Local history has long been a part of the Newport Beach Public Library's collections. Now, in addition to books, periodicals and documentary films, the library is adding an online resource: "Kids These Days: Growing up in Newport Beach," accessible at newportbeachstories.org. This new website documents the many aspects of growing up in Newport Beach and is built around stories and photographs. Anyone who spent their teen years in the city is welcome to contribute.

"Kids These Days" is maintained by library staff. Newly launched, the site features photographs from a range of eras beginning in the 1940s all the way up to the recent past. The site includes articles about places and events such as the Balboa Fun Zone and Bal Week, personal stories about life in Newport contributed by residents, and photographs capturing the many facets of teenage life in our city. It also has a site optimized for mobile devices. Just go to newportbeachstories.org on your smartphone and you'll be redirected to the mobile version.

Inspiration for this digital resource came from the local history collections of the Newport Beach Public Library and the work of library staff with young adults in our community. The library has a number of collections that focus on Newport Beach's history as well as the history of the surrounding areas in Orange County. Though the collection at the Central Library is the largest, all NBPL locations have local history books for check-out. Titles include "Newport Beach: The First Century, 1888-1988," published by the Newport Beach Historical Society and edited by James P. Felton; "Bawdy Balboa," Judge Robert Gardner's classic book about the early days of the city; "The History of Corona del Mar" by Douglas Westfall, and many more. The Central Library also houses the Local History Reference collection: a set of special, often one-of-a-kind books and other printed materials in their own alcove which may be requested at the Reference Desk and used in the library.

Not to be missed is the Nautical Collection housed at the Balboa Branch Library. The original library in Newport Beach, the Balboa Branch has amassed an impressive collection of books, periodicals and audiovisual materials on nautical subjects. Some of the periodicals in that collection go back to the 1940s. Books range from large-format pictorial works to true adventure stories to practical guides on sailing and seamanship. The DVD collection includes items such as "100 Sailing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them," "Sailing for New Sailors" and "Cast Off for Catalina." The Nautical Collection also includes books on CD: Anyone with a love for adventure, salty dog or not, can enjoy the entire Aubrey-Maturin series of novels, by Patrick O'Brian, or nonfiction titles such as "Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945" by Evan Thomas. These are just some of the many gems waiting for visitors at the Balboa library.

If you or someone you know is interested in contributing their stories or photos to the new local history website, visit the "About" page of newportbeachstories.org for more information.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org. For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.