Letters: Post Offices

Guy Raz reads emails from listeners.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz. And it's time now for your emails - no postage required - which is partly why we ran yesterday's story about the decline of the U.S. Postal Service. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue says the postal service is hurting and needs more flexibility to operate as a business.

PATRICK DONAHUE: Most retail companies would close retail stores that fail to turn a profit. Roughly 25,000 out of our 32,000 post offices operate at a loss.

RAZ: But Steven Carr of northern Virginia writes: Ben Franklin founded the post office and our first library as part of his effort to make the country the most literate, educated, and connected nation in the world. Carr adds: To this day the U.S. Postal Service still delivers printed matter at or below cost. The post office even has free service for the blind. Ben Franklin's mission was not to make a profit for the post office, but to make a better nation.

We also heard from Evan Kalish, who's been photographing post offices all over the country. How many, exactly?

EVAN KALISH: The present count is 2,745.

RAZ: And that inspired Carl Backman of Auburn, Alabama, to share some numbers of his own. He writes: As a sometime statistician and sometime Nevadan, my all-time favorite small town post office was in the tiny northeastern Nevada town of Jarbidge, where a sign announced: U.S. Post Office, Jarbidge, Nevada. Elevation: 6,200. Population: 16, plus or minus. Total: 6,216. It kills me that I do not have a photograph of that marvelous sign. Well, no matter the total, we'll always count on your letters. So please keep writing. Go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us.

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