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Award-winning children\'s book author and National Children\'s Book and Literacy Alliance founder Mary Brigid Barrett will make the case for improving school libraries this Saturday at the National Book Festival in Washington:
Libraries and librarians are in the forefront of literacy outreach, Barrett says. While organizations that give children books are providing a valuable service, they can never replace libraries. \'\'Giving a child one or two books is like giving him one free breakfast when he\'s starving,\'\' she said. School libraries are particularly needed today, because most children cannot walk to their public libraries. Libraries in urban areas may present a safety threat, and in rural areas, the distances are often too great.
Barrett says that her work with senators Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, on legislation to increase funding for school libraries has revealed some disturbing information . . .