Library News

Don't Cut Library Hours

Tuesday, August 5, 2008; A18

As a longtime teacher, I was distressed to read of the District's plan to reduce public library hours [Metro, July 30]. This article appeared on the same page as several rather grim stories about violence in our area. Do we see no connection between illiteracy and antisocial behavior?

And we do have a staggering illiteracy rate. According to the Washington Literacy Council, 37 percent of the city's adult population reads at the lowest literacy level and 20 percent of D.C. children live in homes in which the head of the household hasn't completed high school. Shortening library hours should be the last thing we do.

If the District can't come up with the funding for an adequate library staff, why don't our leaders organize volunteers to fill in? Many retired teachers and librarians in the District are still eager to serve. Such an initiative might even raise the level of discourse on the D.C. Council, as well as provide a means for the more and less affluent to bond in a common pursuit.