Librarians are more than a person with a creaky cart full of books. A substantial education is required in their field, which itself is full of variety. From academics to archives, being a librarian at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, entails much more than book placement and checkout procedures.
Rebecca Perkins, 21st Force Support Squadron Library supervisory librarian, who organizes books for the library, is an informed resource for library customers, and acts as an organizer to utilize the library as a public venue. She started working as a reference librarian in March, 2016, and was promoted to supervisory librarian in October of the same year.
“I love putting things in logical order to make things easier for people to find,” said Perkins. “I code our materials so that people can walk up to a computer and type in an author’s last name to bring up everything that the Peterson AFB Library has under that last name.”
Being a professional librarian requires a master’s degree with four years of full-time professional experience. Perkins went to San Jose State University, California, and received her Master of Library and Information Science degree.
“By the time I finally got my degree I already had almost 10 years of librarian experience,” said Perkins.
Librarian’s responsibilities include ordering books for the shelves, replacing older publications, making sure books are in their right section, and being knowledge managers for orginizations. They also teach new technologies, arrange programming and perform customer service all day long.
The Peterson AFB Library averages 225 patrons per day and offers numerous learning programs to Airmen and their families.
“We offer a variety of learning programs here, to include BrainHQ,” Perkins said. “If you go to the Air Force Portal and scroll all the way to the right there’s a tab that says libraries and resources. In that tab you’ll get a plethora of online resources.”
BrainHQ is an interactive brain training program built by Posit Science. It helps to exercise your memory, attention, brain speed, people skills, intelligence and navigation. BrainHQ provides the exercise your brain needs to be at its sharpest and is offered at the Peterson AFB library.
To check out products from the library you can sign up for an account with your military or dependent identification card to receive an account number.
“After you get an account you can checkout up to 25 books at a time, other than study guides, and you get to keep them for a month,” said Perkins. “You can also check out up to five DVDs for a week with the exception being TV series DVDs because they have multiple discs and are very expensive. We limit those to one per account but you can still have four other DVDs.”
All materials at the library are government purchased, making it government property. If they aren’t returned an email is sent to the customer. If still not returned after two weeks a second email is sent out. Finally a third email is sent to the individual’s first sergeant.
“All of our books and DVDs are usually returned but we still lose a few things here and there,” Perkins said. “That’s why we’re on the out processing checklist for Airmen so we can collect anything that’s been checked out.”
If a book is damaged or lost by the customer the patron is given the bar code number so the product can be replaced. If the book was paperback the library staff would expect a paperback. If it was a hardcover it would want a hardcover in return.
The library has Story Time at 10 a.m. every Wednesday. It’s geared for ages 0-5 because most other kids are in school. Older children, who may be home schooled, are also welcome to come.
“It helps the children and care givers socialize with one another to help kids prepare for school,” said Perkins. “We try to pattern our Story Time programs to be conducive to learning.”
Whether a customer wants to check out a printed publication, download the latest bestselling novel for their e-reader, grab a DVD, or find a quiet place to study, the library on Peterson AFB is the place to be.