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Friends of the Library: The report of the demise of libraries are hopefully false

LibrariesBookMusicThe LEGO GroupUniversity of Oxford

I have been reading a lot about libraries in the past few years. I have read that, because of the Internet and eBooks, they are likely to become extinct.

And then I read that "it is a big mistake to confuse the future of books or publishing with the future of public libraries. They are not the same."

I am inclined to believe this last statement. And as for the Internet, an increased public demand for more computers and other services in libraries seems to put the lie to the statement that they are about to be extinct.

In fact, a growing number of communities are determined to keep their libraries at the leading edge of technology. A number of states and communities have conducted studies showing that the money invested in libraries and their programs bring a good return on the investment.

This is partly done by putting a value on services given that otherwise would have had to be sold. The examples include computer time and reference service, rooms for meetings, research advice to small businesses and individuals and books that we can check out instead of buy.

But there are other ingredients in this. Living near a library may increase the worth of your home.

Investing in our libraries' square footage would give us the space to develop more programming and services for teens. Far more than just keeping said teens "occupied," these programs can provide direction and learning that will make them more productive members of our community. More space could address illiteracy and poor reading skills among adults. It would allow the needed space for group study rooms, meeting rooms, and children's programs.

So what is your opinion about libraries in general, and our Costa Mesa libraries in particular? Are you willing to invest in our community?

Are you one of the many who would like to see a new, large library that can accommodate the services and programming I have spoken of here? Or do you subscribe to "extinct" idea?

I would like to hear from all sides of this equation.

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Upcoming Writers' Workshop Session

The second session in the three-part Writer's Workshop series, sponsored by the Costa Mesa Library Foundation, is on "Creating Characters."

Whether the characters you imagine are recurring, interesting, weird or quirky, you will be entertained as well as informed by this delightful presentation from Robert Sassone. He received his doctorate in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and has taught courses in academic writing and literature.

The workshop will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa. Light refreshments will be served.

The next workshop session, on June 2, will be on "Finding an Agent," with speaker Jeri Westerson. Register for both workshops online at http://www.costamesalibraryfoundation.org. The cost is $25 per workshop.

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At the Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library

The Costa Mesa Book Club will discuss Jeanette Walls' memoir, "The Glass Castle," at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

The book details the rootless lifestyle of the author's family, shifting between Arizona, California, Nevada and West Virginia. Published in 2005, the book has sold more than 2.5 million copies and has been translated into 22 languages.

For more on this event, as well as information on Toddler and Bilingual storytimes, call the library at (949) 646-8845. The library is at 1855 Park. Ave.

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At the Mesa Verde Library

Pre-school Storytime is held weekly at 11 a.m. Tuesdays with songs, stories and a craft. All children and their families are welcome to join in.

Pajama Storytime is held at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays with a lively mix of stories and songs before bedtime. Lego Wednesday will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on May 16. Drop in and have fun with the library's Lego collection. Make cars, planes, action figures — you decide. No registration is required.

Family Reading Time, a READ OC workshop, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. For more information on these programs, call 714-546-5274. The library is at 2969 Mesa Verde Drive.

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 Orange County Public Libraries.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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