FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- Without putting any additional squeeze on their wallets, several Fort McPherson, Ga. Soldiers and Civilian employees are taking long trips this holiday season.

Using their imagination and guided by the words of their favorite authors, these people are venturing deep into the worlds of fiction and nonfiction, courtesy of the Fort McPherson Library.

Unlike many gifts under the Christmas tree this year, the gift of knowledge from the library carries no price tag.

"All the services are free. There is no fee (to rent), you don't have to buy the books, and when you return them, you can get new ones," said Linda Nix, a technician at the library.

Books, which are loaned out for three weeks at a time, aren't the only thing available at the library. Movies, on both DVD and VHS, are available as well as audio books on CD and cassette.
Patrons can borrow videos, a maximum of four at a time, for one week while compact discs and cassettes have a two-week check out period. If no one has a book, CD or cassette on hold, it can be renewed, Nix explained. Movies cannot be renewed, she added.

On average, Nix, who has been working at the library since 1988, said between 80 and 100 patrons visit the library a day.

At least once a month, one of those faces is Dennis Scheck, religious education program director, religious support office, Installation Management Command-Southeast (IMCOM-SE) region.

On his monthly trip to the library, Scheck prepares mentally for a trip he'll be taking physically in a few years.

"IMCOM-SE is moving to San Antonio, so I'm reading about Texas," the lifelong reader said.
When he's not scoping out his future home through pictures of prose, Scheck said he tends to read nonfiction books, generally on early American and Civil War history.

"There's never a shortage of stuff," he said as he perused the library Dec. 8, 2008. "Everything has been written about."

With a few thousand books available, patrons can find something to spark their interest, Nix said.
For Col. Wes Weiner, the former Inspector General, First Army, Fort Gillem, Ga., that something is the newspaper and magazine section.

Although Weiner is a few days away from closing the book on his Army career, it isn't stopping him from continuing to turn the page on his own knowledge and self-improvement.

"It's a great facility: neat, there's never a line, and the people are very service oriented," he said between reading pages in the Army Times.

The Army Times, along with the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, are the three periodicals Weiner views on his visits to keep up to date on current happenings.

Likewise, the library tries to keep its materials current, with new arrivals coming in regularly. The library, which receives its materials from the Army Distribution Center or from Baker and Taylor Wholesale Book Distributors, has stock rotating in about every six weeks, Nix said. Thus, patrons should continue to check back in if they are looking for a new release currently unavailable. An interlibrary loan service is also available.

"The library is the cornerstone of a lifelong education. It's a great public service," Weiner said.

The post library is open Monday through Saturday. Operating hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday. The library is closed Sundays and holidays.

For more information, call the library staff at 464-2665 or visit library.htm.