I’m fortunate enough to live close to the Hyattsville Public Library, located in Hyattsville, Maryland. It is a large library with all kinds of resources to check out. Even though it’s a cool library, I don’t get there too often mainly because whenever I need to use a library, I tend to go to the smaller library that’s located closer to my home. (Yeah, I’m lame and lazy. LOL!) I only go to the Hyattsville library whenever I need something that the closer library doesn’t have.
The Hyattsville library is such a large building that I have to walk across the street and take a photo on panoramic setting in order to get the entire building in one frame. As you can see, it looks like a typical library building.
There’s something located at the front entrance that’s very noticeable from the street and parking lot.
It’s a flying saucer! Seriously, this library has a canopy that’s shaped like a flying saucer that one would see on The Jetsons or some cheaply made 1950’s science fiction movie.
The top is made from plexiglass, which does a great job at shielding the sun.
The Hyattsville public library was opened in 1964 and the building was dedicated to President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated the previous year. The flying saucer was a pretty fitting tribute to JFK since he wanted to put a big priority on putting a man on the moon in 10 years and he was NASA’s big champion. In time it became a big landmark and it became known as the library with the flying saucer. In my mind, this flying saucer is just as iconic for the Hyattsville library as the two giant stone lions that guard the entrance to the New York Public Library’s 42nd Street and 5th Avenue branch in Manhattan.
The nearby sign reminds visitors that it’s really a library and not some kind of a UFO/science fiction museum tourist trap.
The Hyattsville library is scheduled to undergo renovation and there were rumors that the flying saucer was going to be permanently dismantled as part of the process. This caused such an uproar among the locals that they began to organize through such efforts as creating a Save Our Saucer Facebook group and having a petition on Change.org. The efforts have paid off because it was recently announced that the flying saucer will be saved but the rest of the building will probably be razed in order to build a newer more modern building.
Since the rest of the library itself is slated to be either torn down or renovated beyond all recognition, I decided to take photos of the rest of the library for posterity. When you enter through the front doors that are located underneath the flying saucer canopy, you see a front lobby that’s typical of a public library. Basically you’re on the upper level of the library.
The upper level has two large side rooms—one for children’s books and the other for adult books. The children’s books room has some whimsical decorations that one would expect for this kind of room.
The children’s book area has children’s books (of course) but it also has shelves for children’s DVDs and CDs. Hyattsville is a multicultural area with immigrants so there are books in other languages besides English. There are also a few computer terminals that children can use while their parents and the librarians can supervise them.
The adult books area also includes Teen/Young Adult books along with books in other languages besides English. There is also a display about the history of the Hyattsville library including old newspaper clippings and vintage photographs.
Hanging over the stairwell that leads to the library’s lower level is a giant Welcome banner that’s written in a variety of languages.
The next photo shows the lobby of the lower level that one would see if he/she opts to enter through the lower level.
The lower level includes a Meeting Room (where local outside community groups can hold meetings) and the Novel Endings Bookstore where people can buy used books very cheaply. (It serves as a fundraiser for the library. Some of the books come from the library’s recent discards while others were donated by people in the local area in exchange for a tax write-off.)
This sign announces upcoming meetings where people can give their opinions about the upcoming library renovation.
The largest area of the lower level is the Periodicals and DVDs Room. It has a large selection of newspapers and magazines that one can read in the room. (Patrons aren’t allowed to check out newspapers and magazines. They have to read them on the premises.) Some of the periodicals are in other languages besides English. There is also a large DVD collection that one can borrow for free. (Which makes it even cheaper than Netflix.) There is a CD collection that people can check out. Off to one side is a small computer lab where people can use computers for a variety of reasons. (If you’ve brought your own laptop or mobile device, the library offers free Wi-Fi.)
The next shot is the long canopied walkway that’s outside the lower level’s front entrance. There is a side building that houses administrative offices and, in the past, has also housed offices of various non-profit groups.
The side building currently only has one outside group using one of the offices. Prince George’s Community College currently holds classes specializing in adult literacy and teaching English to recent immigrants.
Here’s another shot of the canopied walkway leading to the lower level entrance.
I have to admit that the building can use some sprucing up, although I’m not sure if tearing down the entire structure and building a new one in its place is the best solution. I think it depends on things like the current building structure and energy efficiency. In any case, I’m glad to hear the flying saucer will remain no matter what happens to the rest of the library.
UPDATE (March 31, 2017): Since I wrote this post the library managed to remain open longer than I expected. But today is the very last day that the old library building will be open to the general public.