Hi, my name is Brian, and I am a Library Nerd. As much as I liked going the the library as a kid, it’s actually ramped up significantly in adulthood. One of the first things I did when we moved to Maplewood a few years ago was scope out the library situation, and I was more than thrilled to find that the township had thoughtfully placed the Hilton satellite branch walking distance from my house. On the move-in todo list: Get a library card.
Since then, the Maplewood Library’s Hilton Branch has been one of my regular haunts (I think I’ve only been to the main location a half-dozen times or so). Because it’s a little smaller and not right downtown, I find that it’s easier to make the Hilton library my own local literary watering-hole. The librarians there quickly started to recognize me (it helps that they have to call my house several times a month with reserve items), to the point that my parents recently came in from out of town and were able to borrow a book for the grandkid just by dropping my name at the front desk. No card, no ID, no collateral—they just said, “Brian sent me.”
With all the upsides of using the smaller town library come no real downsides. Books taken out there can be returned at either branch. Books housed in the main library can be requested online and will be delivered to the Hilton hold shelf in just a day or two. And most kid & adult programs at the downtown branch are also offered at Hilton.
As soon as my son was born, I went about making sure the Hilton library started to become one of his favorite places, too. He began attending Baby Lit there before he was old enough to sit up and focus on the stories, and I frequently bring him over for a little father/son story time. Now he digs crawling up and down the stacks, and the librarians all know his name, too.
I keep hearing rumblings that Maplewood is considering shuttering the Hilton branch to trim the budget, a possibility that makes me shudder. Drive down to the main branch instead of walk to my local library? Suddenly become an anonymous face in the book-borrowing crowd? No thanks. When it comes to filling my bag with books and my brain with stories, the Hilton Branch is my Cheers: I want to go where everybody knows my name.