Charlene Noll, director of Hillside Public Library in New Hyde Park, has lived in the community her entire life. Noll graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor’s degree in science and from Queens College with a master's of library science. She said she couldn’t get a teaching job after college, so she chose to be a librarian.
Tell me about some of the events the library is or will be offering.
We have readings, driving courses, blood pressure screenings, a career and job services program and musical events. In February, we have a puppet show [Friday at 4 p.m.], Valentine Craft Workshop on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. and a movie showing of “Ice Age: Continental Drift” on Feb. 15 [ at 4 p.m.] We try to hit everyone we think of with some sort of program they’re interested in. We’re one of a few libraries to offer cooking classes, Zumba and yoga.
What was it like here after superstorm Sandy devastated the Island?
We opened our doors a day after the storm hit. The community came to us to plug in, play boardgames with their family and share their stories over a cup of tea or hot cocoa.
How long has the library been in the community?
We’ve been here in this building for six years, but the library used to be in a wing of the Manor Oaks Elementary School years before that. The library is a hub of the community. You walk in here and see people reading by the fireplace, learning a new language on the computers and reading to their kids.
Tell me about one of your favorite places to eat.
There’s the obvious, Umberto’s or Gino’s, but me and my husband love Yesterday’s Diner. The food is great, the price is low and the people who work there are like our friends. They know us when we walk in the door. It just has that cozy small-town feel.
What do you remember growing up in New Hyde Park in the 1960s?
Well, it wasn’t as congested as it is now. There was a lot more empty space. When I was a kid, I remember seeing the potato fields in north New Hyde Park. In the 1970s, it was so country and open. I remember going ice skating on Ridder Pond. And no one had big houses back then. Over the years, there has been a lot of development. Now, you see a lot of houses that are built out. As a teenager, we didn’t hang out too much in New Hyde Park, we took a bus to Roosevelt Field mall and Jones Beach.
What has kept you here all these years?
My whole family is here. I have a job I really like and this is a really nice community, with a small-town feel. Although it has changed a lot in the past decades, I love it here.
For more information on events offered by the library, visit www.nassaulibrary.org/hillside.