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: