I was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba the week of 9 February to serve as an NGO Observer at the 9/11 Military Commission hearings. I was there on behalf of the Gitmo Observer, the Military Commission Observation Project established by the Program in International Human Rights Law. Upon landing the captain of our flight said “Welcome to Cuba, Pearl of the Antilles.” During my time there I discovered the real gem – the Community Library.
It was a wonderful surprise to see such a great library facility on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Although it didn’t look like much from the outside . . .
who can resist a door that invites you with this sign –
The Community Library was renovated in 2012. The news article I found describing the renovation noted that the Community Library serves 135,000 users! The collections were current and in great shape. I found many favorites in the well-stocked children’s and young adult sections.
Show me a child who wouldn’t want to come to a Friday afternoon story hour in this room!
One couldn’t help feeling at home here. The librarians were very friendly, the collection, both electronic and print, current, the computers new, and the seating and work areas comfortable. The electronic resources were impressive – Academic Search Premier was just one of many available for use! Add in 24-hour free wifi (exterior and interior) and you have an outstanding library for the military personnel and their families, as well as local non-military residents.
The Community Library is open noon – 9 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. The usual public library “comforts” were available — reader advisory brochures and Library Bingo! I got a Reading Bingo Card as a souvenir.
Whenever possible I used the wifi at the Community Library, even though it meant a 10-minute escort van ride, because it was faster and more reliable than the weekly $150 ethernet access at Camp Justice. It didn’t hurt that “I am a public library junkie!”
Catherine Lemmer, Assistant Director Information Services
(edited and reposted with permission from right angle resume)