Your editorial lamented the closing of the Shasta public libraries. On the opposite page Chester E. Finn Jr. and Diane Ravitch reminded us that the schools job is to "transmit the knowledge that can open doors."
Yet the children of Shasta and other cities across California have little access to that knowledge in its most accessible form, the school library. The majority of the districts in California do not provide school libraries for children in grades first through eighth. A recent report from the state superintendent of public instruction's office reinforces what a federal report revealed last year. California has the lowest level of library service to school children in the nation.
Children learn to read in their first years of school. They acquire the habit of reading during the middle grades. It is during these years that the habit of reading for pleasure and the skills to discover knowledge are most easily acquired. But if the parents don't do it, the public library closes and the elementary school library never even opened, then we cannot be too surprised when our children think the Emancipation Proclamation is a hard-rock band.
RICHARD K. MOORE