Page 3 - Heart of Hoag December 2016
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The organization’s generosity ensures that greater numbers of children have easy access to quality books.
Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries Helps Hoag Promote Childhood Literacy
“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book!”
– Dr. Seuss
Like the beloved Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) did, the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries understands the intrinsic magic of books – and their unique ability to spark children’s imaginations and desire to learn.
That’s why in late 2016 it donated several dozen children’s books, along with a handsome bookcase to hold them,
to the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living. Now, whenever a child visits the center, he or she receives a book courtesy of the organization’s generosity. The project is the latest example of the Friends of the Libraries’ long history of promoting literacy throughout the community.
“Reading is so essential to the development of young minds,” says Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries President Bob Ooten. “It opens new worlds and helps foster a love of the written word and a desire to acquire knowledge throughout their lives.” The Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries supports the city’s three public library
branches: Mesa Verde, Donald Dungan, and Technology.
The donation of the books and bookcase to the Melinda Hoag Smith
Center for Healthy Living is part of an ongoing effort to create “mini libraries” throughout Costa Mesa. The effort was the brainchild of Katie Crawford, a  rst-grade teacher with the Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach, who serves as the Friends’ vice president for programs.
Crawford hails from a long line of teachers, and, not surprisingly, high on her list of priorities is making sure children have access to books and early- literacy programs.
“Too often, I see  rsthand children who don’t have easy access to books or the time to enjoy them,” Crawford says. “The Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living seemed like a great  t for a ‘book depot’ where visitors can take a book home and bring another back, and Hoag’s Community Bene t Program welcomed the idea. It’s so important for families to read to their young children, and making books available at the Center provides a great way to get them into the hands and homes of residents.”
More than 500 men and women of all ages and backgrounds comprise the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries. During an event at the Center where the Friends’ gift was announced, Ooten paid tribute to members’ often unsung volunteer efforts throughout the community. Ooten lauded their dedication and talents, saying they play an invaluable role in ensuring the city’s strong library network, and in promoting and advancing literacy for all ages.

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