NAF Atsugi library provides haven within its pages
Living on Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi is often busy and noisy. Between the day-to-day operations of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) FIVE and the other commands, NAF Atsugi is a hive of activity.
The NAF Atsugi library, on the second floor of the headquarters building, offers a quiet place for community members to relax and participate in various activities of their choosing.
“The first place you spend the most time is your home and the second place is your job,” said NAF Atsugi Library Director Maria Cutler, “We want the library to be your third place. We want it to be a community resource, a safe place to learn and to grow and explore.”
The Atsugi library offers the traditional means of books and magazines but also provides movies, music CDs, audio books available in two formats and eBooks.
Culter said being in Japan allows the Atsugi library to link with the Yokosuka and Sasebo libraries. If the book the customer is looking for is not in this library, they can have it sent to them from the other libraries and then the customer can check it here in Atsugi.
A change made by Commander, Naval Region Japan has impacted the installation and the strengthened the library’s purpose of assisting people.
“Working with various companies like Netflix and Hulu, we have been able to take our bases off the “blocked” list,” said Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan Rear Adm. Terry Kraft. “That means you can now stream those sites without a US VPN address.”
In response, the installation has closed Softland Video and removed the Redbox movie rental making the library the only place to check out movies and TV shows, with the bonus of doing so for free. The library even offers Netflix originals like “Orange is the New Black” series one on blue-ray, allowing community members a chance to see a new series without the need of paying for a Netflix subscription.
These are not the changes that are impacting the library, with the Navy releasing NeRDs (Navy eReading Devices) the NAF Atsugi Library is part of a pilot program in trying out the benefits of releasing NeRDs to Navy Installations.
“This is really fun for Atsugi because normally they are going to they are ship libraries,” said Cutler. “Because they were designed for the submarines they are not Wi-Fi enable but there is about 500 books that are just loaded on to it.
“Commander, Navy Installations Command is constantly looking for innovative ways and leverage the latest technologies to provide our Sailors and their families around the world with new tools and resources that can enrich their lives,” said Nellie Moffitt, CNIC’s Navy General Library program manager. “NeRD addresses this goal head-on, with a library of digital titles in a convenient and secure package that circumvents longstanding NGLP challenges in content storage.”
The NeRDs go hand in hand with the Libraries’ online content where people can use their own eReaders to check out eBooks, audio books and other digital content after creating an account opening up to new audiences who prefer a digital output rather than paper.
The library provides opportunities to join up with other community members with an adult book club, a children’s story time, and Japanese craft classes.
Cutler said that book clubs, reading programs and classes allow members to make friends with people who share their interests and talk about books and relax.
“The best thing about a book club is that you get to be introduced to new books, new genres,” Said Culter. “Things that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up by yourself but that are still fun.”
“I want [members] to enjoy Japan and each customer has their own interest in Japanese culture and that makes me excited,” said NAF Atsugi Librarian Supervisor Yukihiro Kii. “Please come here and please ask questions. We really like for everyone to enjoy and stay in Japan.”
The craft classes include Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), Oshi-e (pictures created from raised cloth giving a 3D appearance), Chigiri-e (Japanese art from using torn colored paper to create images that look like a water-color painting), and Shodou (Japanese calligraphy).
“What’s great about this is that you pay a small fee for the class and supplies and then you can actually take your project home with you,” said Cutler. “It makes it perfect for gifts for family members or for decorating your home on a budget.”
With other services such as public computers, Wi-Fi, printing, scanning and available class rooms the library is a provider for a variety of community needs.
“The library is a place where strange things become familiar and familiar things become strange,” said Cutler.
To keep up with the latest updates from the Library, check out their Facebook page and book catalog here and here.