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[Susan notes: For years, California has underfunded and then closed school libraries. Now they're delivering the death blow to public libraries too. Stephen Krashen's letter shows the results.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published
03/06/2011

To the editor

Pico Iyer is right about the importance of supporting libraries ("Sanctuary amid the stacks," March 6). Missing from his argument, however, is the impact of libraries on children.



Studies shows that when children have access to good public and/or school libraries with plenty of good books and with adequate staffing, they read more, and thus do better on reading tests. For children of poverty, public and school libraries are typically the only possible source of reading material.



In the 2010 America's Most Literate Cities report, Los Angeles placed 70th out of 75 cities in public library quality. California has the worst-supported school libraries in the country and LAUSD does not even fund school librarians in elementary schools.



No wonder reading test scores are so low in Los Angeles and in California in general.

Stephen Krashen


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