Figures that I managed to pair these two together, right? Whoops. In any case, onto the battle!
I’ve been to this library once before years ago (it was when I first bought my new car–I remember because I sat in the parking lot trying to figure out how to turn my high beams off for an embarrassingly long minute) for a book signing. It rained the entire night and all I could remember was that the library was really tall and that it was located in the middle of no where. Well, the library is still tall, but driving there in the dry day made me realize it’s not even close to the middle of no where. I probably got lost and had to loop around the first visit–it was really mind-blowing when I got there quickly, only to realize it’s right next to Long Beach library. Anyway, I’m really off topic. Back to the actual library!
When you first walk in, the library seems incredibly small. Children’s is to the left, the front desk to the right and young adult in the back. However, there are stairs to the far right which bring you up to the rest of the library. I kind of like this characteristic because the small floors give you the intimacy of tiny libraries while also vertically packing in the space of the bigger libraries. I asked the librarian for help, and she pointed out display book I could browse.
When I went back to ask another question, the librarian was snacking and didn’t notice me for an awkward couple of minutes, even after I said, “excuse me.” When she did look up though, she pointed me the direction of what I was looking for. I found a book that was perfect for what I needed, and sat down in the young adult section for a few minutes to read through what I got. Speaking of, the young adult department is its own corner towards the back of the first floor. I sat at a table for a few minutes and felt completely isolated from the rest of the library. As I picked out a graphic novel (which I didn’t quite see a section for, they were in piles around the shelves), I new studying here would be nice.
While I waited to be checked out, I listened to a man complain that he didn’t check out enough books during his last visit. He explained that he and his wife had gone to the beach and read through the series they had borrowed. Now, a day later, he was back for more. I love hearing things like this. The librarian who helped me checked out my materials since the other woman behind the desk was occupied with the avid beach reader. As she blooped my card and books, she chatted about her own life, her daughter, and the weather for the weekend. It was a really nice way to end my trip.
Finally, the parking lot is in front of the building but is a bit small. I had to wait for a spot to open up, but it isn’t timed spots, so that’s a plus.
This library is located next to a school, though I was told by a librarian it isn’t a regular elementary school. I was a bit disappointed to hear that because up until that moment I was imagining the hordes of children running to the library after class. When you walk into the building, you have to pass through a bit to get to the library (I must have looked completely insane when I peeked inside to make sure I wasn’t turning into staff offices, which I’ve done before). Past the circulation desk is the reference desk and beyond that, the young adult desk. They have a section for graphic novels, though it’s a bit awkwardly placed. To view them, I felt like I was invading the librarian’s personal bubble (which didn’t stop me because I have a weakness for them). Even though the YA section was small, it gave off the impression that it was still its own space. The librarian jumped to help me while I was waiting to ask a question at the reference desk–she was incredibly nice and just walked me over to the section I wanted without hesitation. She seemed like someone who cared deeply for her job by the way she explained the collection on the walk to the books.
Across from the circulation department is the children’s room, which, unlike the reference and young adult department, is its own room. It reminded me a lot of a kindergarten classroom, something I really enjoyed (both kindergarten and the feel of the room). When it was time to check out, I couldn’t have had a better circulation experience. The clerk was loud and didn’t hesitate to pull me into the conversation she was already having. I felt like coming here would be like visiting friends, or going to places like the bar or salon: you make friends with the employees and not only get a service, but also get a chance to talk to real people who genuinely care about your day.
Now here’s where I have to pray I don’t mix up the names. Island Park was bigger and had more nooks for quiet study, but Island Trees had a staff that really made the visit worthwhile. Both librarians that helped me brought me right to the kind of books I needed, though Island Trees had a young adult librarian, despite the lack of a walled in section (also they had tons of graphic novels). Both had parking in front (Island Trees has masses more) and both aren’t timed. I like the quietness and intimacy of Island Park, but I’m going to have to give the round to the helpful ladies at: