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Edwards Library Tops for Successful Summer Program

updated Thursday, November 20, 2014
Edwards Library Summer Reading Program.jpg 
Views: 2117

In children's reading programs, there are many ways to track their progress such as number of books read or length of time spent reading. During the summer reading program, the Base Library counts the number of books read collectively. Out of 33 Air Force libraries using the same metric, the Edwards AFB Library was ranked number one.

"When I gave the good news to my supervisor he wanted to say thank you to the community because without their participation this wouldn't be possible," said Alison Vasquez, library director.

She added that the real recognition belongs to the library technicians on staff. The Edwards library is considered mid-sized, which requires a staff of four to seven employees.

"We start right there at the lower limit of staffing," said Vasquez.

Including Vasquez, there are four library employees and together they plan, implement and promote the Edwards Library Summer Reading Program. 

"They do all the parts that people don't see to make the program possible and successful," said Vasquez. "With a limited budget the first thing [the community] looks for is activities that will be free of charge." 

During this summer's program the library secured guest speakers from Environmental Management, the 412th Security Forces Military Working Dog Section, the Edwards Fire Department and more. By the end of the program, the participants had read over 21,500 children's books making up 43% of the entire circulation reported for children's books read over the last year.

"We know the need for the community to have those types of programs and it's an incentive for the staff to keep it going and do better every time," said Vasquez. 

Throughout the school year, the library hosts story time for pre-school age children twice a week. The library staff designs and prepares a craft for every story time. Meanwhile, they are already preparing for the 2015 Summer Reading Program.

"They definitely love what they do. We have tried in the past to do programs for adults, but attendance was low; the children's programs are the ones that get a response from the community and are more appreciated."

Vasquez noted that because of their limited staff size, the library technicians have many administrative responsibilities too.

"Every single day we have new items that need to be processed; they need to be cataloged, marked and stamped to be ready to be checked out. There are some times that there are so many requests that the library technician won't have time to do anything else but log all day long."

According to Vasquez, the Edwards Library has been named Air Force Materiel Command Library Program of the Year for three years in a row and just applied for the title again.

One of the secrets to their success is attention to their readership.

"One of the things we always look at is how to improve the collections in our library and we always take into account the customer's needs," Vasquez said.

For example, the Air Force now offers the option of streaming College Level Examination Proficiency (CLEP) materials on a mobile device. While the collection itself has been available for a long time, the online access is brand new and the library staff has already started promoting it to potential users. 

"Because we are at the end of our fiscal year, I can tell you that In general, everything [at the library] has improved, many of the things that reflect the efficiency of the staff. We can show that libraries are still important and we still have a lot of resources."

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