It was Lucille Pinkley who was responsible for getting the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries started in in 1959. She was familiar with the Newport Beach Friends organization that had started several years before, and decided Costa Mesa needed a support group for libraries as well. It was about this time that there was a push to get a second library in Costa Mesa, and the Mesa Verde Library opened in 1965. The Friends group supported both libraries – the old Costa Mesa Library on Center Street, and the new Mesa Verde Library—providing books and supplies not in the library’s budgets. It also paid for the children’s programs costs. When the new library needed furnishings, the Friends paid for the window blinds and new furnishings as well, paying for these things with membership monies as well as earnings from sales of donated books.
When it was seen that the old Costa Mesa Library needed to be replaced because of its small size and maintenance issues, the Friends worked to get a new building – which resulted in the Donald Dungan Library in Lions Park in 1987. The library was named after Judge Donald Dungan, Costa Mesa’s first City Attorney and visionary who was a major influence on the founding and development of the City.
In the late 90’s, the Friends realized that Costa Mesa needed more library services including additional computers, and the Friends worked to get the Costa Mesa Technical Library in 2002. In 2006, the group bought a portable building to use as a used bookstore at the Mesa Verde Library. The Friends also began a passport and passport photo business in their used bookstore at the Donald Dungan Library. Both of these endeavors helped add to the group’s funds to provide ongoing support for our libraries, and to save for a hoped-for larger library in Costa Mesa. The Friends started a committee for a new library which became the Costa Mesa Library Foundation. That group has now become a part of the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries again, as the “Library Foundation Committee”, but still coordinates with the city in its building of the new Donald Dungan Library on Park Avenue in Lions Park. This new library will open on April 26, 2019.
The Friends and its Foundation Committee have given $101,000 to support furnishings and equipment for the new Donald Dungan Library. These gifts include $15,000 for the Teen Library Technology Bar; $6,000 for the Children’s Library Early Childhood Play and Learn Island; and $5,000 for the Interactive Media Display. In addition, the Friends organization has given $75,000 for the Media Wall located at the entrance of the new library.
The Friends is also currently working with the city to purchase and install four outdoor musical instruments at the Mesa Verde Library, to be installed in summer 2019.