Books, both fiction and nonfiction, are the main items found in most of the OC Public Libraries' 33 branches, with the exception of the several "technology" libraries that mostly have computers. Other materials available at most branches are newspapers, magazines, large-print books, telephone books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and more. These are all listed in the library's catalog, which is on its website.
I have accessed the website for the OC Public Libraries hundreds if not thousands of times, but I usually just look in one or two places for what I want. So when I did do some exploring on OCPL.org recently, I was pleasantly surprised.
Because I sometimes need suggestions for books to buy a child, I was happy to see that there are lists of age-appropriate books for children from preschoolers to seventh-graders and maybe more that I haven't discovered yet. For preschoolers, the books are split into a number of lists, from those about science and math (one is "How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?" by Margaret McNamara) to those with rich language (two are "Buying, Training and Caring For Your Dinosaur" written by Laura Joy Rennert, and "The Gingerbread Cowboy" by Janet Squires).
In the teen section, you can check up on award-winning authors and their books, or check lists of eBooks and eAudiobooks and lists of books in categories favored by teens. These I expected, but also available was a connection to some favorite author blogs and book blogs for older and younger teens. There is even a site for teens to "get involved."
One thing I did know about was the Interlibrary Loan service providing access to books, journal articles, microfilm and other materials that are not available from the OC Public Libraries. Because the library is borrowing material from another library system, it may take approximately two to four weeks for material to arrive, but it greatly expands the number of books that can be accessed by county residents with a library card.
Some things are not available through Interlibrary Loan: reference books, items in special collections, CDs, DVDs, videos, audio books, telephone directories, complete issues of magazines or newspapers, bestsellers and publications less than one year old. And materials must be returned to the same branch where the materials were sent.
At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library
The next gathering of the Costa Mesa Book Club is on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the library's community room. Call Samantha at (949) 646-8845 for the title of the upcoming selection. And remember that the monthly book is always available for checkout at the library for the month prior to the meeting.
Don't forget Duplo Day every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. The toys are available in the lobby and are fun for all ages. The whole family is invited to join the fun.
The next two sessions of the six-week course offered on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. will be Dec. 4 and 11. Titled "Common Sense Parenting," the class is a practical, skill-based program that provides easy-to-learn techniques to help you with today's parenting challenges. This course is for parents or caregivers of children ages 13 to 18. Classes are free to Orange County parents and caregivers with children 13 to 18 years of age. For more information, call Phuong at (714) 474-5706.
At the Mesa Verde Library
Storytime with stories, songs and activities for preschoolers from 3 to 5 years old will be held Dec. 3 from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Toddlers are welcome with accompanying adult. Older siblings are also welcome. Registration is not required.
A special Christmas Storytime with Miss Mary-Pat will be held 7 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11. Children will sing, dance and hear holiday stories.
"Read, play and learn together" is the theme when another session of Family Reading Time is held Dec. 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. This is for families with at least one child under the age of 5. 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 big sisters are welcome.
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.