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Let's hear it for school libraries

To the editor: I was thrilled to read Rebecca Constantino's plea for school libraries. ("LAUSD's students need better libraries, not iPads," Op-Ed, Sept. 14)

Just imagine 28 books — the state school library association standard — available to every child, and adults to guide students in their choice of books. What a difference in literacy that would make. Students could share information, make discoveries, be inspired, find role models, obtain new ideas, appreciate illustrations and be excited.

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They might even be so enthralled by a book that they would take it home and never return it. That would be proof that the book was important to them.

Let's stop focusing on providing all students with iPads and return to "sustained silent reading" — a time in the classroom when everyone, including the teacher, sat and appreciated a book. Even if the student just looked at pictures, that was important. The screen was in the student's brain and one's imagination was stimulated.

That is what I call back to basics.

Frances Goldstein, Sherman Oaks

The writer is a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher.

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To the editor: Whether Constantino likes it or not, LAUSD Supt. John Deasy has at least one thing right: iPads and similar products are the future, because of the simple fact that a tablet computer is a library plus much more.

Where the whole thing blows up is in trying to make students rather than parents accountable. Providing free iPads is like providing free ice cream. The novelty soon wears off and students are looking either for second cones or for games on the iPad.

Why not provide indigent parents with a subsidy to buy an iPad or similar product for their student, with the understanding that this was to enhance their student's education? Better, make it a long-term loan to be paid back, under contract, by parent and student over time.

If a parent knows some of his money is at stake, chances are better that the student will be held accountable for usage.

Peter S. Krimmel, Glendora

The writer is a retired math teacher.

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To the editor: Constantino's Op-Ed article is wonderful, but it desperately needs some qualifications.

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Apple iPads are only great learning tools if they're in the right hands with teachers who excite students about learning with tablets. Libraries, likewise, are only great if teachers excite their students about the wonders of using libraries to learn.

Steven B. Oppenheimer, Northridge

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

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