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[Susan notes: People who don't know anything about a topic, such as what librarians do in schools, should keep their mouths shut. But when the newspaper calls, few do. Ze'ev Wurman's remarks to the reporter were really outrageous,saying, "In the elementary grades especially, librarians are essentially teacher's aides, doing a variety of things that have little to do with books or literacy, per se."


Published in San Francisco Chronicle

To the editor

According to the Chronicle, Ze'ev Wurman thinks that "access to books is not a problem" because of one finding in one report produced by the US Government ("Fewer California schools have trained librarians," Jan 2, 2012). This is like dismissing global warming because yesterday was cold. And it is counter to the results of a multitude of studies.

Numerous scientific studies published in professional journals have confirmed that children of poverty have little access to reading material: They have fewer books in the home, live in neighborhoods with inferior public libraries and fewer bookstores, and attend schools with inferior classroom and school libraries.

Studies also show that increasing access to books increases the amount of reading they do, and increased reading leads to improved achievement in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.

Confirming the importance of access are the numerous studies of the impact of libraries: Keith Curry Lance and others have shown in a number of carefully done studies that better libraries mean higher scores on reading tests.

The relationship of access to books to literacy development is one of the best-established results in all of educational research.

Stephen Krashen

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