The opening of school is fast approaching, and students will be doing research papers. Many will probably just use the Internet, grab some "facts" and let that be the total of their effort. I have heard teachers comment about this kind of reporting, and they don't seem to be happy about it.
The Internet can be a valuable tool, but anyone with an Internet connection can publish a website. The reliability of the information is not guaranteed. And just because some information is there one day, doesn't guarantee that it will be available in the same place another.
It is true that some school libraries (I haven't visited those in Costa Mesa) are sadly lacking in the materials they offer. But we do have our public libraries, and our students should be taking advantage of that.
A library card allows access to resources that have all been individually selected by a trained professional, and they are cataloged so they can be found.
Our Orange County Public Library branches provide online databases and reference ebooks that can be accessed with a library card any time of the day or night. Find them under "Resources" at egov.ocgov.com/ocgov/OC%20Public%20Libraries. If you have trouble accessing them, call your local branch for help.
And of course, you can also go into the library to use old-fashioned print resources, use the library's computers and get advice from a real librarian.
Having said all this, I will say that there is a lot of good information on the Internet. And it often has the latest information, but take care when using it. If it is the correct stuff, you want to be able to access it again when you need to. If you used a number for statistics in 2010, you might not be happy to find several months later that that information has been replaced with statistics from 2012.
More on my search for Costa Mesa authors
I want to thank all of those who replied to my request for names of Costa Mesa authors. I am still compiling the list, and will include it in a later article. I still hope to get more names. Send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library
The end of the summer reading program does not mean that nothing will be going on. In fact you and your family will find plenty to occupy your time at both the Dungan libraries.
A Duplo and Lego Extravanza for all ages is from 11 a.m. to 12:30pm Monday at the Dungan Library, 1855 Park Ave. Family Storytime is at noon Aug. 16 and 23. Toddler Storytime is back at 11 a.m. Aug. 20. A new readers' group, Romance Reader Book Discussion and Tea, is at 2 p.m. Aug. 22.
For more information, call (949) 646-8845.
Mesa Verde Library
At the Mesa Verde Library, 2969 Mesa Verde Drive, Preschool Storytime begins at 11 a.m. Tuesdays.
Lego Wednesdays are at 3 p.m. for the next three weeks for kids ages 5 to 12. No registration is required.
Children may enter the monthly raffle for a chance to win a new book, toys, stationery and other goodies. The "biggy" this month is Rubio's Ride the Reading Wave reading program for children ages 4 to 12. Children can earn up to three meal certificates just by reading. Call the library at (714) 546-5274 for more information.
Not in the library itself, but in the bookstore in the rear of the parking lot, is where the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries book discussion group meets. From 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 20, participants will discuss Linda Lawrence Hunt's "Bold Spirit" about the woman who walked with her daughter across the United States, hoping to win a $10,000 prize.
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.