I didn’t notice the parking lot to the side of this library until after I parked waaay down the side street beside the building and walked to the entrance. I laughed at my own silliness, but was glad for it because I got to walk around their big building, which is really nice from the outside. There’s a little path across the front, which was a cute touch that I really enjoyed. It was almost like the library itself was leading readers inside. The circulation desk is the first thing you see when you walk in–to the left is the reference department and to the right is the children’s and YA books. They also have more materials downstairs, which you can reach via stairs by the entrance. It’s not obvious right away, but this library is very large.
I turned left (like Donna Noble) and asked a really spunky librarian for help finding a book. She chatted with me about my topic and made funny jokes while telling a few anecdotes from her own life. She made me feel like she was my friend rather than some stranger paid to help me. She continued to tell jokes all the way to the shelves, where she handed me a book and bid me good luck. I spent a few minutes walking around the reference shelves, amazed by how many over sized books they had.
I hurried across the department towards the children’s room. The young adult books are located on shelves in a little alcove before the children’s room, though the large section of graphic novels were located in shelves before then (most of the books by the entrance to children’s were mostly series). Of course, I noticed the fish in children’s and sped to them, happily greeting a librarian who waved to me as I passed by. I watched the fish for a little while, content with the homey, welcoming atmosphere of the library, then wandered back to the circulation desk where a very friendly woman helped me check out.
It must have been a day to miss parking lots because I completely missed the entrance to this libary’s parking lot as well. Oops. Embarrassed, I turned around and snagged a parking spot right next to the entrance. The moment I stepped foot into the lobby, a wonderful woman greeted me and asked how I was. She smiled so brightly, I knew she loved her job. Even if I had walked in feeling awful, being greeted like I was an esteemed guest made me feel important to the staff.
I walked to the reference department, where I noticed the giant black heritage section. It was HUGE. I walked around the shelves and browsed some titles. This is definitely something I’d like to come back to when I have an afternoon free for exploring. There was no one at the desk, so I walked back towards the circulation desk. Before I reached it, I found the YA section, which is it’s own little nook of books. I grabbed a really interesting looking title, and walked across to children’s. There wasn’t anyone in this department either, but an interesting book on display caught my eye, so I took it with me as I walked back to the circulation desk.
I was actually a bit excited to talk with the woman who had enthusiastically welcomed me to her library. I expected it would be a great conversation. She didn’t disappoint me at all. She was engaging and hilarious–she told me stories about her brother, the recent flash of extreme weather and news she heard from others. Even after I had my library card tucked in my wallet and my books in hand, we continued to talk for a little while. She was such a great person.
On the way out of the parking lot, I saw a sign that marked the way out–and I secretly imagined that a lot of people passed the parking lot like I had (even though that’s probably very much not true).
Lakeview definitely had a better black heritage section–it was gigantic. Bigger than possibly all the graphic novel sections in Nassau County put together. However, Hicksville had it’s own strengths: the entire back portion of the reference department was stocked with oversize books. There was lots of staff around Hicksville ready to help, which made it easier to navigate when compared to the missing staff outside of the circulation desk (even though this woman was seriously amazing). Lakeview had the more convenient parking situation–the lot is directly in front of the entrance. Both libraries had a ton of tables and private spaces for studying. I really liked my trips to both these libraries and could see myself spending an afternoon in each, but I am going to give this round to: