Friends of the Libraries: Lessons from the Panama Canal

March 07, 2013|By Mary Ellen Goddard

For some time after my husband read the book "The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914", by David McCullough, and recommended it to me as a "very readable" book, I have had it in my pile of reading material. But the very size of it, and the fact that it was nonfiction, kept me away. Finally, having overdosed on mysteries, I decided to tackle it. And I had a hard time putting it down. If you are interested in history, or public health, or technology, or even politics, it is a great read.

But what amazed me most was how big a job it was to complete the canal. It certainly is comparable to the space race today. Our country needs to be able to take on high-tech projects like this. Our public libraries can play an important part in preparing our residents — beginning with our young children, but not forgetting the rest of the population as well. If we are to progress, and not backslide, we can't leave it to chance.


Selcuk Guceri, dean of engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, wrote in a recent letter to supporters, "During the last half century, we have seen rapid growth in the world population, shifting demographics and Internet-based communication. These developments come with increasing challenges in areas such as energy, water and food supply, depletion of valuable resources and healthcare.

"We are moving into a new phase where leadership depends on an innovation-based economy. Institutions of higher education support this economy by producing professional talent and research leading to new discoveries."

Public libraries are a first, and a continuing source, of learning for all of us. We need to support them.

At the Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library

Children can improve their reading skills and boost their self-confidence by reading to a licensed therapy dog at 1 p.m. Saturday. Please contact the library at (949) 646-8845 for additional details.

Toddler Storytime will meet at 11 a.m. Monday and March 18. The children's librarian reads stories, sings songs and provides a craft and coloring sheets. Toy time takes place after the 20-minute storytime. Children and their families are welcome.

Every Thursday at 2 p.m., a bilingual storytime, geared toward preschoolers and elementary-aged children, is conducted in English and Spanish. Songs, stories and crafts are followed by time to play with toys. Children and their caregivers are encouraged to attend.

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