The first military library program was started by the United States Navy in 1919, followed by the Army’s library program in 1920. Since that time, especially in times of war or conflict, libraries have helped connect troops with home by delivering books and magazines to wherever in the world they may be stationed.
Back in the early 1970s, I served 4 years in the U.S. Navy. I remember the many hours spent in the base library, listening to phonograph records and reading. Listening to familiar music really does connect you to home.
Today, most military installations have a library where troops and their families can access library services and participate in reading programs. The Navy outfits every new ship with a library and provides library services throughout the fleet. The two Air Force bases in North Dakota have excellent libraries that serve troops and their families.
Military libraries keep up with new evolving technologies, by offering everything from phonograph records to eBooks, computers, and software. One of the most popular offerings is test preparation services, which help troops prepare for standardized tests like the ACT, GRE, or the ASVAB.
The true value of military library programs, according to Department of Defense officials, is their link to the mental and emotional fitness of the troops. Military libraries may not get talked about much, but they are contributors to the overall resilience of troops and contribute to life-long learning.
Source: American Forces Press Service news article by Donna Miles, Washington DC, September 5, 2013
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell