Friends of the Libraries: Celebrate books with Literary Orange

I want to remind you that Literary Orange is happening Saturday at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine. Walk-in registration is $70, and that includes breakfast and lunch.

You will hear authors J.A. Jance and Tatjana Soli give their keynote talks and be able to choose from six morning and five afternoon sessions featuring panels of authors on various genres. You will have the opportunity to see writers' latest books and get them autographed if you wish. Call Jane Deeley at (714) 893-5057 or e-mail for more information. It is a great event. Hope to see you there.

Libraries or coffee shops

Someone I know was recently quoted in another newspaper as saying that "maybe libraries aren't part of the future" and in a personal blog that "as a community living room," a corner coffee shop would do as well as a library. Maybe he needs to join some of the "life" in a library and find out what is going on in these vibrant places.

Since I am involved with our Costa Mesa libraries, I can tell you that they are busy places. People are not only browsing the shelves and checking out books, but they are bringing their toddlers and preschool children to special story hours where these young people learn not only the contents of books, but also how to socialize with others.

They learn concepts — words and numbers, for instance — and this helps to give them a great start once they enter school. The reading programs for elementary students and teens provide similar support. And there are programs designed to help parents read to their children. Knowing how to do this could also help a parent encourage a child to do his or her homework. I don't see how a coffee shop fits in here in educating our children.

And there are often classes teaching adults other things they need or want to know, like how to download an eBook from the library's collection. Or how to sell things on eBay. Or how to compose a resume to get a needed job. Or how to use a computer to do genealogical research or to simply send an email.

Or they might join a book discussion group, which stimulate the mind as well as provide contact with other people. Or listen to invited speakers on topics as different as space in closets and space in the universe. I'm sure I have just touched the surface of things that can happen in a library. Could you squeeze these things into your coffee shop?

At our libraries

The Costa Mesa Technology Library will be closed while it moves. It is due to close April 13 and open April 30 in a small shopping center on the northwest corner of Fairview Road and Wilson Street, next to the Subway sandwich shop.

Since the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library is closed for scheduled maintenance (it is set to open mid-July), your main source of library services in Costa Mesa is the Mesa Verde Library, 2969 Mesa Verde Drive East. If you haven't visited this library before, now is a good opportunity to check it out.

Preschool Storytime (for those 3 to 5 years old) is from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Ms. Mary Pat's Pajama Storytime is from 7 to 7:30 p.m. April 10. Celebrate National Library Week (April 14 to 20) at the Open House from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 17. There will be library tours, eReader displays and more. Read OC Family Reading Time is from 7 to 8 p.m. April 18. There will be stories and activities for families with children 5 and under. Older siblings are welcome. While you are at the library, ask about the children's raffle for a chance to win a new book, toys, stationery and other goodies. See the children's desk or call (714) 546-5274 for details.

If you checked out books at the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library, there is a book drop there. Or you can return books to any Orange County Public Libraries location. Try Fountain Valley, Irvine or Tustin.

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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