Looking at the fact that the state of affairs in most libraries is messy, to say the least, this question is obvious.
Today's situation of libraries, that are working without budgets, many of them without qualified librarians, without increasing books, are bound to result in decreasing number of users.
And, then, people say "Why should we spend more on libraries, when there are decreasing number of users ?".
This situation is quiet confusing for many, but, I see it differently.
My view start from the fact a Book represents human knowledge and hence the Books represent collective human knowledge.
This collective knowledge is the base from where the next generation of learners (readers) begin their learning.
When books are kept together, it becomes a library.
Hence, if a library is well-equipped, books are increased frequently, its a good starting point for the learners to learn and grow better than the last generation.
This view gives shows me the importance of Libraries.
If Libraries are well-equipped, learners have a better environment to learn and many reasons to be in the Library.
If Libraries are inter-connected, readers can search and find books across Libraries.
If Libraries are managed by qualified librarians, the learners will get better guidance.
The importance can be understood by a statement I heard recently "If a research is completed without the help of a librarian, it is most probably a copied material".
I think we can easily conclude that if Education is required, Libraries (collection of books) are a must.
We, at BestBookBuddies.com are working to assist institutions have their libraries automated and connected without cost. Your participation, suggestions are welcome.