There’s No Place Like The Public Library

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Target Awards Grant for Children’s Room Mural

During the summer months, you may find some village residents relaxing at the beach or enjoying family vacations to exotic locales. For others though, finding peace and quiet can be as simple as walking outside their front door and paying a visit to the Floral Park Library. Housed in a former post office, the historic structure sits at 17 Caroline Place.

Library Director Tracey Simon sat down with the Floral Park Dispatch to talk about the importance of public libraries to the community, as well as to discuss upcoming library projects for 2010. Simon, who began her tenure as director last October, says the library offers visitors more than just books. “This is the community’s living room. Where else can you go in a public building where you can sit for a couple hours and just hang out? We are one of the last face-to-face operations where you can go in and ask a question and maybe even get it answered,” Simon explained.

On any given day, you’ll find residents using the vast amount of free resources available. For those looking for a job or wanting to meet new people or interested in learning, Internet stations and networking meetings are offered. The library’s website, available seven days a week, also provides a variety of additional electronic resources including catalogs, databases and newspapers dating back to the Titanic.

Art lovers who are library cardholders can take advantage of free passes to visit a number of Long Island museums, as well as the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. According to Simon, the library also is the meeting place for many community organizations who are especially proud of their contribution. Made With Love, a group of needle crafters from Floral Park and the surrounding area, make items for local community members in need, as well as working on projects to practice their skills. The group meets on Wednesdays, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. “We have a knitting group that makes something for hospitals, vets, and children’s hospitals. They are doing a community service,” she said.

Simon was excited to learn that the library was recently awarded a $2,000 Arts and Culture Grant from Target. The department store giant offers grants to schools and nonprofits that bring arts and cultural experiences directly to K to grade 12 students. According to its website, the monies raised will be used to bring the members of the local community together. A competition will be held for the best mural design. “The project we’re doing is a mural for the Children’s Room with community involvement, of course. It’s not just hiring an artist to go do it. The idea is to get the community involved and they have a sense of ownership and say they worked on it,” Simon explained. “There’s a mural artist who will be working with us at a later date once we have the designs, who is going to show them how to translate designs to canvas and volunteers paint it and put it up,” she said, adding the details are still being worked out, but winners will likely be chosen from each age range.

With the help of Floral Park Village Board, plans are under way for the library to make some improvements to the building. “We would like to have an elevator. We hope to have the funding for that,” she explained. Simon indicated that no date has been set as the project is dependent upon whether the budget passes.

Whether you want to use the resources the library has to offer or just go read a magazine and borrow a DVD, there’s something for everyone to benefit from. “You have a choice with the library – it could either be a trophy or a treasure,” Simon stated. “A trophy is something that is great to have. You have it on your countertop for everybody to look at. It just sits there and collects dust; it doesn’t add anything. But a treasure, regardless of a chest that it’s in, is a wealth that you can use to create more wealth. Whether it’s a wealth of information, a wealth of learning, a wealth of enjoyment and happiness, it’s useful. A treasure is useful; a trophy is not. I’d like to see this library be used as a treasure for this community,” Simon added.

For more information on the Floral Park Library, visit the website at www.nassaulibrary.org/fpark.

 

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