21st Space Wing library among seven in Air Force to reach 'premier status'

  • Published
  • By Thea Skinner
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
The Peterson library received the Department of Defense Morale Welfare and Recreation Premier Status Award at an annual DoD library workshop in Chicago, Ill., in July.

Peterson's library is one of seven in the Air Force to win the award for exceeding core MWR standards to earn premier status. The premier standards involve heightened levels in three of five core standard areas: customer programs and services, technology infrastructure and facilities. The premier standard offerings at the library include multimedia stations, 18 computer stations with commercial Internet access and Wi-Fi throughout the library, a PlayStation 3 in the young adult area, and a youth computer work station with children's educational software.

The other core standard areas are: separate areas for different types of materials and areas for study, library staff meets qualification standards and receives required training, and library services provides a long range budget plan.

"It is nice to know that the library is getting some recognition," said Kathy Kucharski, 21st Force Support Squadron base librarian. "This is recognition that other people are noticing besides our customers. Recognition that the hard work we have been putting into improving the library has been acknowledged."

Ms. Kucharski has served at Peterson as a librarian since 1999.

At the end of each fiscal year, Ms. Kucharski compiles the library annual report that tabulates such operations as the number of books circulated. The data is sent to the DoD and compared against several sets of standards shared amongst all installations until the data reaches the five star level standard of Air Force libraries. Each set of standards contains its own core and premier standards.

"We have a fairly large collection of resources," Ms. Kucharski said.

The library also provides a Dantes Subject Standardized Test, a college level examination. Some colleges accept the credits once the test is successfully completed in areas such as public speaking.

As part of Colorado Library Consortium, library books are provided on loan based on customer needs, and as an Air Force general library, it contains three focus areas: mission support, education support and quality of life support.

The library provides mission support by purchasing materials for installations in the Front Range including Buckley AFB and Schriever AFB along with occasionally ordering items for geographically separated units such as Thule Air Base, Greenland.

"For the last three years we have received a lot of support from (the force support squadron). To be a premier library you need to not only have an excellent staff but the backing from up above to provide what the customers need," Ms. Kucharski said.

The library services many active duty and non-active duty customers including staff and patrons of the child development center and the education center. The library assists the education center in carrying out their mission of helping develop military personnel.

"Our library is competitive with other civilian libraries and provides a level of service that is commensurate with other community libraries," said Susan Wilson, 21st Force Support Squadron Force Development Flight chief. "I was very excited for the library - that they were able to meet those requirements. They could not have done that without leadership support. I think the support is evident in being able to have program offerings - I am sure they can look forward to more support of that nature."