By Eleanor Greene
For Willie Wright, Cumberland County Public Library in Fayetteville, N.C., is more than just a place to check out books. Located near Fort Bragg, a military base that up to 65,000 soldiers are affiliated with, the library serves a large and ever-changing population of military personnel and their families. Wright, a community member and army veteran, is proud of the career development services offered to military personnel by the library, including computer access and job fairs. In this video, library director Jody Risacher discusses how the library’s role in the community has been shifting as more and more soldiers return home, and how it has been assessing how to best meet the needs of veterans who have come home with emotional or physical injuries. A strong presence of military also means a prevalence of military families with young children, which contributes to the library’s development of youth programming. Last year for the North Carolina Science Festival, the library helped over 1000 children participate in activities that included robotics and science experiments. Risacher hopes that the museum can help people grow in whatever way they need.
The Cumberland County Public Library was one of 10 winners of the 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Winners for the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service will be announced on April 23, 2013.