Children need books and librarians to give guidance in...

Letters to the Editor

June 22, 1998

Children need books and librarians to give guidance in reading

I read with dismay your editorial on school libraries ("Empty library shelves are an embarrassment," June 15). It is shocking to learn that libraries are in such a hopeless mess, but urging citizens to donate money to buy books is throwing good money after bad.

Books do not a library make. Books are barely the beginning. Who will select and order them, catalog them, shelve them, mend them and work with teachers and students to identify books that support classroom projects and programs? Who will say, "Here's the perfect book for Bobby -- it's at his reading level, and I know he loves dogs"? Good librarians do these things -- and much more.

As a reading teacher, I relied upon librarians to help identify books my timid students could read and enjoy. They called these the "want to read" books. It took a long time to catch up on the skills necessary for them to tackle the "have to read" books they confronted in their classrooms. The "want to read" books kept them interested and feeling successful as readers and as people. I don't know what I would have done without the expertise of the librarian and access to the right books.

Children enjoy reading when they have books at their reading level on topics they care about. To teach the mechanics of reading, phonics instruction works best with kids who are auditory learners, whole language works well with visual learners. An instructional program that includes both should succeed with most students.

An elementary school without a librarian has no soul. A school library without books has no place in American education.

Susan Baukhages

Baltimore

Response was predictable to heroin maintenance idea

The reaction of politicians to the Hopkins scientist's proposal for a "heroin maintenance" study was entirely predictable. An understanding of the purpose and possibilities of the study required a few moments of thought and evaluation.

Since most people react emotionally to any action involving dangerous drugs, candidates for public office have to condemn any suggestion that an unemotional, serious look at the subject of addiction is worthwhile. This is especially true if it involves needle exchange or free drugs.

Imagine the criticism Ellen Sauerbrey could have aimed at Gov. Parris N. Glendening had he not condemned the idea.

Carleton W. Brown

Elkton

Endorsement from Taylor written on prohibited paper

Recently, Maryland House Speaker Casper Taylor endorsed the governor's re-election bid. He spoke of the "shared leadership" between him and Gov. Parris N. Glendening ("Taylor endorses Glendening, lauds two men's 'shared leadership,' " June 16).

Mr. Taylor has for years criticized the governor for ethical misconduct, yet apparently he fails to take to heart his own criticisms. The speaker endorsed Mr. Glendening on General Assembly letterhead, a violation of legislative ethics.

According to the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, "the official General Assembly stationery should not be used for campaign or fund-raising purposes." When questioned about his action, Mr. Taylor stated, "If I violated some kind of ethics guideline, I honestly violated it unintentionally."

I merely point to this latest example as a demonstration of abuse of power by Democrats during their rule in the legislature. Mr. Taylor has served in the House since 1975 and has been speaker since 1994. This is the same man who appointed a committee this year to look at the ethics code. He should know the rules governing ethical campaigns by memory.

I urge the voters to disregard Mr. Taylor's endorsement. His actions demonstrate that he is one of the many Democratic legislators who abuse their office to get what they want.

Joyce Lyons Terhes

Annapolis

The writer is chairwoman of the Maryland Republican Party.

State must answer the call from telecommunications

Enough "woe is me" editorials ("Ciena, we hardly knew ye," June 13).

Tellabs' acquisition of Ciena has nothing to do with the fact that Ciena is in Maryland or that Tellabs is in Illinois. It has everything to do with access to technology, increasing market share and meeting customer needs worldwide.

Tellabs is a very proud and successful company that is one of the premier telecom equipment manufacturing companies in the world today. The company was founded in Illinois more than 20 years ago, so it is not going anywhere.

It speaks volumes of the company's sensitivities that it has agreed that Ciena Chief Executive Officer Patrick Nettles, who becomes Tellabs' president and chief operating officer, will stay in Maryland. In fact, Ciena's operations in Linthicum have been designated as Tellabs' new optical networking center of excellence. This means that all the people and the technology stays in Maryland.

Maryland has never had a coherent policy toward the telecommunications industry. The telecom hotbeds are in New Jersey, northern Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and Illinois.

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