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The Impact of Shasta County Library Closure

December 18, 1988

Our organization is a coalition of Literacy Volunteers of America literacy programs in Orange County, all affiliated with local libraries. At our November board meeting, we discussed, with great dismay, The Times article (Nov. 17) about the closing of the Shasta County Library.

These days when the subject of illiteracy is so prominent in the headlines, we could hardly believe that any county in America, never mind in California, could sit back and allow its libraries to die. We feel that, especially in a county like Shasta, which has 21,000 adult functional illiterates, libraries should only go down with the whole ship, rather than be the first to be jettisoned in a money crunch.

Shasta may get exactly what it is paying for--poorer education, higher illiteracy rates, and increased poverty of both the intellectual and the economic kinds. Since Benjamin Franklin first introduced the concept of free public libraries, the nation has wholeheartedly adopted them as indispensable to the democratic way of life, which requires a literate, informed and educated electorate.

The LVA-Orange County members decided, therefore, to contribute $100 to the Fall River Valley Library Corp. in support of and as a salute to the efforts of those Fall River Valley citizens to fill the gap created by the closure of the county libraries. We are also encouraging each of our eight LVA affiliates to consider making a separate contribution to this cause.

We look forward to the day when education and literacy are held in the highest priority by the people as well as their governments at all levels, which they must be in order to escape the "rising tide of mediocrity" described in "A Nation at Risk," the 1983 report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.

LINDA LIGHT

Vice President

Literacy Volunteers of America Inc.

Huntington Beach

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