“What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else –
is the fact that it exists”. ~Archibald MacLeish.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst library staff wanted to make sure that libraries existed throughout the joint base. And now they do. Within the past year, a single operation library on the McGuire side of the base has become a “library system” with the opening of a satellite library at the SFAC center on Ft. Dix and the expansion the book swap at Cyber Café on Lakehurst Naval Air Station to a center of full services. The three libraries now share materials and resources, and serve a 65-squaremile behemoth stretching through farmland and forests and flight lines, and offering books, DVDs, CDs, audio books, paperbacks, and electronic readers to
Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines.
Weekly, library employees travel to each site, loading cars with library materials and supplies. The outreach
library staff member works at each satellite library one-two days a week, performing all the same functions
to get materials into the patrons’ hands. They also implement and track services that initiate at the
main branch located on McGuire, and then are delivered to the outreach sites weekly. Any member of
the joint base community can use any or all of the three libraries as long as they have registered for a
library privilege, using their base ID – military, civilian, dependent, or retiree.
Each library has its own needs and requests. The library services at the SFAC Center are tailored to assist
the wounded warriors with materials that would help them with rehabilitation, transition, pursuit of
educational venues, enhancement of job skills and dealing with employment issues. The library also provides
this population with special services equipment and items that facilitate reading – CCTV – a monitor
enlarging print; audio streaming computer – “text to voice” service that reads magazines and newspapers
aloud; LARGE PRINT BOOKS. Lakehurst already had a “paperback swap” in their lively Cyber Café. Now their shelves will house bestsellers, educational materials, gaming selections and non-fiction requests, Playaways, and DVDs. Children’s books will also be provided to the CDC facility.
In keeping with the library’s commitment to offer the broadest scope of services throughout the tri-base communities, the library has already hosted author talks and programs at both outreach centers and will
continue with new presentations this coming year. A partnership with BURLINGTON COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM has been initiated and arrangements for the county bookmobile to operate bi-weekly in the family
housing area of Falcon Court North is now underway. This mobile library offers the military community over 1,000,000 more resources, including books, CDs and movies from 23 branches.
The goal of the Joint Base library system is to keep assessing the needs of each operation and address
them accordingly. Customer service is the primary mission. As the main library pursues new collections
and programs the outreach sites will now always be part of the considerations.
Though a library system “in progress,” the system works. The library staff is pleasantly challenged by the
development of this new ‘system” and the personnel at both outreach sites have been as enthusiastic and
supportive as the patrons themselves. As this joint base library concept emerges, so do the ideas and
activity levels of the involved staff. Base awareness of these services is growing and the library staff is developing procedures and policies that are tailored to each center’s needs, yet can be applied throughout
the system for continuity and smooth execution of customer service.
“Libraries are not made; they grow.” ~Augustine Birrell
And, yes… the Joint Base Library will continue to grow.