By Yadira V. Payne
Woodworth Consolidated Library (WCL) is an Army Library that serves a consolidated mission to FMWR (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) and TRADOC (Training and Doctrine) Commands. WCL opened its doors in 1966 in honor of Captain Clarke N. Woodworth, Jr. who lost his life in battle in Vietnam.
In the 51 years since opening our doors to the Fort Gordon community, our Mission has been to empower, motivate, and inspire our patrons through proactive delivery of real-world information services for our Military Community’s professional, academic, and social prosperity.
By serving a dual – consolidated – mission, we are afforded the opportunity to support the military and their families from birth to retirement. Our friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful team work hard to make the library experience enriching and worthwhile. Services and collections encompass a wealth of useful print, electronic, and human resources supporting education, self-development, and well-being.
We offer a variety of fantastic services such as free test proctoring, free notary, and free scanning. These services aid the servicemember and their families as they are transitioning to the local area, leaving the area, or simply continuing the pursuit of their academic goals.
Programming is where we shine. Story hour, Polar Express, Costume Parade, Healthy Snacks with Cookie Monster, and Spanish Scrabble are but a few of our offerings. We welcome, on average, 10,000 patrons a month. This is huge for our small library. Due to atmosphere, programming, and services offered, our patrons spend hours with us.
Woodworth is open 6 days a week: Mon-Thu 0900-2000; Sa-Su 1000-1800. While we are closed to the public on Friday’s, we are still busy inside serving their library needs. This is when the library elves perform maintenance on the building, renovate the interior, process and shelve new materials, prepare kits for programs, and decorate for the coming holidays and displays.
In the past 2 years nearly every inch of the facility has been reconfigured. First, the Children’s Library was moved close to the circulation desk and remodeled in a child friendly, inviting, playful Dr. Seuss theme and colors (see pic). The old Army surplus bookcases and furniture were replaced with primary colored items purchased. Dr. Seuss was chosen as the room’s theme because Theodor Seuss Geisel was an Army Signal soldier and Fort Gordon was formerly the Signal Center.
Next, the seldom used conference room was turned into the Proctoring center. Test proctoring and digital or computer resource trainings occur by appointment and free of charge to the patron. Then, the 28-foot-long 1970’s heavy wood reference desk that “welcomed” everyone into the facility had been replaced by a jazzy hipster lounge (see pic). This along with our water feature and contemporary music playing throughout the building welcome our weary military travelers.
Other projects such as creating a café, a vertical garden, and study nooks throughout the stacks round out WCL’s “community enrichment center” mindset. We want the soldiers and their families to relax, breathe a sigh of relief, feel welcomed, and stay a while from the moment they walk through our doors. This commitment to service is what helped us win the Federal Library of the Year in 2011. Walk through the rabbit hole and enter our fun Army madness!