PUBYAC list-serv a post asking about using a Cricut or similar machine in a library setting. I thought some others might be interested in what I had to say. Here is an edited version of what I responded with. Remember this is just my personal experience at home and work.
I have a Cricut Expression at home (bought it in September 2010). The first one I bought at our local big box store, and it was a lemon. But ProvoCraft's customer service was very good about getting this fixed for me after I sent in the machine to them. My replacement machine works very well and I have enjoyed using it.
There is now a newer version of the Expression (which I have not researched). After seeing some of the things mine can do, my director purchased an Expression for our library this spring. You can see some of my projects for yourself on my blog: http://sotomorrow.blogspot.
So far we mostly use the Cricut for bulletin boards and aisle markers. I have plans to use it for felt board stories, name tags, and other projects, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
Would it be able to withstand cutting out 25-50 shapes on a weekly basis? I don't expect it to be as fast as a rolling die cutter, but is it relatively speedy?
What kind of maintenance does it require? Can parts be replaced, or are you stuck buying a new machine when pieces wear out?
Can you use other materials besides paper?
Would you buy it again, if given the chance?