Friends of the Library: Stories from within the bookmarks

The Costa Mesa libraries have been gearing up for the summer reading programs for children, teens and adults. Signups begin July 1 and the programs will run the entire month of July.

At the Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library, the first performer for the children's program is The Puppet Art Theatre Co., which will be performing "Three Billy Goats Gruff" at 2 p.m. June 30. All are welcome to attend this free performance.

The Adult Reading program sports a raffle with prizes. Adults can enter more than once per week, but must submit a separate entry form for each book they read. The participants will be eligible to win great prizes, such as, a $20.00 gift card to Mother's Market or a gift certificate for dinner for two at Taco Mesa.

The entry forms are available at both the Information and Circulation Desks, and entry forms and program materials are available in both English and Spanish.

The title for the first children's program at Mesa Verde Library is "Mexika: Sounds of Ancient Mexico" on June 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. The second program is Woody Pittman with his comedy and magic act on July 5. In addition, both Mesa Verde and the Dungan libraries have their regular storytimes.

Check them out!

Art Exhibit

For the month of June, the Dungan Library is showcasing the artwork of John H. Stewart, a self taught sculpture, naturalist and scuba diver. The display case at the library's entrance is filled with award-winning sculptures of sea life and is definitely worth viewing while visiting the library. The exhibit is sponsored by the Orange County Fine Arts Assn.

Bookmark Stories

One of the benefits of working in the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries bookstores is going through the donated books, not only for the books themselves, but also for what is sometimes left in them as a bookmark. Sometimes you can tell where the book was purchased as the register receipt is the bookmark, quite often from airport bookstores.

I once found a photocopy of someone's birth certificate. Photographs are often used to mark a place in a book. And then there are the torn pieces of paper bags, the newspaper clipping, and once even a pressed flower.

But more often, it is a bookmark that is used. And these vary all over the block, from fancy, colorful, purchased bookmarks to freebies given by the booksellers.

I came across one recently from the Hollywood Book and Card Shop, used in October 1945, to showcase its "Selected New Books".

So what were people reading then? "The White Tower" by James Ramsay Ullman. "Cass Timberlane" by Sinclair Lewis. "The Peacock Sheds His Tail" by Alice Tisdale Hobart. "Leave Cancelled" by Nicholas Monsarrat. "Three O'Clock Dinner" by Josephine Pinckney. "Puzzle for Wantons" by Patrick Quentin.

This last one caught my attention. It is about "three not-too-discreet wives awaiting Reno divorces." Wow! Remember when Reno was best known for its divorces?

Several of these books have been made into movies, including "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald. My mother bought this book, partly, I suppose, because she was anticipating getting into the chicken-and-egg business at that time.

Several years later, when I was about 10 or 11, I found it in our library at home and read it. I remember discussing the book with my mother, who by this time was raising chickens, and laughing together at the many funny parts where we felt a special understanding.

Stories abound of money found in donated books, but I have never found any. Mostly, I have found thousands of books I'd like to read. But that is another story!

In the meantime, if you find you would like to volunteer at our Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries bookstores, we are listed in another book — the phonebook.

MARY ELLEN GODDARD wrote this column on behalf of the Friends of Costa Mesa Libraries, the Costa Mesa Library Foundation and the three Costa Mesa libraries.

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