Photo wasn't encouraging

My adult kids had the good sense to instill a love of reading books into their young children (now ages 10 and 13) before teaching them the joys and challenges of using computers. Their young teen's computer skills clearly surpass my own, but we share the joy of reading books — actual printed books — for pleasure. They began with picture books while being held close to a loving adult, and continue making regular trips to their local library for books.

Your recent article, "Libraries good for the economy" (March 21) features a large photo of a 3-year old child connected to a computer — one hand on the earphones, the other on the mouse. The caption says he is playing a computer game at the Medford Branch Library. Our reaction was, "Oh my, are we sending toddlers directly to computer games and bypassing books?"

Clearly our children need to develop computer skills. With ready access to social media, they must also learn what content is appropriate to post on websites. But promoting the enjoyment of reading books — even if only picture books at first — should be a primary objective of our libraries' programs for children. The photo you featured was not encouraging. — Betty R. Kazmin, Medford

Specifics, not platitudes

In his weekly statement in the March 10 Mail Tribune, Sen. Alan Bates tells us the proposed budget is a "turning point." He supports the proposal to increase spending through "closure of loopholes" and "strategic reductions." He tells us he will "continue to push for government efficiencies, closing wasteful tax loopholes, and PERS reform."

When Bates says "Oregonians ... will need to join in the effort to stabilize and reinvest in our schools while keeping other services intact," I hear it coming — tax increases! Also, I have learned not to trust this sort of rhetoric from politicians who are careful to avoid specifics so that what they say sounds good to everyone.

Senator Bates, what are you talking about? Give us specifics, not platitudes please. — Valerie T. Smullen, Central Point

Lawmakers don't listen

Whatever you believe about the need for new gun control laws, isn't it interesting that 90 percent of the population can be in favor of something — such as a law requiring more strict and comprehensive background checks — and yet there's not a chance in hell that our elected representatives in government will listen to us?

The reason is that the true constituents of our "elected" representatives are not we the people, but rather the big corporations, lobbies and special interests who provide the money that really gets them elected. Is this the government our forefathers envisioned? — Barry Trowbridge, Ashland

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