Cherry Trees

Here’s a gorgeous postcard sent to me by my good friend Zoe.  Talk about beautiful–these are my favorite trees.  When I was born, my grandfather helped plant a cherry tree in front of my house.  For a long time, it bloomed before any other tree, and made me happier than a clam in sauce.  Around the time I entered high school, it started to die on one side, so my mom decided to cut it down.  It’s not the same, but I taped this postcard to my window.  Now I get to see blossoms all year!

Also: Zoe drew a teeny TARDIS next to the tree.  You can only see it if you own a sonic screwdriver (which I do, of course).

Battle of the Libraries Clarification

My readership recently exploded, and so I wanted to take this time to address some details that may have confused some people when first visiting my blog.  Firstly, a disclaimer: I am a library employee and a current library student.  I think there is nothing more valuable to any community than a good library.  Also, this is my personal blog.  Until this morning, I was writing for the ten friends who read it daily.  I understand that putting things on the internet comes with the risk of being discovered, but I ask that my readers treat my blog as it was intended–as a personal blog rather than a professional library journal.

Now let me explain the purpose of my project.  I’m a student and so places to study are very important to me.  I wanted to review libraries as great places to go to work on assignments.  I look at the space inside the library, the atmosphere, the amount of light and noise as well as how easy it is to find, and the parking.

As a library employee, it’s my opinion that it is essential for library staff remain helpful and kind.  Friendly costumer service is key to inviting patrons to return.  I’m rating libraries by how eager staff members are to answer my questions and help me find sections of the library I’m not familiar with.

As a avid reader (and patron) , I am mostly interested in young adult literature and graphic novels.  Those are the kinds of books I like to read, so those are the sections I head for when entering a library. I am rating libraries on their selection and how easy the books are to find.

Based on these qualities, I am evaluating Nassau County libraries.  I am not comparing programs or policies or the age of buildings.  I don’t expect libraries to control the traffic or ensure drivers pay attention to cross walks.  I am merely commenting on how a patron with my interests experiences each library.

I ask my readers to understand this blog only contains my opinions.  Perhaps study space and graphic novels aren’t important to you–in that case this would be a terrible review to read.  My main concern is letting the libraries who value me as a patron know that I appreciate them.  I am happy to visit beautiful buildings, and I am thankful that there are librarians like the very helpful Port Washington ladies to help me find the material I need.

I’ve only visited six libraries so far, but from those six I’ve learned that libraries are different and unique.  I’m not coming to spy on your library and I am most certainly not waiting for staff members to be in the worst of moods before bombarding them with trick questions.  I just want to see what Nassau County has to offer.

PS–To the sincerely friendly librarian from Manhasset that invited me back for a second visit: Thank you!  It’s people like you that bring patrons in and keep them there.  I hope when I do visit, you’re the one I speak with.

Garden City VS Hempstead

Garden City

I never knew this building even existed, and for a while I thought everyone was making up stories about visiting it.  I’ve passed it so many times on the way to the Roosevelt Field mall, I was glad to finally get to walk around inside.  It shares a parking lot with the Garden City train station.  From what I could tell, all parking is limited to two hours (though I might be wrong).  This makes studying there pretty hard.  The building itself is nice on the inside–lots of tables and comfy chairs designed specifically for those coming to work.  I found the young adult department without any trouble, which was wonderful.

They have tons of graphic novels to choose from–all of which are located on the outside of their alcove of a young adult section.  This made finding what I needed very easy.  With my book nuzzled in the crook of my arm, I walked myself through the reference department (which was completely full of sunlight), and into the children’s room.  In this room it’s obvious how old the building is (when I imagine the perfect library, it looks like this room), and the decorations show visitors that the employees are very conscious that they service children.  The windows were painted and the walls were covered in posters.  There were lots of colors and they had several pieces of paper with facts having to do with Summer Reading.  I sincerely felt cozy in this room.  The children’s librarian asked if I needed any help, which was kind of her.

Then I got ready to check out.  I wasn’t sure which side of the desk to stand on, so I glanced around for some clues.  The circulation staff member beckoned me with a slight tilt of her head.  She didn’t speak to me as I complimented the library and asked her how old the building was.  All attempts at friendly conversation were rejected, and so I left the library feeling rather disappointed.  The library itself was wonderful, but my experience with the circulation department blemished my great experience at Garden City.  They could have given out free ice cream made of sunshine and lollipops–when the last person you meet ignores your very existence, it leaves you with the want to seek other places.




Hempstead is a small library located directly next to a police station.  They don’t have their own parking lot (which was a little annoying), so I had to use the station’s lot.  As I parked, I prayed for a safe return to a not-ticketed car.  Spoilers: Parking was completely fine.

The inside of this library doesn’t contain a lot of study space, though there are a few tables here and there.  It’s not on the top of my list of places to go if I had to spend several hours studying for something important.  They have a nice, big children’s room, but sadly the young adult books are located just outside the door.  There’s no special section for teens.  I had some trouble locating the graphic novels, so I asked someone for help.  She pointed me to the section I wanted, which was several feet from where I assumed it should be.  Also, there were huge white signs everywhere telling patrons what books are located where, but whenever I followed the signs, I found different books were located in that section.  For example, the young adult graphic novels were located in a section labeled for oversize books.  I understand shifting takes place all the time and signs are often wrong during the transition.  Regardless, it was very confusing.

After not finding my specific book, I gave up and asked the reference librarian for help.  She heroically jumped out of her seat and chirped pleasantly as she searched around for my book.  I’m convinced she’s actually made of magic, because she somehow just happened to look on some random shelf, finding my misplaced book.  She was so friendly while we looked for my book, I was glad to have asked her for help.  After handing it to me, she pointed me in the right direction for check out, where a very kind woman blooped my card and book.




Without a doubt, Garden City was the bigger library.  They both share parking with another building, so neither win that contest.  I think Garden City’s lot was more convenient, but Hempstead’s parking doesn’t have a time limit.  When it comes to young adult departments, Garden City wins again, but in terms of staff, Hempstead not only wins, but it completely dominates.  I don’t think I’ve met friendlier people in my life.  I didn’t feel like I was asking a stranger for advice, but rather, it felt like asking a friend for help finding a book I couldn’t remember misplacing.  Hempstead may be small and confusing, but the staff I met were all willing to hop up and help me however they could.  That’s why I declare the winner:

Dear New York,

I am so proud of you!  I am proud to be part of you.  If there was ever a time when I doubted your sincerity, your bravery or your worth, that time is over.  You are full of wonderful, beautiful people who can all marry the people they love.  May you always be full of hugs, sunshine and delicious pretzels and may you always know that regardless of where I am, I love you New York.  Thank you!

Love Forever and Always,


The Walking Dead: No Way Out (Volume Fourteen)

The Walking Dead: No Way Out (Volume Fourteen)

Robert Kirkman

I’ve been praying for the smallest hint that the series would pick up again after two disappointing volumes.  Kirkman seems to be playing the same kind of plot over and over again–and this volume is no different.  So why do I like it to much more than the previous two volumes?

The threat of losing beloved main characters came back, and for a while, tons of characters were lost.  It was just like old times, when one false move could mean the end.  Even though the new safe-haven-under-attack has been played out before (remember the prison), I was terrified to lose my favorite character.  I swear–the moment Glen goes, I quit this series.

Rick seemed very out of character in this volume though its a change I feel has been due for a long time.  He’s our main character and I know that regardless of who dies around him, we’re stuck with Rick.  I’d very much appreciate it if he gets his act together and moves on.

For this series to keep my interest, Kirkman needs to not only ensure that Glen lives forever, but that a new plot comes along.  When are the characters going to quest for something more than safety?  Don’t they want to know how to beat the zombies?  Or what caused it?  Are they going to try to hold onto this village forever?  He needs to give his characters a purpose and a focus.  He needs to give his readers reasons and explanations.  Also, Kirkman needs to give us a main character that doesn’t make me want to skip ahead to scenes where he’s no where to be found.  While still not as great as the early volumes, this was a huge improvement over the last two.

Piece #4 – Sara

Oh man, here it comes–the super embarrassing (for me) story of how I met Sara.  Before I arrived at Vassar, all my high school friends were friending people from Facebook that were in their college’s graduating class.  Determined to make new friends, I searched around a forum of incoming freshmen and found Sara’ profile.  She declared her love for books, English majors and looked friendly.  So I friended her.  And remained Facebook friends with her waaaay before I actually met her.  I’m such a creeper.

But it was worth the wait!  Sara is genuine and honest and smart as Hell.  She’s an outrageous writer and clearly knows me very well.  Thanks Sara!

Fables: Rose Red (Volume Fifteen)

Fables: Rose Red (Volume Fifteen)

Bill Willingham

FINALLY.  I have been dying for this volume to come out.  After two disappointing volumes, I really needed something to come and bring the series back from the pit it fell into.  This one certainly did that.  Let’s start from the beginning.

This volume answers a lot of questions we’ve been holding onto about Rose Red, Snow White and Mister Dark.  We get to see some old faces like Frau Totenkinder–who I forgot all about and was massively excited to see again.  And even though tons of questions are finally answered, Willingham makes sure to bring up some new questions.

There’s a lot of action scenes involving Mister Dark, which were awesome, and if this volume wasn’t cool enough, the extras just made my day.  There are tons–there’s comic shorts where celebrity readers got to ask questions which were answered in a page or so, then there was a short story about Pinocchio.  AND THEN THE COOLEST PARTS!  There are pages where you can photocopy the images and build your own theater as well as photocopy little characters and reenact scenes from the series.  How awesome is that?  Seriously, I was like a kid at Christmas.  Of course, you can bring characters back to life if you want, or you can be mature and have Bigby finally marry Boy Blue.  Finally, there is a board game you can play with a friend, which is pretty spiffy.

All in all, this volume makes up for any flaws in the last couple of sets.  There’s lots of promise of seeing Flycatcher again and that is enough to keep me dying for the next volume.  I adore this series–if you haven’t already started it, hop to it!

Peaceful Country Abbey

Paul from Ohio sent me this postcard of an abbey he spends time in during lent.  He assures me it is the most peaceful place you can imagine–it certainly looks that way from the card.  Looking at it almost makes me feel like I’m looking at a time far before 2011.

Garden Flowers

I finally caved and tossed the orange tree outside in hopes that it would bloom and bear the fruit of love.  Guess what!  It’s happier than Edward when he gets to yell during finals.  I decided to take some pictures of the orange tree flowers as well as some stunning others around the garden.

Seriously.  Look how happy this mini-tree is:

Here’s a close up of the blossoms:

Next are flowers that crop up every year in the rock garden.  It’s just a small cluster, but I wait for them every year.  They remind me of my grandmother.  She was an expert gardener, who could literally make plants grow out of people’s ears.  She was amazing.  Whenever I see this bunch of bloomers, I think of one vivid memory in particular.

My grandmother and I were sitting together in her living room, watching television.  I remember it was one of those awesome telenovelas–the main female character was finally getting married to her lover.  While my grandmother’s knitting needles clink clanked and I fed her yarn from a ball, she started to cry.  At first it was just sniffles.  Then it was open weeping.  Disturbed by how emotional this TV wedding was making her, I asked her why she was so sad that Maria was finally getting married to Paolo.

Turning to me, she wailed how terrible it made her feel to realize she would never see me get married.  I briefly imagined my own wedding, and confirmed she would indeed be there.  At the wise age of nine, I laughed at her silly worries and handed her a tissue while we finished the blanket she was working on.

She’s been gone for over twelve years now.  I miss her often.  Sometimes I think I can smell her perfume, and for that moment in time, I am greatly comforted.  Anyway, here are the flowers that remind me of her:

Want to get closer?  I’m on it.

I’m going to invite her to my wedding regardless.  I’ll save her some cake.

Franklin Square VS Hillside

This is a tough call, these were two great libraries.  Let’s start with:

Hillside Library

The library looks gorgeous from the outside–there are tons of huge windows facing the street, which invite patrons in with promises of sunshine and rainbows.  There isn’t a parking lot beside the building, but their lot is located across the street.  While that’s kind of annoying, there’s a crosswalk there to make it easy to get to the library.  Most of the cars coming down the main road ignored the red light and honked at pedestrians crossing (even the kids).  Even though the library has tried to make crossing safe, it’s still a bit stressful.

Inside is very nice–there’s plenty of space to study and the reference department is bright and open, making it easy to sit there for hours and study.  I wonder if the big windows cause people to daydream more–I know I’d love to sit by one and do nothing more than look out at the world as it passes.  Anyway, the children’s department is just as big–there’s tons of space for the kids to read and the big windows keep the area bright and cheery.  I saw many families there with their children, which isn’t surprising.  I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to bring my kids here.

Then you get to the young adult department, the only place to find non-children’s graphic novels.  It’s pretty much the size of an office, with a couple of tables and shelves.  It was pretty depressing.  After seeing such a large children’s room, I has high hopes for an equally large young adult area.  There was a desk there, which shows there is a person that usually mans the department, but no one was present while I visited, giving the teen alcove the uncomfortable feeling of Manhasset’s closed area.  I couldn’t find a graphic novel I was interested in, so I walked over to the reference librarian, who pleasantly informed me they really didn’t have any graphic novels.

I browsed the non-fiction (a helpful tip from the reference librarian), grabbed a book about the history of graphic novels, and checked out.  The circulation clerk was cheery and friendly, offering me plenty of conversation while she scanned my card and my book.  She made a few jokes about the weather, which made me laugh.  Though I was disappointed that I didn’t get a graphic novel like I hoped to, I left happy because I felt like this library was glad to have me around.


Franklin Square

They’re currently doing construction on the building, so let’s not judge the poor guys on their outside.  Instead of using the front entrance, you have to go through the parking lot–which is the size of a peanut.  There are seriously about four parking spots.  Instead of waiting for a spot, I just parked in the lot across the street.

Inside is cramped with not a lot of study space.  Oddly though, it wasn’t uncomfortable.  It felt more like a library hug than a library smother.  I couldn’t find the young adult department, so I asked a woman at the information desk.  She literally jumped out of her seat and directed me to the set of shelves set aside for young adult books.  That was disappointing.  While I browsed, she continued to talk to me.  The construction done on this building could have left this  library as a pile of rubble–the information desk librarian’s cheery attitude and helpful nature would have made me happy to visit.  I picked out a graphic novel from the two shelves they owned, and walked into the children’s department.

Guys, they have gerbils.  Two tanks of gerbils!  The adorable children’s librarian told me a little about them while I peeked inside the tanks and said hello.  She told me some stories about the animals, as well as the library’s history with gerbils.  Oh, and children’s room is also cute.  I really liked the way it was arranged.  Immediately upon entering, the room popped out as easy to manage and neatly arranged.  Thumbs up to that kid’s room.  After embarrassing myself in front of the gerbils, I took my book to the circulation department and checked out.  The clerk was pretty grumpy and unwilling to talk to me, but I’m finding that’s usually the case with the circulation department staff.  After grabbing my book, I did my best to find my way out of the building, and left.


On terms of parking, they both had some problems.  I’d say Franklin Square is a bit easier, only because the lot across the street is huge and there was also no traffic to worry about on the street.  Crossing was easy as pancakes.  In terms of children’s rooms, I think I’ll have to give it to Hillside.  That place was giant.  Gerbils are awesome, but bright, open space trumps furry animals.  Hillside had a small YA room, but Franklin Square didn’t even have one–point goes to Hillside.  They tie on poor graphic novel selections.  Hillside had a way friendlier circ staff member, so I’ll have to give it the point for a better experience checking out.  Though I really enjoyed visiting Franklin Square, I’m going to give the win to: