To say I was impressed with the Hoover Public Library would be an understatement. Before I moved to Birmingham I had a library card in two counties, both Duval and St. Johns, but I can say I think Hoover has them both beat.
In Duval County (Jacksonville) The main library downtown was huge and beautiful, but not so convenient. That is one difference. Another is the staff. I was helped by Mary and another employee at the front desk who were both helpful and friendly. Getting my card was easy and then Mary gave me a brief overview of where things were located. They graciously called to be sure I had permission to take photos as I explored. Even in my favorite little library near my home in St. Johns County I never was met with such southern hospitality.
The layout of the library makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for. The video and music selection is quite large. Audio books are also available, some of which can even be downloaded.
The large Kidzone was very child friendly and even had a fenced outdoor play area. The Teen Spot was a perfect place for study or hanging out. For those who need a hushed place for study there is a Quiet Study area.
The Friends Bookstore, staffed by Friends of the Hoover Library, and Coffe-Ol-ogy Café are two places I plan to check out more thoroughly on my next visit.
The library has a full schedule of activities and events for all ages, from storytime for those three and under to the Battle of the Bands for the teens to numerous book groups for adults. There are also author presentations and musical events as well.
Some unique features that wowed me:
- The “Cone of Silence” – a futuristic-looking booth that patrons can step inside if they need to use their cell phone
- Book Club Kits- including multiple copies of the book – that can be checked out for six weeks
- To make checkout easy, there are self-check kiosks scattered around the building.
- An online “email a librarian” feature
- Nooks available for checkout
- Laptops that can be checked out for use within the library
- Headphones are sold for $2 and Flash Drives for $5 at the service desk
- The Library Theatre – a venue that hosts World-Class entertainment