Ramstein wrote the book on good

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

***image2***It’s not a particularly big space, about 17,000 square-feet.

But, every corner, every shelf, every computer station at Ramstein Library will leave you wondering why you don’t know more about the best library in the Air Force.

The dozen or so folks waiting outside the library doors each morning just before 10 a.m. know.

They know about the free movies, free books and free Internet use. And, they know that if they’ve got the most off the wall, burning question, that a librarian is their best friend.

“People think libraries are going away,” said Cindy Tews, director of Ramstein Library. “Not the case. There is such a proliferation of information and people need help getting through it.”

As you wander through the Ramstein Library, you’ll see the 1,700 best-selling titles in a special area just to the right of the front door. And, you might think as you reach for the latest John Grisham or James Patterson, “I thought this book wasn’t yet released.”

“We subscribe to a service that allows us to select best sellers three months prior to publication,” Ms. Tews said.

And just how does she knows what will be a best seller? Fifteen years in the library business.

Ms. Tews loves libraries, always has. She started as an Army librarian and became an Air Force librarian 11 years ago. She joined the Ramstein team in 2005.

“Every day you learn something, there’s just so much out there,” Ms. Tews said.

And after all these years, she still gets a kick when someone stops her in the grocery store and asks, “has my book come in?”

“It’s funny,” she said.

Nevermind that in 2006, more than 435,000 items circulated through the Ramstein Library.

“That makes me happy to no end,” Ms. Tews said. “We have a lot of readers and that’s really cool.”

Ms. Tews cannot say for sure what was that one thing that pushed the Ramstein Library over the top to earn Best in the Air Force, out of 127 libraries. Could be the 70,000 titles, she said. Could be that Ramstein Library has the only working “GoPrint” station in U.S. Air Forces in Europe, making it easy for customers to print their research. But, as she walks toward the back of the library and enters a small, living room-size space called the “Grimm Room” she says, “I think it was this.”

It’s a special place for children, where the walls have painted murals by former Ramstein Library technicians David Jones and Lisa Boone from the Grimm fairy tales, and shelves of picture books for children learning to read. And, parents can check out laptops, with wireless Internet connection, to use in the children’s library.

“I got here in September 2005, and it was immediately evident that there was a need – the kids room was over there and their parents were out here trying to work,” Ms. Tews said as she stood near the main lobby.

 One year ago today the Grimm Room opened.

“Parents love it,” Ms. Tews said.

The wireless wi-fi technology in the children’s room, plus other modern features including a hand-held red buzzing light – like the ones at Chili’s Restaurant – to summon the next customer; or, computer registration for a virtual library card, helped get Ramstein, for the first time, the title as best library in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and ultimately Best Library Program in the Air Force.

“That alone was great,” Ms. Tews said.

 Today, like all days at the Ramstein Library −  the best in the Air Force − several hundred items will circulate. Books, movies and audio tapes will come in and go out. And, now, you know.

 “I like what we are able to offer customers,” said Ms. Tews. “We’ve got a good program and something for everyone.”

The library opens daily at 10 a.m. See you in line.