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Hicksville Voices

For The Love Of Books

When I was a little girl, I loved my books. The feel of the pages between my fingers was comforting and the words transported me away to different worlds. The scent of books could elicit chills — dusty, musty with the slight aroma of ink, my books were my constant companion through my childhood. I loved my trips to Levittown Public Library, and was known to take out at least five or six titles per trip.

I remember, as I grew, that there was nothing in the world like a book. I swore to myself that I would have my own library, with books upon books about every subject imaginable. When B. Dalton opened in Broadway Mall, I was in all of my glory. That new book smell was, to me, better than the scent of chocolate. It was easy to run up the credit card bill, for everything interested me, and I would walk out of there with at least three shiny new hardcovers.

Borders Books on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset was always a great experience, especially after my daughter was born. We would go to the children’s section and sit for hours, looking through different titles, visiting with Little Bear and Clifford. It was so easy to lavish her own personal library with new and exciting adventures. Soon, my daughter developed the same appreciation for what we lovingly deemed, “the new book smell."

As time went on, and the bookshelves in both of our rooms became cramped, we realized that we needed to make a serious change to support our reading habit. When she was about six, we began to frequent Hicksville Public Library on Jerusalem Avenue. And yes, true to form, we walked out of there with at least five different books to read before bedtime. After we checked out of the children’s area, we’d stop off in the adult section for something that I might be able to read at night as well. She had gotten her own library card, and it helped her to feel a bit more grown up.

As we’d glean the shelves, I had taught my daughter how to read the Dewey Decimal System. She became the greatest scout for me; as she found the book we were searching for, she’d pull it off the shelves triumphantly and shout, “Found it!” It was then that she had also learned that one does not shout in a public library, although I certainly shared a bit of a giggle with her afterwards in a desolate aisle.

Years have passed since that innocent time of Magic Tree House stories, Harry Potter and even Madeline, but we are both still patrons of the Hicksville library. It’s almost magical, when you walk through the double doors; you become enveloped in a peaceful silence that floats over you like a blanket. And the best part about the experience is that our library isn’t just for borrowing books. One can view an art exhibit, take a class, find magazines, even borrow CD’s and DVD’s. You can learn to cook, draw, paint, write, and even learn yoga! One of the nicest parts of the library is its architecture; it’s well-worn façade almost speaks knowingly of its 68 years in existence, of times long gone.

Borders and B. Dalton are no longer open in our area, but the Hicksville Public Library has stood the test of time. Once a private residence, with add-ons throughout the years, its humble beginnings on West Nicolai St. prompted its relocation to its current setting. It’s a fine place to visit — may you make your own wonderful memories!