In the 2009 America's Most Literate Cities report, six California cities placed in the bottom seven places in public library quality: Bakersfield (69th), Los Angeles (70th), Anaheim (71st), Sacramento (72nd), Stockton (74th) and Santa Ana (75th).
California also has the worst-supported school libraries in the country, in terms of both holdings and staffing.
Study after study shows that library quality is related to higher scores on reading tests. It is therefore not surprising that California children do poorly on reading tests: Children get better in reading by reading a lot, and they read more when they have access to books.
Let's divert some of the huge sums spent on testing to funding libraries. Let's invest in promoting learning, not just measuring it.
The writer is a professor emeritus at USC's Rossier School of Education.
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