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[Susan notes: I was dumbstruck when I read of the Gwinnett County library system's decision to buy no more adult fiction in Spanish, despite the fact that one in six county residents is Latino. Fortunately, Mary Mageean Morado was not dumbstruck and wrote a fine letter.]

Submitted to Chicago Sun-Times but not published

To the editor

It deeply saddens me to see your county's refusal to purchase adult library materials in Spanish. Regardless of the misguided racist views of some members of the community, purchasing materials in languages other than English is not catering to undocumented immigrants. As an adult learner of Spanish, access to enjoyable reading materials in that language has been one of the keys to my success to communicating in Spanish. The miniscule percentage that the library had scheduled to spend on adult Spanish titles (less than .5% of the total budget or $12,000 of a $2.2 million budget)represents a much smaller percentage of the tax revenues than your Latino population contributes to your local government in taxes. (One of six of the local residents is Latino.)

Once again, how very sad and silly it is that the actions of your local government reinforce the stereotypes of the Southeastern region as ignorant and backward. Make an informed decision. Much research has been done regarding the acquisition of a second language through pleasure reading. An excellent source of this information to assist you in making more informed decisions would be The Power of Reading by Dr. Steven Krashen from USC.

Libraries are the key to our common success as a society. Don't waste their potential by using them as a weapon to punish taxpayers who because of their legal status are not as empowered as your board members.

Mary Mageean Morado

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