Opinions about libraries vary. Some people believe strongly in a library's role in the community, while others seem to think these repositories and gathering places aren't important or eventually won't be.
Because I am constantly trying to get the city to expand our library space in Costa Mesa, I have been asked to describe what will be needed for a 22nd century library. I have stewed a bit about this, thinking that most planning spans 25 years at most.
But I have come to the conclusion that most of the basic services of a library — for all ages, small children through senior citizens — will remain much the same. We will still need space for children's and adults' programs; study, meeting and staff rooms; storage space; and room for whatever collection in whatever form is current at the time.
What will change is the technology that delivers the information contained in a library. Actually, several forms of technology may be used at the same time, as there are now. Our libraries have just gotten rid of old VHS and audio tapes, which were standard for many years. We now have CDs, DVDs, audio and eBooks as well as printed materials, but this mix could change in the twinkling of an eye.
In his paper "The Shape of the 21st Century Library," Howard Besser of the UC Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems talks about the changes we may see. Still, he believes the "four core missions of a public library are: that it is a physical place, that is a focus spot for continuous educational development, that it has a mission to serve the underserved, and that it is a guarantor of public access to information." I will be talking more about these missions in the future.
At the Mesa Verde Library
There will be two more Brain Teaser days this month, Friday and Jan. 31, with separate puzzles for kids and adults. Solve a puzzle and win a voucher worth $1 at the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries bookstore.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with multicultural stories and a lion puppet craft. Refreshments will be provided. This is a program for children ages 5 to 12, though younger children are welcome with an accompanying adult. The date is Jan. 30, and the time 4 p.m.
Storytime for preschoolers ages 3 to 5 will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday and Feb. 4.
At the Costa Mesa Technology Library
Learn basic computer skills, navigate the Internet, create and use email accounts, print documents and images and more. Sign up for a one-on-one learning session by phone at (949) 515-3970 or on site. Classes are from 4 to 5 p.m. Jan. 28, 29 and 30 and Feb. 4, 5 and 6.
New at this library is Video Storytime. Children ages 4 to 8 will be provided with headphones to listen to video books in English or Spanish. This program is limited to eight participants on a first-come, first-served basis.
At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library
AARP tax assistance will be offered at this library from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 6. Sign up ahead of time for this service by calling (949) 646-8845.
Bilingual Storytime will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Since the library is not yet open, knock on the front door for admittance. Then, at 11 a.m., it will be Toddler Storytime. On Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 from 2 to 5 p.m., join in playing with the Duplo toys (big Legos). And at 2 p.m. Jan. 30, enjoy a family movie.
U.S. Passport services are available Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on a walk-in basis. On Saturdays, the service is available by appointment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
While at the library, take a look at the exhibit showing what Costa Mesa's kids have been doing over the past 100 years. The photos and old toys are from the collections of the Costa Mesa Historical Society. The exhibit will be in the library until the end of January.
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.