Friday, August 31, 2007

Queens library

the Forest Hills branch

I never gave much thought to the Queens library. I thought they were being clique-y by trying to distinguish themselves from the NY Public Library. And besides, I'm still in denial that I live in Queens, so I shouldn't have any real use for the Queens library.

So prompted by a positive NY Time article (yes I still read the damned thing) about the library, I mentioned it to DH who, after living here this whole time, has never bothered to mention it to his geeky bookish wife, and actually claimed that the Forest Hills branch is kinda nice, or comfortable, or something acceptable like that. It's not too far from us, so I applied for a library card, was thrilled when it arrived a week later, and promptly went down to the branch to check it out (and gather some business-type books).

The library is short. Not the building itself, but the shelves inside, are low and you can see over them. It's odd. Open. Small, like we are all little children. It's a tad confusing for the newcomer, as you enter to face a long check out-type counter with lots of people sort of busy on both sides of it. Then you see big spaces both to the right and left, filled with the child-sized library shelves. I go right, looking for the business section. I am not to expect a huge selection, given this is not the main branch, and given the thin state of inventory of the many major chain stores across the Boulevard in "town". I find the business section finally, gather a couple of books I need and am directed back over to the counter by the entry way.

Okay, here is the coolest part. So I get the attention of one of the people on the official looking other side of the counter, tell her it's my first time here and she patiently shows me how to use the utterly awesome cool checkout system. One of the best self-checkers so far! You line up all the books, face up, as well as your library card on this huge scanning slab on the counter. It's big, I mean really big. And with one touch of a button, it scans everything, all at once. Out pops your receipt, and voila. You're done. In, like, 5 seconds. Wow. So cool! So simple! So fast! Did I miss something? Whose amazing invention was this??

Another interesting thing to note - they have plastic bags for your books, like grocery bags only a tad nicer. I thought it odd since one - I've never ever seen bags to carry your books out in any of the libraries I'v ever been to in my whole entire geeky bookish life, and two - it did seem a bit odd in this current ecologically-conscious, "lessen your footprint!" environment. Odd. I did not take one. Not sure how I feel about it. If you're buying your books, then yes I believe you are entitled to a plastic bag in which to carry your brand new unsoiled purchase. But to borrow books? Odd.

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