As more content is available on the Internet, many people think that the library is a relic of the past, a storehouse for books only.

What they do not realize is that as the Web has evolved, so have libraries. And libraries combine the power of data with the expert researching skills of trained librarians.

Another way our public libraries excel is in providing, for free, access to information that is unavailable on the "open Web," except for a price, and is only available through special software or internal networks such as those used by libraries. An example of these valuable resources is the Uniform Building Code, referred to repeatedly by contractors large and small.

Because of these advantages, libraries are great resources not only to students, but also to businesses, business startups and tech entrepreneurs.

As is stated in the Maney/Hamm/O'Brien book on IBM, "Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company," "These days, economic value arises less from ownership of things than from interconnectedness of information and ideas."

Our public libraries are the hub of information gathering that levels the playing field for all. We owe it to ourselves — our town, our state, our country — to make sure they have the resources and the space to provide these many services.

Yes, public libraries have evolved, and will continue to do so as the need arises. In Costa Mesa, we are studying the possibility of expanding our library space by converting the Neighborhood Community Center into a 24,000-square-foot library that would double the amount of public library space in Costa Mesa.

There would be space to hold children's programs without encroaching on the space of other library patrons. There would be space for teens to gather to study together, to explore and invent. Those who are being tutored — and this often includes people of all ages — will be able to concentrate in quiet study rooms.

The U.S. Passport Service would continue to be offered at this library. There would be enough computers for those who wish to use them, and of course, the library staff to assist when help is needed. This is not your grandfather's library — or even your father's. But the ability to provide information remains the same.

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At the Mesa Verde Library

You be the critic and write a review of films (DVDs) in the display case to the left as you enter the library. Your review — on one of the supplied forms — could win you a snack pack. The Grand Prize also includes two movie tickets. Final day is June 15.

On May 31 at 2 p.m., certified therapy dogs sponsored by Orange County SPCA will be at the library. Reading to this non-critical audience encourages and improves reading skills in children. For more information, call the library at (714) 546-5274.

Preschool Storytime is on Tuesdays at 11 a.m., followed at 11:30 by Preschool Craftivities.

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At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library

A new clerk has been hired at the Dungan Library. Her name is Nanette Bergeron. Stop by and say hello.

May 31 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. is the time set aside for children to read to therapy dogs. Bring a favorite book (or check one out of the library) so your child can read to Fido and friends.

Toddler Storytime with stories, fingerplays, songs, crafts and more is scheduled for Mondays at 11 a.m. Tales and Toys, a family storytime, is open to children of all ages and their families. Children are welcome to come in their pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed toy. This event is held Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Come to the library every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. and watch and discuss a film from various decades...for free. On June 10, the film is "Rebecca," a 1940 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. On June 17, the film is "Citizen Kane," directed by Orson Welles. For more information, call the library at (949) 646-8845.

Children and their families are welcome to visit one of the Duplo tables in the lobby between 2 and 6 p.m. every Tuesday. Use your imagination to build your own unique creation!

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 OC Public Libraries.