To the editor:

Ingha Chopra (Letters, May 23) points out that The Santa Monica Public Library cut 45% of their library staff last spring and the proposed budget for the next two years “will not bring back our library.” This is a mistake. We are all concerned about learning loss these days: Now is not the time to severely weaken a powerful way of preventing it, especially in light of new research suggesting that simply adding more time in school doesn’t help. Supporting the library and librarians definitely can help.

Here is what the research says about reading, libraries and librarians:

Self-selected pleasure reading is our major source of literacy development: More self-selected pleasure reading results in better reading, and writing, as well as more knowledge of subjects taught in school (history and science).

In agreement with these findings, researchers have reported “a strong positive link” between circulation of children’s materials by public libraries on a major national reading test (NAEP), and a significant relationship between reading test performance and attendance at children’s programs in public libraries.

We also know that children get a great deal of their voluntary reading material from libraries.

Public librarians are directly responsible for maintaining and developing book collections, library programs, and helping children find the right books for then.

Ms. Chopra is right: restoring funding for school librarians to normal is imperative.

Stephen Krashen, Santa Monica