Holbrook Library broadens patrons' horizons

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Imagine walking into an ordinary building on base and suddenly being transported to a land thousands of miles away, or stopping by for some leisurely browsing and leaving with the skills to speak a new language.

Those are only a sample of the many experiences that await those who enter the 28th Force Support Squadron Holbrook Library.

The base library is staffed with a handful of full-time employees and volunteers tasked with the responsibility of catering to an average of 500 customers per week - a number that is expected to double after the upcoming installation of personal-use computers. While the task may sound daunting, their statistics speak volumes about their abilities.

"We currently have approximately 1,025 products checked out every week," said Jeanne Stoltenburg, 28th FSS Holbrook Library director.

Stoltenburg, not unlike her fellow librarians, wears many hats at work. While purchasing the books, cataloguing items and being the facility manager take up a great deal of time, she said her favorite part is interacting with visitors.

"I love books, but I love the people more," Stoltenburg said. "Being able to pick the right book for the right person, or finding a book that makes someone's eyes sparkle is great."

Stoltenburg is not alone in her enthusiasm.

Laurie Hayes, 28th FSS Holbrook Library technician, described her role at the library - which includes running the preschool story time and the summer reading program, and working as a desk clerk - with a light in her eyes and a smile on her face.

"I love the people and I love kids," Hayes said. "The people here are so nice."

Hayes said the summer reading program, a project she has managed for the past three years, had 368 members this year and has experienced continued success.

"We have the (28th Security Forces Squadron) military working dogs and the (28th Civil Engineer Squadron) firemen come visit," Hayes said of the engaging program. "The little kids in the program read a total of 4,000 hours this year."

The library doesn't stop at offering personal reading selections and social interaction. Wanda Greene, 28th FSS Holbrook Library senior technician, said a program known as office collection is geared toward improving knowledge in individual career fields.

"It's designed to supplement existing training that each office does," Greene explained. "It can't be used to order reading material for waiting rooms or personal testing material, but we can order CDs, DVDs and even magazines."

Greene said shops can appoint a custodian for the material and then set up an account with the library. She said additional resources can be found using the Air Force Portal.

"Typing 'ICME' in the search box will take you to the Air Force Information Center for Mission and Education," Greene said. "From there, you can link to education assets such as books, newspaper and journal articles, and e-books. In addition, there are mission-specific databases for anti-terrorism, civil engineer, safety and security forces shops, to name a few."

The staff encourages anyone who has access to the base to come explore their selection of products and programs, including inter-library loans, Mango and Transparent Languages, a vast array of online reading resources and the children's play area, Safariland.

Amid the countless number of programs and services available at the Holbrook Library, Stoltenburg said books are quite possibly the most rewarding.

"Not everything's online," Stoltenburg said, referring to the satisfaction one feels when reading from a printed book instead of an electronic version. "Children can come in and pick up a book about Africa and read about and see pictures of an animal they may never see in real life. I call it 'access to imagination.'"

Hayes added she hopes the library continues to be a gathering place for members of Team Ellsworth.

"We're smaller than the library downtown, and we have that down-home feeling that makes it a connecting point for military families," Hayes said.

For more information, call the Holbrook Library at (605) 385-1688.