Friends Of The Library: Family activities on tap at libraries

While you plan family activities for the next two weeks check out the following events, which are free and include "fun stuff" for all the family.

Call the Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library, at (949) 646-8845 to check on film titles for the Family Movie Night every Wednesday. Toddler Storytime is every Monday at 11 a.m. Family Storytime is every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Bilingual Storytime begins at 2 p.m. Aug. 18. On Aug. 13, there will be another adult arts and crafts event.

At the Mesa Verde Library, (714) 546-5274, you should ask about the Book Club on Aug. 15, when "My Name is Mary Sutter" by Robin Oliveira will be discussed. Bad Poetry Day is Aug. 18. From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Read OC will present a Family Reading Time for families with at least one child younger than 5. This program is for parents as well as their children. There will be stories, crafts and a free book for each family.

There are lots of other great things about our libraries. Did you know that if the Orange County Public Library branches do not have the book you want and the book is more than a year old, the book can usually be ordered from another library in the United States?

And, often times, you can get the most popular new books as a one-week rental for $1.50, which is cheaper than buying the book. WiFi Internet access is available in the three Costa Mesa libraries, and printing is available from your laptop (while being used in the library) to the library's printer.

And did you know that at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Donald Dungan Branch Library, an Orange County social worker is available to help people get needed resources? And, of course, the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries sponsors a passport submission service at the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Branch Library. Even better, the organization's passport photo business makes this a "one-stop" shop, saving you time and trouble, and also helps to support our three Costa Mesa libraries.

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More Library History

As I mentioned before, although many cities in Orange County have their own library systems, Costa Mesa and many other cities in the county have branch libraries of the Orange County Public Library system. At present, Costa Mesa has three of these branches and became a part of the system in 1923. OCPL celebrated its 90th anniversary on Aug. 1.

In these days when everything is computerized people tend to forget that it hasn't always been that way. The first catalog for OCPL books was something kept only at its headquarters in Santa Ana.

By 1925, each branch maintained its own card catalog for the books that rotated in. If someone from Library A wanted a book from Library B, the catalog card went with the book and both stayed there until someone from another branch wanted the book.

Branches began to have permanent collections in the mid-1960s, so a book that went to another branch for a customer there would return to the branch it came from. The next major change came in 1971 with the publication of the first edition of the printed "Book Catalog" and its companion notebook, the "Inventory Locator Guide." Remember, this is B.C. — before computers.

The catalog grew to more than a million volumes and this unwieldy system was finally replaced in 1988 with the first compact disc catalog. Many improvements have been made since then, but that was "one giant step" for the library system. A bit earlier, in September 1984, all branches were hooked together with telecommunications lines and terminals to keep track of book circulation.

In Costa Mesa, the library collection began with about 200 books, but by the end of 1924, there were almost 900. In 1925, after a donation of 1200 volumes, Sarah Conant, the local librarian, began a card catalog to facilitate handling the increased business from more than 600 patrons who were using the library.

She estimated that she typed more than 10,000 catalog cards in the first years of the library as cards had to be made for title, author, and the various subjects covered in each book. I'll include more history in later installments.

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 Libraries.

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