Torii Station, Okinawa -- After wrapping up 17 months of renovations, the Torii Station library re-opened on May 30.

The new library is much more than just a library. In addition to offering books, movies and music CDs for check-out, it now offers free wifi, free public use internet service, computer workstations, a media room, a kids room and even has a full-service coffee shop inside that offers freshly brewed coffee and tea, a variety of espresso drinks and a wide range of tempting paninis and mouthwatering pastries.

"We're very excited. Libraries are going in a new direction. There is less focus on collections and being a warehouse and more focus on using the space as a common gathering,"
said librarian Casey Grimmer.

The entire building was gutted out and reconstructed. Everything is new from the plumbing, wiring, flooring and computers to the shelving. The layout is completely different and was redesigned to make it more user friendly than the old library.

"The library has a huge selection of books, DVDs and music CDs available for check out -- all free of charge. We have a lot of new books on the Bestsellers list, along with current magazines and periodicals. The internet section has ten computer workstations and the wifi is available on on a commercial network," said Justin Evers, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Business and Recreation Chief.

Nobu Taka Takaesu, whose father worked at the Torii Station Library nearly 40 years ago, attended the grand opening ceremony.

"I'm most grateful to be invited to such a wonderful ceremony. Before the reversion of Okinawa, my father worked on this U.S. military base. His last place to work was this library. I cannot believe I am standing here to celebrate the opening of this facility," said Takaesu.

One of the new features in the library is a soundproof media room where you can go to watch DVDs, play video games and even go online and play against other online players.

Another new feature is a soundproof kids room with age-appropriate books, a TV, DVDs, a DVD player and a Play Station 3.

The Pirate Republic Coffee Shop, located inside the library, features a Trifecta unit, which could be best described as an automatic French press. It uses an air infusion single cup process. Torii Station is the first military base in the world to have one.

"You'll be blown away and will never want to go back to regular coffee again. It's like riding in first class: you'll never want to go back to coach," said Evers.

Page last updated Thu June 28th, 2012 at 00:00