Doomsayers continue to predict the death of the book and the demise of reading. And yet, in spite of horrendous cutbacks in funding, our local libraries have good news to share. Story hours and reading programs are flourishing in libraries all over Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
And a report from the American Library Assn. states that more children participated in summer reading programs than played Little League baseball. Librarians also report there are hundreds of people on the reserve lists for popular novels.
Meanwhile, please note that the Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave., is offering preschool story times every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. And the staff is also planning a special program for children 8 and older at 3 p.m. Wednesday when Dorothea Phelan will dress in Native American costume and perform Chumash coyote stories.
Private investigator Joe Valintinetti will introduce his first novel, "Glint," (featuring amateur sleuth Quitman O'Neil) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Ventura Bookstore, 522 E. Main St.
Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., Ventura, has an eclectic selection of literary events on the menu. Bring the children to hear storyteller Debbie Emmons in the guise of Mother Goose at 7 p.m. Friday. And meet Channel 4 anchorwoman Kelly Lange, who will sign her first novel "Trophy Wife" at 1 p.m. Saturday. In addition, Tantra Sand will perform the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Mysterious happenings are in the wind at Mysteries to Die For, 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Christine Jorgensen will sign "You Bet Your Life" at noon on Saturday. And Wendy Hornsby has delivered the latest Maggie MacGowen mystery, "77 Street Requiem," which she will sign at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The deadline is Oct. 27 to enter the Barnes & Noble Young Poets Night competition, open to high school juniors and seniors. Guidelines are available at the bookstore, 4360 E. Main St. Winners will receive a gift certificate, a copy of "Poets Market '95" and an opportunity to read their poetry at a special presentation.
UP THE COAST: If you are wrestling with a book concept, have an unpublished manuscript or a published book that needs marketing, consider attending the "Book Writing and Promoting" seminar from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, conducted by Dan Poynter. He's the author of 70 books including "The Self-Publishing Manual" and "Is There a Book Inside You?"
Poynter's seminar will explore literary agents, choosing between large or small niche publishers, self-publishing, and promoting through print and TV/radio interviews. Sponsored by the Earthling Bookshop and Karpeles Manuscript Library of Santa Barbara, the $75 fee includes a buffet lunch at the Earthling and a tour of the library. Call 965-0926 for details.