Friends of the Libraries: Reading offers ticket to the middle class

"Libraries are not a destination, they are the transportation. The Grand Central Station of every great city and town." This was a comment by a reader in praise of a Forbes Magazine article, "Why Public Libraries Matter: And How They Can Do More" published in January 2013. And though the article was mostly about publishers and libraries needing to work together to benefit both, the point I felt this quote described was that "Without libraries to encourage new readers, foster book groups and promote communities of reading, publishers will find fewer readers for their biggest titles, and readers will have more difficulty discovering works not on the bestseller list." Publishers have a vested interest in keeping libraries strong. They should consider this when setting prices and for the agreements they forge with libraries for both paper and eBooks.

Libraries, with their collections of reading materials, both paper and electronic, and their computers available to the public, are the access to the middle class for those, both young and old, living below the federal poverty line. And studies, like a 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates report for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, show that they are taking advantage of it. They are "jumping on the train" and using the resources of the library in great numbers. Communities will benefit as more people educate themselves. More educated people means more reading people, and that means that publishers will also benefit.

And if libraries are the transportation, librarians are the conductor on the train, the travel agent, the air traffic controller. To be literate, we need not just to be able to read, but also to know how to evaluate what we read. This is what librarians are trained to do — as well as help their customers navigate the library's resources, both print and electronic, to locate that information that will solve the problem at hand. They can also help find sources on the Internet that are only available through the library — or available at a cost to the searcher.

Being able to search for a book (in whatever form) or to research for answers are two of the many reasons why libraries matter.


At the Costa Mesa Technology Library

At least two events will be happening at the Technology Library in the next couple of weeks. First, on June 13, Google engineers will be there to demonstrate how to use Gmail, Google Drive and everything Google has to offer. Somehow, they are going to accomplish this between 1 and 2:30 p.m. The name of the presentation is "Tips and Tricks with Google."

Then on June 15, from 2 to 3 p.m., a beginning digital photography presentation focusing on photographing places will be given by Art Ramirez. It is recommended that you make reservations by calling (949) 515-3970.

Other news from this library is that Nadya Iotova, a librarian who has been at the Katie Wheeler Library in Irvine, will be coming to manage the Tech Branch. So look for her and say hello.


At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library

Well, I was wrong — they are not done with the roof on this library. Today I saw another big beam ready to be placed with the aid of a giant crane. Also, they are still working on the skylight.


At the Mesa Verde Library

The library is looking for teen volunteers to help with the Summer Reading Program, titled "Reading Is So Delicious." Volunteers must be at least 12 years old or entering seventh grade this fall. Volunteer orientations are scheduled for June 13 or 20 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Potential volunteers should attend, with calendars if possible, to plan schedules and become familiar with the reading program. Volunteer hours will be from June 17 to Aug. 4. Call Patrick Burgess or Courtney Pricer at (714) 546-5274 for more information.

June 5 and 12 are "Lego Wednesdays" from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Then, on June 5 at 7 p.m., enjoy Family Board Game Night. On June 12 at 7 p.m., it is Pajama Storytime. On June 13, from 7 to 7:45 p.m., Family Reading Time will have the family reading together. Call the library for more information on all these programs as well as for the e-Reader training available on Wednesdays and Thursdays by appointment.

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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