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[Susan notes: I made extensive comment on what this letter is about at http://susanohanian.org/core.php?id=390 here.


Published in New York Post

To the editor

Mary McConnell Bailey's gift of $10 million to New York libraries is both sad and wonderful ( Life of golden silence, January 1).

Wonderful because Ms. Bailey understood the importance of libraries.

Sad because these kinds of donations are necessary. Libraries, school and public, are poorly supported, even though research consistently tells us that when children and adolescents have access to good libraries with plenty of good books and with adequate staffing, they read more. The result is that they do better on reading tests.

For those living in poverty, libraries are often the only source of reading material. The US now has the second highest level of poverty among all "economically advanced" countries, 23.1%: Nearly one in four children lives in poverty.

We keep complaining about children's low reading achievement, and we keep preventing them from improving by failing to support libraries.

>Importance of libraries:

Krashen, S., Lee, SY., and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.

Lance, K. C. The Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement. http://www.lrs.org/impact.php

Levels of child poverty: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (2012), 'Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world's rich countries', Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.

Stephen Krashen

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