to me, though I was very disappointed to see how short the article was. There was a study that showed the city spent $1.5 million responding to local colleges and fraternities... how much of that was library services? I rarely used the public libraries when I was in undergrad or grad school, and I think very, very few of our students use the local public library even for its excellent (and free) movie collection, and it's only a block and a half from campus!
I do think that colleges and universities should consider voluntarily paying local taxes even if they are non-profit institutions. We do draw on the city's police and fire services, snow clearing services, trash removal if that's a government service locally, etc. I know our college pays a certain amount voluntarily. But higher education is in a financial crisis in the same sense that health care is. Tuition jumps 6-10% every year and most administrators are really doing everything they can to prevent this exorbitant inflation. I love libraries, but unless someone can prove our students are using the local public libraries, I think it's silly to ask the colleges to pay for them.