Friends Of The Library: Getting familiar with Costa Mesa libraries

Do you know where the three Costa Mesa libraries are located? Do you know about the services they offer? Do you know they are branches of the Orange County Public Library? Do you have other questions about the city's libraries that you would like answered?

I will try to answer those questions. This column is intended to introduce Costa Mesa's public libraries and library-related matters to the community.

The Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries and the Costa Mesa Library Foundation want our city to have the best library services available and have been working diligently to make it possible. To succeed, residents must decide what services they want, and let those wants be known.

The smallest and newest of our libraries is the Costa Mesa Technology Library. It is tucked away in a small shopping center on Bristol Avenue, between Baker Street and Paularino Avenue. It was opened in 2001 to supply needed computer access to the city's residents, and has 23 terminals, eight of which are for children.

One computer, set aside for quick e-mail, has a 20-minute time limit. The branch houses a modest collection of technology-related books and magazines, paperbacks for children and young adults, a bestseller rental collection, and local and regional newspapers. This branch also has a dedicated workstation that can be used for learning about the Windows 7 Operation System, and burning CDs and DVDs. The computer has Microsoft Office 2010, a scanner and photo editing software.

The Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries purchased the workstation because of numerous public requests for such services. The Friends also paid for the recently installed electric signage so that the facility can be seen after dark.

The Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library, in Lions Park area next to the Neighborhood Community Center, was built in 1987. This round building also has new signage — also purchased by the Friends after many public complaints that it was hard to know which building in the complex was the library. The Dungan Library has very popular children's programs, including a fast-growing Bilingual Story Time.

You can also apply there for your passport. Passport hours are Monday through Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays (by appointment) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Passport photos are also available for purchase during those hours. This past month the passport service was given high marks in a passport oversight visit by the State Department. Call (949) 646-8845 to ask the reference desk for more information.

The Mesa Verde Library, at the corner of Mesa Verde Drive East and Baker Street, was built in 1965 when the northern part of Costa Mesa was growing rapidly. The children's librarian has been there long enough that she is serving the children of those who attended her first Story Hours. The library is very much a part of the culture of the Mesa Verde area.

Cynthia Callard from Bowers Museum will come to the library on Thursday, March 24 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to present an exciting Japanese cherry blossom program. She will tell a tale about a girl born inside a cherry blossom. Afterwards, the children will make a collage of cherry blossoms. Please call or come in to the library to sign up for this hands-on program.

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Library Foundation News

At the Dec. 7 City Council session, the Costa Mesa Library Foundation received a proclamation in support of a new library signed by then-Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece, recognizing the need for a new central library in the city and declaring support for this endeavor.

The proclamation said that, in 2000, the city funded a study of library services — the Arroyo Report — that found the amount of library space and materials in the city woefully inadequate. The proclamation also recognized the work of the Friends of the Library in funding library services since 1960 and the efforts of the Library Foundation to build a central library since 1998.

MARY ELLEN GODDARD wrote this article on behalf of the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries and the Costa Mesa Library Foundation.

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