COSTA MESA -- What is a library without books?
The question is not the opening line to a favorite riddle of local
bibliophiles. It is a question that surrounds -- and practically
describes -- the city's new library that opens today.
The Costa Mesa Technology Branch Library celebrates not only the
inauguration of a new branch in the city, but of a new concept for the
Orange County Public Library system.
Tom Egan, the president of the Costa Mesa Library Foundation, said the
new branch marks another first for Costa Mesa and proves the city's
"We are a prudent city, and we like to get the most bang for our
buck," Egan said. "Why spend money on real estate when the Internet
offers more and more information that is getting to be pretty good."
The 2,400-square-foot library will offer 27 computer stations that
provide access to the Internet and the Orange County Public Library
catalog, databases and computer programs. There is minimal print
material, consisting of a modest collection of technology-related books,
children's and young adult paperbacks, a bestseller rental collection,
and local and regional newspapers.
People will also be able to order books from the other 28 Orange
County Public Library branches and pick them up at the Costa Mesa
The new branch is also braving new territory because it will operate
from leased space, rather than a building owned by the city.
Costa Mesa is part of the Orange County Public Library system, along
with 23 other cities, said Assistant City Manager Anne Schultz. The city
owns the two buildings where the existing Costa Mesa branches are, but
the county operates them. In the case of the new library, the county
entered into a five-year lease with a private landowner.
Libraries in the county's system are funded by property taxes of
member cities, County Librarian John Adams said, with each city receiving
service funds according to a formula.
Because of an unexpected increase in revenue-based funds, the Costa
Mesa City Council was able to choose how it wanted Orange County Public
Library system to spend the money in Costa Mesa, officials said.
Egan called it a good use of the funds. The branch is a sign of the
future of libraries, he said. While the computers will help neighborhood
students and adults gain access to the World Wide Web, traditional
libraries still hold an important function.
"But of course, you can't curl up in bed with a good computer," Egan
* WHAT: Costa Mesa Technology Library grand opening
* WHEN: 9:30 a.m. today
* WHERE: 3033 S. Bristol St., Costa Mesa, in the Costa Mesa Village
* INFORMATION: www.ocpl.org