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