Friends of the Library: Help libraries create a city of learners

"A democratic society in the knowledge age demands that its citizens learn continually, adapt to change readily, and evaluate information critically … U.S. museums and libraries are at the forefront in the movement to create a nation of learners. As stewards of cultural heritage with rich, authentic content they provide learning experiences for everyone."

The above excerpt from the just-released report of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, "Creating a Nation of Learners," makes a strong point of the importance of libraries and museums in the life of a community.

The report goes on to say, "museums and libraries are strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality … Healthy, thriving, sustainable communities need institutions that strengthen civic life, understand and respond to community needs, and provide common experiences that knit community members together through common experiences and shared interests."

There are about 123,000 libraries in our country, serving even some very small towns. When a town grows and its demographics change and the expectations of its public grow, its library often needs to adjust its programs and services.

But sometimes, the library is hampered by lack of space, or buildings that do not fit the needs of modern technology. There comes a time when it is necessary to determine just what is needed to deliver those library services and how they are to be paid for.

This process is usually called a Master Plan for Library Services.

Library master plans are not all the same — they depend on the specific needs of their community. In the past few years the cities of Wichita, Kan.; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Renton, Wash., have studied their libraries. The results are online for anyone to look at. I suggest you do so.

Costa Mesa's City Council will hopefully decide that a Library Master Plan is important enough — even in these hard times — that they fund the study in the upcoming city budget. This was suggested in their recent study session.

Our present libraries are too small to offer all the services a city of Costa Mesa's size should have. Our libraries need your support now to help them "create a city of learners." This will pay dividends in making our city thrive.


At the Donald Dungan Library

Children will have a busy time at the Dungan Library for the next two weeks.

Toddler Storytime is at 11 a.m. Mondays. Enjoy tales and toys on Duplo Day with toddler-friendly, educational toys at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Bilingual Storytime will be held at 2 p.m. March 8.

On Thursday, "Count Your Way to Reading and Learning" is the title of the program put on by READ OC for parents and children aged 5 and younger. There is a different topic every month. Next month is "Staying Healthy Together." The program begins at 2 p.m.

For the adults, here is a chance to review two books in the next two weeks.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Mystery Book Club will be discussing "The Deep Blue Good-By" by John D. MacDonald.

On March 5, the Costa Mesa Book Club will discuss a more light-hearted book, "Travels with My Aunt" by Graham Greene.

If you have questions about any of these programs, call the library at (949) 646-8845. The Donald Dungan Library is at 1855 Park Ave., Costa Mesa.


At the Mesa Verde Library

There is still time to get in on the Library Lovers Monthly Raffle and the Children's Monthly Raffle. These programs end Wednesday.

A special program on sign language for children will be held in March. Call the library, at (714) 546-5274, for details.

The Friends of the Library Book Club meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday in the Friends' bookstore behind the library. The book to be discussed is "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot.

Preschool Storytime is held from 11 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday. Pajama Storytime is from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings.

Family Reading Time with stories, crafts, games and songs will be held in March. This is for parents with children aged 5 and younger. No registration is required. Siblings are welcome.

The Mesa Verde Library is at 2969 Mesa Verde Drive East, Costa Mesa.

MARY ELLEN GODDARD produced this column on behalf of the Friends of Costa Mesa Libraries, the Costa Mesa Library Foundation and the three Costa Mesa branches of the Orange County Public Libraries.

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