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WORDS AND IMAGES : Helping Hands : In these tight fiscal times, volunteers can prove invaluable to library and school programs.

April 01, 1993|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You hear it on the talk shows and read it in letters to the editor. The demand is for reduced government spending, while at the same time we decry cutbacks in programs and services. It is particularly depressing to observe our libraries and schools being shortchanged as fiscal problems mount and funds diminish. We all deplore this and agree that an uneducated and illiterate populace will bring this great democracy to its knees.

Among the services we rely on (and pay for via taxes) that we can't undertake ourselves are road maintenance, the court system, and fire and police protection. We can, however, offer valuable time and expertise to schools and libraries. Reach out to librarians, call school administrators or teachers. Come up with your own creative programs. The Ventura County Library Services Agency sponsors a reading program for adults. All they need is two hours of your time a week. Call 652-6294.

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Mary Rose Betten, character actress, stand-up comic and playwright, will be the special guest speaker at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library. Betten, who has appeared in dozens of feature films, television movies and stage plays, is also a three-time winner of the Clio Award for roles in commercials. She will share her "Recipes for Humor" at the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the library, 1401 E. Janss Road. The fee for non-members is $5. No reservations are required.

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World War II remains a rich source of extraordinary true-life stories, none more compelling than the award-winning "Europa, Europa" which will screen at the Ojai Playhouse, 145 E. Ojai Ave., at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The film, made in Poland in 1990, is the story of Solomon Perel, who shortly after his Bar Mitzvah in 1938, begins an incredible seven-year odyssey of survival across war-ravaged Europe. Fate takes him from a Polish ghetto to a Communist orphanage and into a school for Hitler youth, where he manages to conceal the only physical link to his Jewish heritage, the fact he has been circumcised.

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California's Gold, the film series on the history, geography, natural wonders and cultural diversity of California, will continue at the Prueter Library. "Santa Cruz" and "L.A. Adventures" will screen at 7 p.m. Monday in the library, 510 Park Ave., Port Hueneme. Call 486-5460.

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A "Guide to Smokefree Dining in Ventura County" has been published by the Ventura County Public Health Services' Tobacco Education and Control Program. For copies of the guide call 652-6503 or 983-2336.

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