Read Across America Day is Thursday, March 2—an ideal time to consider checking out a few of the awesome public libraries Orange County has to offer. Beyond providing reading material, many libraries offer weekly and monthly events for guests of all ages, as well as additional resources, services, and cozy nooks where guests can work or study. At some, you can even check out WiFi hotspots or free vehicle day-use passes for state parks.
There are 33 OC Public Libraries branches alone, and you might be familiar with your neighborhood library, but why not try a new one? Here’s a list of five of our favorites spanning the county.
The Orange County Public Library Cypress branch offers activities and events for children, teens, and adults such as a Lego lab, homework help, a teen lounge, and a weekly adult activity such as crafts or book discussions. The location itself is small, clean, and friendly, but it is especially ideal for people looking for a space for their children and teens to get involved. Special collections at this branch include sheet music, local history, board games, and world language collections (Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish). 5331 Orange Ave., Cypress
Orange Public Library & History Center
Founded in 1885, the main branch of the Orange Public Library is one of the oldest public libraries in Orange County. While it started with a collection of around 300 books housed in the post office building on South Glassell, now the library is 45,000 square feet and has a children’s library, teen zone, and history center. Events in this space are many and range from the story times for all child age groups (bilingual options available) to a Discover Your State Parks Series. 407 E. Chapman Ave., Orange
Irvine Katie Wheeler Library
Another Orange County Public Library branch, this one is located in the historical house of Katie Irvine Wheeler. Visitors can enjoy the cozy ambience as they read or utilize resources such as computers, printing services, board games, and world language collections (Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Spanish). Aside from teen book clubs and children’s story times, the Irvine Katie Wheeler Library offers a weekly ESL Conversation and a once-a-month Korean book group for adults. 13109 Old Myford Road, Irvine
Newport Beach Central Library
Admired for its architecture and location, Newport Beach Central Library offers visitors extended hours (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and plenty of space (71,000 square feet). Among all the amenities, this location includes a media lab, study rooms, art gallery, and cafe. The special collections available at this central location include the Local Newspaper Historical Collection (microfilm and digital formatted local publications from the 1940s to early 2000s) and Local History Collection. Events include happy hours with bestselling authors, the monthly Wake Up! Newport series where visitors can meet one-on-one with legislative and government officials and stay up to date on current issues, and the Storytellers Writing Workshop. 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach
San Clemente Library
An older library with Spanish architecture and stained-glass windows, the San Clemente Library perfectly preserves its small-town charm. The branch offers hotspots, public computers, printing services, and special collections (braille collection, Erle Stanley Gardner Collection Microfilm/fiche Machine with local newspaper collections). Featured children’s activities include Sensory Playtime and Paws to Read, in which school-age children practice their reading skills by reading to Irish the therapy dog. For Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, the Orange County Public Library San Clemente branch will be offering a craft event for all ages from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 242 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente