Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

October 27, 2016 at 12:32pm

McChord library gets $20,000 facelift

Jemyaa Quelled, 10, plays Pac-Man Party at one of seven video stations in the newly renovated teen section at the McChord Field Library Monday. The renovation was made possible by at $20,000 grant from the Army Library Program’s Million Dollar Makeover co

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Hanging out among the books just got a whole lot better for young people at the McChord Field Library.

A $20,000 grant from the 2015 Army Library Program’s Million Dollar Makeover, a competition for Army bases worldwide, allowed for a recent complete renovation of the teen section of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s McChord Field Library. The library unveiled it’s new looks recently.

That’s a big plus for youths who come to read, do homework or play video games, according to Josh Obrajero, a 15-year-old Clover Park High School junior. He’s one of 10 young people involved in the library’s teen advisory group that made suggestions and put together a proposal for the contest.

“I like it,” Obrajero said. “When it comes to the teen area, there are more books, games and everything. And the Fatheads are a nice touch.”

The library has dozens of Fathead decal decorations that now adorn the newly-painted teen section walls. The decals have a variety of subject matter — from Marvel characters to sci-fi and other popular themes. Because they can be peeled off without affecting the paint, library staff can change the decor for different seasons, according to Sue Baldwin, supervisory librarian at the McChord Field Library.

The library was one of five in the region picked for a share in the international competition. Although the major renovation is complete, the teen advisory group will continue to meet monthly to make upgrades over time and also suggest new books and graphic novels to fill the shelves, Baldwin said.

The renovation includes new flooring, seating, curved book shelves, gaming tables, computers, cell phone charging stations, colorful paint and wall decorations. Previously, the teen area was smaller, uninteresting and uninviting, Baldwin said.

Yahawadah Johnson, 17, of Spanaway, is a military family member and currently working on earning his General Educational Development certificate. The young man spends a lot of time at the library, mostly doing homework or reading. He said he enjoyed using some free time watching videos on the teen section’s new high resolution computers.

“A lot of things have changed, and it’s way better,” Johnson said of the renovation for which his 14-year-old brother, Yaiqab, helped provide input. “They did a really nice job. None of this stuff used to be here, and the organization just wasn’t here. This is a much better place to study.”

The area also is used by some preteens, including Jemyaa Queeley, 10, a fifth-grader at Carter Lake Elementary School in Lakewood. Jemyaa’s grandmother, Gail Jackson, is retired from the Army and brings the youth to the library sometimes in the afternoons.

“This library has been my favorite place since I was a little kid,” Jemyaa said as she sat in one of the new, bright pastel-colored plush chairs playing a computer game. “I used to like to play hide-and-seek between the shelves. Now, I still like to go to Storytime in the kids’ section. But, (the teen section) is a really nice place.”

Although the renovated section of the library is much more appealing for young people, recent budget cuts that reduced daily hours and eliminated Saturday hours make it more difficult for young people to enjoy the library, Baldwin said. It is open weekdays for a couple hours at the end of the school day.

Despite this, some after-hours events are planned for the teens, including a teen movie night at the teen section Friday at 6 p.m.

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