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by Abigail Van Buren

Rewards of Reading Outweigh Late Fees for Overdue Books

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for putting in a good word for libraries, and for exposing children to them.

During World War II, my first library was a very small room on the upper floor of the old Grange Hall in the little village of Savona, N.Y. Since it was close to my home, I was allowed to go there alone and choose my own books, even before I went to school. My family would read the stories to me.

Those trips to the library were magical. I bless the people who established that small library. Parents, please love your children enough to take them to your local library, and read to them! -- HELEN I. FRANCIS, SILVER CITY, N.M.

DEAR HELEN: You have made a good point. It reminds me of a stanza from a wonderful poem, "The Reading Mother," by Strickland Gillilan, that has appeared in this column a number of times:

"You may have tangible wealth untold,

"Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

"Richer than I you can never be --

"I had a mother who read to me."