When 90th birthdays come around, people usually stand up and pay attention. Well, the Orange County Public Library is celebrating its 90th birthday on Aug. 1, and a lot of us are paying attention. We invite you to celebrate this event at our three Costa Mesa libraries. There will be special events, including refreshments, to mark the day.
The libraries will honor those who donate money to the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries with a special bookplate and a candle on the libraries' birthday cakes. Ask a library staff member for titles that the library would like to add.
The Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library will hold a special Storytime for Preschoolers from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. From noon to 2 p.m., there will be a movie, "Tangled," for children. At 4 p.m., there will be refreshments and live music. And from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the regularly scheduled Book Club will be in session, discussing Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven."
Other programs scheduled near this celebration day are the Classic Mystery Book Club at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when "Have His Carcase" by Dorothy Sayers will be discussed.
Wild Wonders Animal Show with animals from around the world will be presented at 2 p.m. Thursday. And because kids aren't the only people who like being creative, from 1 to 4 p.m. July 30, the library will offer an Arts and Crafts for Adults program. Come and create a personalized bookmark or keychain.
The Mesa Verde Library does not have any special programs on the "birthday" day, but there are several scheduled near that time.
"Flights of Fantasy Story" will come as a Story Theater to Mesa Verde Library at 1 p.m. Tuesday. This interactive performance will come as a rollicking story circus with mime, masks, props and costumes.
As part of a six-week session of "Switch on the Night," Pajama Story times will take place from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Aug. 3. Children aged 3 to 8 years old will have the opportunity to participate in and listen to songs, stories, and rhyme.
David Cousins will bring his comedy juggling show to the children at the Mesa Verde Library at 1 p.m. Aug. 2. His show consists of audience involvement, interaction and music to dazzle and entertain.
A little bit of history here
The Orange County Library system was finally set up in 1921 after 14 years of effort on the part of James Gillis, California State Librarian, and his assistant, Miss Harriet Eddy. Several women's clubs had approached the Board of Supervisors as early as 1914 to request the establishment of a county library system.
Misunderstandings about relative positions of county and city libraries and a concern about state control caused the subject to be tabled. The Parent Teacher Assn. was one group that kept up the struggle.
On Dec. 19, 1919, the Orange County Library System was finally established, but lacked a librarian and financial support. Bowing to public demand, the supervisors voted on July 5, 1921, to start the system, appointed a librarian, and enacted a tax levy. Margaret Livingston became the first county librarian.
Costa Mesa was one of the early members of the Orange County Public Library system.
In 1923, the Friday Afternoon Club (it later became the Costa Mesa Women's Club) decided the community was ready for its own library and appointed a committee to approach the county librarian. The committee members, Mrs. W. W. Middleton, Mrs. Anna Hawkins Lane and Mrs. F. E. Russell, went scouting for a location and donations for a starter collection of books.
The Chamber of Commerce offered the second floor of the new bank building on Newport Boulevard. A retired teacher from Illinois, Miss Conant was hired as the first librarian. Until she could get to Costa Mesa, a volunteer staff ran the library three afternoons a week.
Unfortunately, its popularity caused a problem, as library patrons had to climb a flight of wooden stairs to reach the library room, and bank customers complained about the noise. Another location had to be found. Read more about this in another installment.
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.