Friends of the Libraries: In San Diego, efforts finally bear fruit

The big news in the public library world this week is the opening of the new San Diego Central Library.

The old central library, built in 1954, was small and, according to Sunday's Los Angeles Times, long overdue for replacement. In fact, it sort of echoes Costa Mesa's story, except that we haven't gotten our central library yet.

For 40 years, people participated in efforts to replace the San Diego library building, and although a number of branch libraries were built, the central library plans were put on hold. Still, boosters worked on — and on and on — and eventually reached their goal.

A deal with the school district has a charter high school taking up two floors of the new nine-story library. One donor gave $30 million, another gave $2 million, and more than a dozen families donated $1 million each. The library has 497,000 square feet of space, and the total cost is reported to be $189.4 million.

This means that on the West Coast, there is a signature public library at the southern and northern borders. The Seattle Public Library has brought a lot of international interest. Perhaps this new San Diego library will do the same.

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At the Mesa Verde Library

The Mesa Verde Library will be celebrating Star Wars Reads Day from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 with "Star Wars" characters, crafts, trivia and more. This is a family program, and all ages are welcome. Star Wars Reads Day is an international event that celebrates reading and "Star Wars." It was launched in 2012 by Lucasfilm and its publishing partners.

Preschool Storytime, with stories, songs and activities for 3- to 5-year-olds, will be held from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Activities may include simple crafts, games and outdoor fun, like Bubble Days. No registration for this program is required.

A special Spooky Storytime and Stuffed Toy Sleepover will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 9. Children can come wearing their most comfortable pajamas, if they like, and bring a favorite stuffed animal. Then they will settle in to enjoy spooky stories, songs and activities with Mary Pat.

For more information, call the library at (714) 546-5274.

For families with at least one child under the age of 5, a program encouraging families to read, play and learn together will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10. At each session, adults and children listen to a story, sing songs, play games and make crafts together. Parents receive ideas and resources to help make their home a learning place. Big brothers and sisters are welcome.

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At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library

Children and their parents are invited to Family Storytime every Thursday at 2 p.m. for stories, songs and a fun craft at the end. After that, they can stay to play with the library's toys and socialize. Family Storytime is free and no registration is required.

The Dungan Library has several book clubs, all led by librarian Samantha Smith. The newest one is the Romance Book Club. This group meets the third Wednesday of the month from 2 to 3 p.m. The monthly book is always available at the checkout desk for the month before the meeting. If romances are your thing, go by the library, pick up the current book selection list and join the next meeting. For more details, contact Samantha at (949) 646-8845.

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Holiday closure

Generally, our Costa Mesa libraries are open seven days a week. Occasionally, however, there is a holiday, such as the one on Oct. 14, Columbus Day. Plan ahead so you don't get stuck without a book to read.

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Costa Mesa Tech is looking for volunteers

Do you have good basic computer skills that could help people who want to use Microsoft Word or Excel or understand the basics of email? The Costa Mesa Technology Library is looking for volunteers who can help patrons with their computer needs in one-on-one sessions. Contact the library at (949) 515-3970.

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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