SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Nov. 14, 2013) -- When a water rupture damaged hundreds of books at the U.S. Army library at Landstuhl, staff with the Ledward Library at U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt responded.

A portion of Landstuhl's fiction collection was destroyed Aug. 1 when a water tank located in the office above the library there erupted and soaked hundreds of books, said Stacy H. Graham, region librarian for IMCOM-Europe.

Ledward librarian Christine Willis embraced the opportunity to help her Landstuhl colleagues just as the Schweinfurt garrison begins to draw down for eventual closure in September 2014.

"I was eager to help," Willis said. "We've already begun drawing down the Ledward Library in preparation for closure. I felt I could support the needs of the Landstuhl community while still providing for our Schweinfurt community."

Willis and her crew transferred nearly 1,900 fictional titles authored by writers with last names ending from A -- L. But patrons can still request and check out books from the U.S. Army Europe Libraries' vast collection of roughly 480,000 books using the online inter-library loan request, she said.

"We had to inspect each one to ensure all pages were there and in good condition," adding that the process took about five weeks to complete the mission, Willis said.

Ledward Library staff began decreasing its collection earlier this year as part of the Army's library closure standard operating procedures.

"As part of the SOP, one year out our staff starts a weeding process. We begin removing damaged, worn and out-of-date materials," Willis said in a closure blog posted in April in response to a rumor that the library was giving away its materials.

Situated on Wilson Barracks, the Landstuhl Library -- now called the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz/Kaiserslautern Main Library -- is part of the U.S. Army-Europe Libraries network.

Despite the upcoming garrison closure and the recent transfer of books, Willis and her staff continue to serve the Schweinfurt community.

"We intend to remain open for as long as possible," Willis said. "And if anyone has any questions, come on in. We're located in building 242 on Ledward Barracks by the ACS office. We might be a few books shy now, but we will still help you find what you want."