"A library should be the heart of a city." Steven S. Choi, mayor of Irvine, said this in his Jan. 29 article in the Orange County Register. This is a theme that has been repeated many times by those who know the benefits of libraries, who know that even if they buy many of their books instead of checking them out of the library, people still need physical places to gather, explore, study and engage. All ages benefit, but perhaps especially small children, who have such curious minds and should be given the opportunity to soak up knowledge and concepts that will serve them their whole lives.

*

Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library News

Yes, the library is still closed for repairs, but I have been watching the progress, and the project is marching right along. It has been exciting to watch the huge beams being replaced. The workers seemed to have it down to a science, and from the time they used the huge crane to take out the old beam to the time they inserted the new one, everyone seemed to be choreographed into a specific job in a ballet. It was so much fun to watch that I almost wish they weren't done with that part of the job. On Tuesday, there was still one man that I could see working on the skylight at the top of the library roof. They are going to be working on some inside-the-library repairs next.

*

At the Mesa Verde Library

Staff at this library — as well as the Costa Mesa Technology Library — are also serving the customers from the Dungan Library while it is closed and doing all they can to make them feel welcome.

Classes on downloading eBooks to your tablet are still being held at the Mesa Verde Library at 9:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, though you should make an appointment by calling (714) 546-5274.

Preschool Storytime for children 3 to 5 is at 11 a.m. every Tuesday. Wednesday afternoons at 3:30 p.m., you are challenged to show off your building skills. The library will provide the Legos, and all Lego creations will be displayed in the library for a week.

At 3:30 p.m. May 30, a program called Kindness Kids, presented by Orange County SPCA, will meet in the Primary Room. In this special program, children will learn how to approach dogs safely and what to do if an animal is sick or injured. This sounds like a great program and got me curious to know their goals. Their main goal is: "We hope to impact the lives of animals and humans alike, for the two cycles of abuse bear a striking resemblance. Students will be informed, know how to make the right decisions regarding any kinds of abuse, and give back to their community by spreading the knowledge they have gained…" Sounds like a worthy cause. Starting with learning how to approach dogs safely and what to do if an animal is sick or injured is a great first step.

Remember the Children's Monthly Raffle and have your child enter for a chance to win a new book, toys, stationery and other goodies. See the Children's desk for details.

The Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries Book Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. May 20 to discuss "Persuasion" by Jane Austen. The group meets in the bookstore at the back of the parking lot.

*

At the Costa Mesa Technology Library

Remember, this library has moved. It is no longer in the shopping center at Bristol Street and Paularino Avenue. It is in another shopping center at 2263 Fairview Road, Suite A. You will be pleased to see that it is bigger than the old one and has lots of natural light.

Bring your camera and join the one-hour "beginning digital photography" program at 3 p.m. Saturday. Presenter Art Ramirez will demonstrate tips for photographing people. Ramirez has more than 32 years of experience in a variety of contexts and currently teaches digital photography classes at Samy's Camera in Santa Ana. Reservations are recommended, so call (949) 515-3970 to make sure there is room in the class.

Remember that the Fish Fry begins May 31 in Fairview Park.

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.