FORT BRAGG, N.C. - As another year passes by, another page turns for Fort Bragg’s installation library. Throckmorton Library celebrated 25 years of serving the service members, Department of the Army civilians, retirees, and military Family members, Sept. 28.
The celebration featured a library themed storytime, activities, games, music and special guests – to include the Fort Bragg Garrison Commander, Col. John Wilcox, who read “Lola at the Library” by Anna McQuinn for the opening storytime event.
Located on Randolph Street, the library was built in 1997 and replaced the earlier installation library that was located on Macomb Street. Throckmorton Library is named after Gen. John L. Throckmorton, a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Throckmorton also deployed domestically during the Detroit riots.
Commissioning as an infantry officer, Throckmorton’s assignments included First Army in the operations section, tactical officer at West Point, and commander of the 5th Regimental Combat Team during the Korean War. After graduating the National War College in 1954, he later became the Commandant of Cadets at West Point. He would later take command of the 82nd Airborne Division and a few years later, had successive commands as Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps in 1967, Third U.S. Army (1967-1969), and Commander-in-Chief for the U.S. Strike Command (1969-1973). He retired in Fayetteville, N.C. after over 35 years of military service.
Throckmorton Library easily has between 800 – 1,000 visitors a day, many frequenting the computer lab and the Children’s Room.
“Our manga and graphic novel section has also been increasingly popular, having grown from barely a few hundred circulations three years ago up to 1,939 circulations last month,” said Geniece Baer, supervisory librarian. “Of course in terms of pure foot traffic, the computer lab is easily the winner, with hundreds of Soldiers utilizing the lab daily to complete trainings, access email, and print documents.”
Another fun feature of the library that draws a lot of interest is the salt-water fish tank that is surrounded by the over 15,000 books, magazines, and other items the library offers.
“Our salt-water fish tank is a huge draw among kids and adults alike,” added Baer. “Kids often run in the door, excitedly announcing that they just saw ‘Dory’ (a character in the Disney movie, Finding Nemo) in the fish tank! It also includes other creatures, such as shrimp, urchins, snails, and even tiny starfish. We have a guidebook near the tank which people can read to learn more about each of the inhabitants.”
Baer went on to explain the importance of libraries in the community.
“One reason libraries remain valuable is that they provide access to resources in which (some) wouldn't be able to have,” she said. “What the library does is provide a place where everyone can access the items they want or need, and all for free.”
The library provides a huge value to service members and their Families every month. For example, with 15,711 items circulating last month at an average cost of $24 each, the library is providing $378,635 worth of value in books alone. On a yearly basis that averages out to $3.3 million dollars of value provided to Soldiers, their Families, and the broader Fort Bragg community, Baer explained. That cost does not include the multiple online resources available as well.
“Through access to these resources, people are able to better themselves whether that be through learning a new language, a new skill, preparing for a new career, or simply finding a good read that sparks the imagination and keeps the mind sharp and full of innovative ideas,” Baer said.
Another fun fact is that the area where Throckmorton Library sits today once housed the main post school, Riley School, from 1941-1962. In September of 1951, Fort Bragg school system superintendent Mildred Poole integrated the school – the first military installation to do so in the South, which came three years before the U.S. Supreme Court mandate.
“(Throckmorton is unique because) we have the opportunity to serve the diverse men and women who serve our country,” Baer added. “And while we might not be providing them any assistance or resources directly, we are given the opportunity to serve and support their Families. The library is a place where military Families can feel at home while their loved one is deployed or they are living far from home. Through programs and resources offered at Throckmorton, military Families are able to connect with one another.”
The installation library has storytimes three days a week, 10 a.m., Monday –Wednesday. Virtual storytime is also available and airs on the Fort Bragg Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Facebook page every week.
Monthly programs are available for all ages, both in person and virtually, andspan a wide range of interests. Whether it be sewing, painting or jamming on the ukulele, there is a program to peak your interests and foster a love of exploration and learning.
Throckmorton Library is available to all DoD ID cardholders. Operating hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday and noon – 4 p.m., Saturday. The library is closed on Sunday and Federal Holidays – note that the computer lab closes 20 minutes prior to closing.
For more information, visit https://bragg.armymwr.com/programs/throckmorton-library.