MCA&F's Unit Libraries: "Giving the Marine a ‘No Excuse’ Opportunity to Complete their Reading"
Marine Corps Base Hawaii -- Service members gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of Headquarters Battalion’s new library April 27, 2015, in building 4009 aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The Marine Corps Association provided the library with books and Kindles. Each Kindle is pre-loaded with 350 books from the Commandant’s Reading List, as well as other professional reading lists. The library was constructed to introduce a readily available resource to service members.
MSgt Arlene Collins, the distribution management chief with the Distribution Management Office, said the library was not built just to display the battalion’s trophies, but to display books on the CMC Reading List and other required reading.
“This is important because it’s our way of giving the Marine a ‘no excuse’ opportunity to complete their reading,” said Collins, a Jackson, N.J., native. “Yes, the (base) library has some of the same information, but, while there are some Marines who take advantage of the library, most of the Marines I’ve spoken to don’t. This is for those Marines. They are told to do certain things, such as ‘read off a list of books,’ but nobody tells them where this stuff is or how to get it. Now, we have it right here for them.”
Collins said because we are in an electronic age, having the Kindles helps the leadership reach out to the Marines who may not necessarily like traditional books.
“We obtained the 13 Kindle Paperwhites with the Marines, especially those who live in the barracks, in mind,” she said. “If they want to read, they don’t have to worry about turning on the light and disturbing their roommate because it has a backlight. We had the intent of helping the Marines and that’s the reason we spent the extra money.”
Collins said it’s an important resource for leaders who want their Marines to become interested in reading or to get to know the service members around them.
“For myself, I know it identified the reading ability in my Marines,” she said. “If I recognize that I have Marines who aren’t able to read or read well, this gives me a chance to mentor them and help them grow. Things like this are important if they hope to continue in this organization, they have to know how to read.”
She said this library is also important because it provides service members an easily accessible resource to complete their required reading.
“Since they are required to read a certain number of books each year anyway, why not have the books readily available to them?” Collins said. “These books are important because they are full of the Marines’ history. Some of these books even give information about special observances we make each month, such as Native American Heritage Month or Black History Month, and, from an equal opportunity standpoint, that is very important.”
It’s important the service members know where they came from and it’s good to know about the different cultures around them, Collins said.
“We just want the Marines to know this is available to them and that this is here,” she said. “Unless they’re avid readers, the chance of them realizing the library is here is slim, if they aren’t looking for more. All the effort put into the library and getting the books or Kindles would be for nothing if the service members weren’t aware of the resources around them. I hope Marines take the time to come by, grab a few books and understand the importance of not only what they’re reading, but understand the importance of reading itself.”