FORT KNOX, Ky. – For the second time, Barr Memorial Library at Fort Knox has been named Federal Library of the Year, becoming the first ever to achieve the honor.

“This is affirmation of what we’ve been doing and how we’ve been doing it,” said library director Robert Steinmacher. “It shows we’ve been doing the right things, for the right reasons, for the right people.”

The Barr Memorial Library has been recognized by the Library of Congress as the 2020 Federal Library of the Year. This is the library’s second time receiving the honor.
The Barr Memorial Library has been recognized by the Library of Congress as the 2020 Federal Library of the Year. This is the library’s second time receiving the honor. (Photo Credit: Jenn DeHaan) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Library of Congress first named Barr Memorial as Federal Library of the Year in 2014. For Steinmacher, the honor is a reflection of the hard work he and his colleagues have put in throughout the pandemic.

“This staff is really good about adapting and shifting gears quickly,” said Steinmacher. “That has served us incredibly well in the last year.”

He explained how the entire staff had to work diligently to ensure safety measures were taken. Because the COVID-19 virus can live on some surfaces for up to seven days, Steinmacher said that’s how long they must quarantine books after they’ve been returned.

“Quarantining” returned books and imposing social distancing guidelines were some of the ways Barr Memorial Library imposed safety precautions over the course of the pandemic.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – “Quarantining” returned books and imposing social distancing guidelines were some of the ways Barr Memorial Library imposed safety precautions over the course of the pandemic. (Photo Credit: Jenn DeHaan) VIEW ORIGINAL
“Quarantining” returned books and imposing social distancing guidelines were some of the ways Barr Memorial Library imposed safety precautions over the course of the pandemic.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – “Quarantining” returned books and imposing social distancing guidelines were some of the ways Barr Memorial Library imposed safety precautions over the course of the pandemic. (Photo Credit: Jenn DeHaan) VIEW ORIGINAL

Steinmacher said despite this, the staff is on hand and ready to help people who utilize the library’s services.

“There are restrictions in place, but most importantly we are open,” said Steinmacher. “We’ve never really stopped serving the community, and we’re never going to stop serving it.”

As for their historic second win as Federal Library of the year, Steinmacher was grateful for the recognition. This latest win comes four years after Steinmacher himself was awarded Librarian of the Year.

Only closing for two months early on during the pandemic, Barr Memorial Library is now open to the public with most of its normal services being offered.
Only closing for two months early on during the pandemic, Barr Memorial Library is now open to the public with most of its normal services being offered. (Photo Credit: Jenn DeHaan) VIEW ORIGINAL

Steinmacher said it’s nice to receive recognition, but for him, it’s just about providing a service to the military community.

“At the end of the day,” said Steinmacher, “it’s a nice byproduct of what we do and what we love.”