Friends of the Libraries: Check it out — the Dungan is back

Hurray! I have been telling you it was going to happen, and now it is. The Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library will open again at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The reopening celebration will continue until 2 p.m., with refreshments and music at 10 a.m., a program called "Wildlife Company" with wild animals at 11 a.m., crafts at noon, and balloon hats, etc., for children at 1 p.m. For those who may not be familiar with the library, it is located at 1855 Park Ave. in Costa Mesa, and the telephone number is (949) 646-8845.

And I am happy to let you know that the United States Passport Acceptance Service and passport photos will also be available, beginning with this opening day, for the regular schedule of 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Remember that the passport service is by appointment on Saturdays. No appointments are necessary for passport photos. Many people have commented at how convenient it is to have the service in the library.

The Summer Reading Program for adults, teens and children will be held at the Dungan Library during August at this library, though it is finishing up at other OC Public Libraries branches. And Samantha Smith will be restarting the book discussion groups early in August. Call her at the number above for the details.

Continuing with the special programming, at 11 a.m. Aug. 5, Abbit the Average will entertain with his magic tricks that everyone should enjoy. DUPLOS will be from 3 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday. And Family Storytime is 2 p.m. every Thursday. Bilingual Storytime will begin in September.

At the Mesa Verde Library

The first program for the next two weeks at this library is PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a pet-assisted therapy program where children can read to a dog, which is often less threatening than reading to another person. Pre-registration is required for this program, which is to be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The number to call is (714) 546-5274.

The next event is the Grand Finale for Mesa Verde Library's Summer Reading Program, when the Juggler Extraordinaire will appear to present a family program. It is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

I have to tell you, the first day for the Hungry Games was Tuesday, and more than 120 people — kids and adults — showed up to play games that challenged everyone to use only their hands and feet. There were to be two more days of these games, both with different rules.

Lego Wednesday, a Lego free-for-all, will occur, strangely enough, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Call the library for information on Storytime hours.

Libraries and the City's General Plan

The second in a series of visioning meetings covering various parts of the General Plan for Costa Mesa was held Tuesday evening. I attended and put in my two bits — and of course, you know it was about libraries. I believe that this city's General Plan should have a library element in it — actually a long-range plan, or Master Plan — for library services.

The community has had a library since 1923, 30 years before incorporation. Since the beginning, library services have been provided by the OC Public Libraries system. Because of this, local government has sort of said, "Library service — the county does that!" and stayed completely out of any decisions until members of the community have pushed for a new library building. But what everyone is forgetting is that the county is merely the provider — we should be deciding what services we want, and if we pay for them, the county will provide them. It has done a good job so far, but it can only do so much with the limited funds provided it and the too-small buildings to house the library services. OCPL is working for the city. If you hire someone, you should define the services you want them to provide.

I looked at the 2000 General Plan index and could find no mention of the word "library." I think it is time that we as a city stepped up to the plate and decided what level of library services we should have.

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 OC Public Libraries.

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