Fountains, art exhibits, a building bigger than an Aldi… I used to think all libraries were made equal.
But now, having roamed the Pinellas and Hillsborough county library system (Tampa Bay area) I realized that the difference between PCPL, HCPL and my hometown (CCPL) Naples libraries were like comparing my drabby apartment to the fabulous life of a Hollywood mansion.
Ah, similarity time. With the electricity loving people of today, both library systems have more people on the computers than the books. Additionally, both library areas are also strongly tied to the local community hosting fundraisers, meetings, and classes.
Ah, bashing time. Perhaps because the local species of Naples folk (those who saw Elvis alive) have more money, love education, or just don’t know what a keyboard is, each Naples library has more rows of books than computers. Out of the four libraries I frequent in Tampa, the most rows of books (not counting kids area) I saw was 16… whereas one Naples library had 60+… yes… wtf? And somehow Naples also has recent DVD’s on loan… somehow Tampa got stuck with the whole National Geographic series. On the other hand, my Tampa libraries were noisy, community gathering places which I loved. Yet, in Naples I watched in amusement as an elderly librarian tried to chase “loud” students into the youth room when the neighboring middle school let out.
The biggest difference lies in the buildings themselves. The Naples libraries were designed with an actual plan to place each library section in its own space… Tampa libraries feel like it began its life as a classroom, then quickly had to accomodate “other library things” with DVD’s pushed up against magazine racks.
Naples libraries pwn the ones in Tampa Bay… but you’ll definitely still see me getting excited as soon as a wander the rows of books in Tampa… even if I only have to pass 16 rows.