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By Griffin Swartzell, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 13, 2019
Members of the 21st Operations Support Squadron stand for a group photo after assisting base library staff in packing up the library on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado for temporary closure Nov. 21, 2019. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
Members of the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron and Staff Sgt. Maria Martinelli pause before transporting a truckload of weeded-out books from base library on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado on Nov. 13, 2019. The Airmen later drove the truck to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office on Fort Carson, Colorado. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
The library on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is closed for renovations, with a planned reopening date in early February 2020. The primary purpose of this renovation is to update carpeting and paint throughout the library and relevant workspaces, but the library’s staff is taking advantage of the closure to complete a major inherited initiative that better serves the library’s mission.
They will be completing a shift to “Modern Bookstore Layout,” having recently purged the collection of outdated and non-circulating material.
“We were using the Dewey Decimal System before, and the Modern Bookstore Layout is a more intuitive access point for patrons,” explains Anna Dunson, 21st Force Support Squadron library director.
Under this layout, newly adopted by Air Force Libraries, titles are labeled and housed with their genre or subject rather than traditional call number. This, along with a smaller collection size, should make users’ experience less overwhelming, helping patrons more easily access what the library does have on-site. Once the library re-opens, patrons will be able to access any book they need by requesting it through interlibrary loan, as they can at any other library. This transition will also create space in the library for additional resources in support of the Peterson community.
But packing up an entire facility, especially one housing shelves upon shelves of print material and associated supplies, demands time and muscle, more than the library’s three-person staff could manage on a condensed timeline of two weeks. Staff Sgt. Maria Martinelli, 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of first-term Airmen course, stepped up and sourced volunteers to help with the physical work required.
Martinelli was able to garner the support of a group of Airmen volunteers from the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, who acquired a government vehicle and transported 116 boxes of weeded-out books as well as obsolete equipment to the Defense Reutilization Management Office on Fort Carson, Colorado.
“Martinelli reached out to her contacts and was able to pull through and complete a DRMO run for us,” says Jenna Skibitsky, 21st FSS senior library technician. “I do believe that, at least on our side, we got a little teary-eyed over it.”
No less instrumental in supporting this mission were volunteers from the library’s own 21st FSS, the 16th Space Control Squadron and the 21st Operations Support Squadron.
“They were patient and kept their positive attitudes,” says Martinelli. “They were ready to spend all day helping out.”
“They showed that they were invested in the effort, and that included leaving the installation,” adds Dunson.
Martinelli calls it an example of both the value of networking within the Air Force and the Air Force’s family mentality. All three agree that it would have been far more difficult, if not impossible, to complete their work without that support.
For now, though the library is closed, staff will be checking the book drop for any returned items as well as accepting renewal requests via e-mail. For more any questions with regards to patron accounts, including out-processing, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.