"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The case for libraries

The Case for Libraries

Sent to the San Diego Union Tribune

"When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself." (Isaac Asimov)

The mayor's budget experts who want to cut public library funding should consider the extraordinary amount of research on the impact of libraries on children.

Of the many items in the San Diego Union over the last few days about libraries (“Sanders to propose deep cuts to parks, libraries,” April 15; "Community life thrives at endangered public libraries," April 16; Letters, April 16), only Pam Munoz Ryan ("Improving literacy through school libraries," April 16) mentioned these studies: They show 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.

We complain that children don’t read well enough, but we make it impossible for them to improve.

Stephen Krashen

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