Fort McPherson Library turns page to its final chapter
March 25, 2011
- Fort McPherson
- Library closure
- Base Realignment and Closure, BRAC
Like a good book taken out of it, the Fort McPherson Library unfortunately, has an end.
Although the final page in its history may not be until May 3, the story of the library has hits its climax.
The beginning of the end will occur April 1, when patrons will no longer be able to check out items.
With the end so close, the library has seen an increase in patrons over the past few weeks, said Patricia Lockhart, library technician. "We still see people coming in and filling out cards so they can get things," she said.
In the time remaining, any materials - books, DVDs, VHS tapes, audio CDs - at the library are still open for the public to check out. Movies, no matter the format, can be checked out for a week, audio CDs for two weeks and books for three, said Allie McNeal, reference librarian.
All materials, however, despite checkout length, will be due back by April 15, said Patricia Lockhart, library technician.
Lt. Col. Lee Blyle, plans officer, Third Army/U.S. Army Central G-4, took advantage of the remaining time by visiting the library Monday to check out some DVDs and read some periodicals. "I'm going to miss the place," he said. "It's nice to be able to take a break from work, do some reading, rest up and get free movies." Besides these things, Blyle said the library's computers are also a handy resource to have.
It was a sentiment shared by Tyra Gillespie, a paramedical examiner with American Para Professional Systems. Gillespie, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Fabian Gillespie, is incoming from Fort Bliss, Texas, said she uses the library several times a week for its computers and scanners and to browse for an entertaining fiction book. "It's a place to go between clients," she said, adding her children, Deza, 12, and Devarion, 13, also enjoy coming to the library on the weekend to check things out.
The window to do so is closing fast as the library staff is already preparing to transfer materials to other Army libraries. Because all of the books, movies and CDs are Army property, they must all be transferred, meaning none of the materials will be sold to interested buyers, said Clayton Blackburn, chief librarian. Currently, materials are scheduled to be relocated to Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Stewart and Fort Benning.
The accountability of all these materials means that anything not turned into the library, whether because it was lost or damaged, is subject to collection action, said Lockhart. Collection actions will be undertaken May 3, when the library closes permanently. Patrons with balances will be notified beforehand, she said, adding people should start looking now if they feel they may have an overdue item. While materials will be due April 15 to allow the staff to pack them, the library will remain open to allow people to use the computer systems, Lockhart said. The computers will remain in the library for use until May 2, when they will be transferred to Army Community Service (Bldg. 62) on Fort McPherson.
Once gone, the building will be empty, but for the library staff, the impending closure is already leaving holes in their hearts.
"It's been a very pleasant place to work," said Lockhart, who has worked at library seven years. "We have very friendly people and a neighborly atmosphere." McNeal, who worked at library since 1992, said the building was more than just a building - it was a place of camaraderie.
Blackburn, who has worked at the library for the past 15 years, said it was a perfect place to wrap up his career. "This is one of the few places I've worked where the library was fully supported by the command. We've always had a decent budget, so it's a good way to go out," he said.
While command support is important, McNeal also said it is important for the community to support the library. "If you come, we know what you'll need and we can supply it," she said, encouraging people to support the library wherever they end up. "The library can develop if the community supports it."