From the outside (and inside), Merrick is a beautiful library. There is parking directly beside the building as well as a large lot across the street. Also, the street you have to cross isn’t a busy road, so there isn’t a problem facing a heavy traffic flow between your car and the library. As I walked in, I immediately noticed that they have the coolest bike rack I’ve ever seen. I’ll post the picture further down. Anyway, the inside is large, bright and includes two floors. Reference is on the ground floor. I went there first and asked a pleasant librarian for help finding a book. She wasn’t able to find it, but she did show me the section where several other books on my topic were located. I chose one I liked and then made my way upstairs, which is where the media, young adult and children’s departments are located.
They have a separate room for teens with some of their collection outside of the room. They didn’t have a lot of graphic novels, but I found an interesting one nonetheless. While I looked, I tried to make eye contact with a woman who was sitting at a desk beside me–I had a question I wanted to ask regarding the DVDs. She was reading something and didn’t look up at me when I first approached the desk or when I returned to ask my question, so I didn’t wait long beside the desk. My question wasn’t too important, and I figured I could ask the circulation clerk later in my trip. Instead, I continued on to the children’s department.
The walls are painted with an undersea theme–and they even have a fish tank. I don’t mean a bowl-sized fish tank either. This thing was huge and had all sorts of fish inside. I especially liked that they had paragraphs of information on top of the tank regarding what was inside. I thought this was great, mostly because I found this insanely cool looking starfish and immediately wanted to know what it was called. The tank is all the way in the back of the room, so for people like me who get excited to see animals in the library, it forces them to walk across the big department in order to scope out what’s in the tank. I’m not sure if this was done on purpose, or if it was done to kind of separate the play area from the rest of the department (or both), but if this is the case, it’s an extremely clever idea. It works perfectly.
Checking out was easy. I handed a kind woman my material and we talked about the weather (I can’t help it) while she scanned all my stuff. I was out of there in no time, happily toting my books to my car and thinking about fish.
Parking for this library was a bit confusing. There are spots in front, but also spots across the street in a lot. There are a lot of lights and entrances and exits, so I had to loop around the block once before figuring out how to nab a parking spot. I had a really hard time not running to the beach (I don’t know how employees here come to work on sunny days) because it’s not too far from the sandy shore. I also imagined whether it would be possible to have a book mobile driving up and down the boardwalk with bestsellers for beach goers, but I’m really getting off topic now.
Inside was dark compared to the sunny street. I hopped over to reference where a massively nice librarian helped me find a book. I told her more specifically what I was looking for while we walked to the shelves together and she cracked friendly jokes about their tiny selection while she pointed some titles out. They had dozens and dozens of books to choose from (hence all the joking). I actually had a hard time finding just one to check out because there were so many titles that sounded interesting. AND THEN, to make matters worse, as I was walking away from the shelves, I happened to catch a glimpse of cookbooks that dealt with chocolate recipes. After I drooled over several delicious sounding books, I tried to leave the library (again) and instead, found myself face-to-face with the wall of graphic novels.
Yes. That’s right. A wall. And not just a wall of short shelves, I mean a wall of oh-God-can-I-reach-that-high shelves FULL of graphic novels. It took every ounce of strength not to hug the books. Now I understand why whenever I request a graphic novel, Long Beach is one of the libraries to always send materials. I was in my glory. I scanned the titles, vowed to read them all one day, and sadly chose just one to take home.
I noticed a media nook on my way out (at this point, I’m lucky I noticed anything at all on account of my frantic scribbling of graphic novel titles in a notebook I had in my bag), and after a pleasant (and slightly awkward) conversation with the circulation clerk, I was excited to speed home to read my books. The clerk told me that the library has book drops on the boardwalk, which I thought was completely awesome. She also said that Long Beach has the biggest graphic novel collection in all of Nassau County. While I was really happy, I feel like she let out some spoilers, haha. It really was a beautiful adult graphic novel collection.
This match is extremely close. I really had to ponder this one for a while. Both buildings had parking across the street, though Merrick’s lot was extremely easy to use and the street wasn’t as hard to cross. The librarian that helped me at Long Beach was very knowledgeable of her library’s collection while also being very funny and nice. She didn’t bother looking up numbers or handing me papers, she just popped over to the shelf and offered me their huge selection. On terms of study space, I have to give Merrick a lot of props–their library is very bright. There were plenty of places to study at Long Beach too, but the lack of sunlight made me favor my first visit. Both circulation clerks were kind and processed my materials speedily. At Long Beach, I felt the staff were all very conscious of being ready to help any patron that walked by–they not only know their library well, but they seem to really have fun at work. Thus, with a lot of debating, I give this round to: