Public libraries for tools?

Noah writes to me:

Big fan of the blog.  I was wondering whether there’s a reason other than historical accident why the public library model only exists for media like books and music.  I understand the argument that books produce a social benefit that the government should be in the business of subsidizing, but surely there must be other goods with that kind of benefit that can be similarly lent out.  Take the example of tools, most of which are rarely used.  Is there a public good in having a mechanically-fluent citizenry that would justify a system of public tool libraries?  Or is there anything else you think it would make sense to build libraries around?

Reserves, it would seem, and maybe they will waive the overdue fines as well and perhaps even the lost reserves fines.  Mark Thoma ponders an AIG bail-out.


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