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FROM THIS EPISODE

Benjamin Franklin started America's first free lending library, and the Founders believed that access to information was essential to democracy. Now the City of Los Angeles is saving money by shutting down all public libraries two days a week to save money. We hear from librarians and library users.  Also, the suicide of a 5th grade boy who killed himself after LA County social workers went to his home but decided not to take action. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, this year's Shanghai Expo celebrates China's extraordinary pace of economic development. The US barely showed up.  Does that half-hearted effort reveal more than an image problem? Should Americans and their leaders sit up and take notice?    

Banner: Greg Grunberg reads to a student from Selma Avenue Elementary School at the Central branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Producers:
Darrell Satzman
Frances Anderton

Reporter's Notebook Do Libraries Really Matter? 11 MIN, 1 SEC

The City of Los Angeles has constructed four new libraries and renovated 28 more with money passed by the voters in 1998. Now, instead of being open seven days a week, it's closing the Central Library, eight regional libraries and 64 community branches on Sundays and Mondays. We hear from the President of the Librarians' Guild and our own Darrell Satzman, who visited libraries in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills to get the reaction to the two-day-a-week shutdown.

Guests:
Roy Stone, President, Librarians' Guild
Darrell Satzman, Associate News Producer

Main Topic The Shanghai Expo and America's Economic Decline 26 MIN, 39 SEC

Last year, on her first trip overseas as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton went to China, where she wanted to talk about trade and the exchange rate.  Chinese leaders wanted to find out why the US had no plans for a pavilion at this year's Shanghai Expo, the biggest thing of its kind in human history.

Guests:
David Hendricks, Business Writer, San Antonio Express-News
Mina Chow, Filmmaker, 'FACE of a Nation'
Harold Meyerson, Washington Post (@haroldmeyerson)
Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (@econjared)
Robert Boege, Executive Director, Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America

Main Topic Boy's Death Highlights Problems at Children and Family Services 14 MIN, 58 SEC

An 11-year-old 5th grader in Montebello hanged himself last month, just hours after Los Angeles County social workers visited his home because a school counselor had been told that same day he had threatened suicide. We hear from Garrett Therolf, who reported the tragic story for the LA Times, and from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Guests:
Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times (@gtherolf)
Mark Ridley-Thomas, LA County Board of Supervisors (@mridleythomas)

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