MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --
The sky’s the limit on information when visiting the Arden G. Hill Memorial Library at Malmstrom.
Linda “Dixie” Paronto, 341st Force Support Squadron base librarian, describes it as “much more than a library.”
In talking to Paronto, she paints the picture that it’s more of a futuristic spaceship with any kind of information easily available: 3-D printers, free and lightning-fast access to language study (including Pirate – yes that’s right), portable learning computers, e-books, audio books, print books to help individuals get into law school or land that leadership position, plus so much more – and the environment is as inviting and comfortable as a living room.
Base library is unique
Out for a few days at a missile alert facility? Paronto suggests checking out a “GoChip,” a small device with eight pre-loaded movies. Newly released movies on DVD are also available. They can be rented from the library for seven days for free, she said.
Want to stream a new thriller with Wi-Fi? The library staff can help individuals sign up for the service as well.
“Tons of resources are available 24/7 online to Airmen and their families,” Paronto said. Plus, the facility is open 46 hours a week Monday to Saturday. Malmstrom civilian employees have access, too.
“We have one of the larger military computer ‘pods’ than most other air bases,” she said. “We have nine computers with color printers and scanners, and we permit printing on the military computers.”
In addition, there are other computers with commercial internet. For those who want to work on their own device, Wi-Fi, work stations and study rooms are available. Two computers are also dedicated for children, Paronto said.
Most Air Force base libraries have 3-D printers, and the rumor the Malmstrom base library has one too is true.
The printer has capabilities for small projects, but there are a few caveats for this high-tech benefit: it will cost users a fee, and getting the payment mechanism in place is a work-in-progress.
People wanting to print out key fobs, engine parts and figurines must attend an orientation. The first class will be held Jan. 9 and is first come, first serve for up to six people.
Additionally, Arden G. Hill Memorial has a database not found at any other Air Force base library.
“We are the only ones at the moment who have “Ebscohost’s Nutrition Resource Center,” Paronto said.
The portal provides information on nutritional needs, such as building a meal plan to meet workout goals.
Children can call 731-4640 and hear a three to five minute audio story over the phone, which is updated once a week.
“Dial-A-Story has gone away for a lot of the libraries, but Malmstrom still has it,” she said.
Another interesting fact: as long as it’s free, the Malmstrom base library can find a book anywhere in the world through an inter-lending program.
Future technology and innovation is integral to family and Airmen support
The base library is part of the Air Force Library and Information System, which supplies their materials.
“Libraries are changing and we are not going to go away,” Paronto said, even though many people have the impression public libraries are. “We don’t use scrolls anymore – we change with the times, and it’s more than the books and the materials.”
Air Force libraries are more and more becoming community centers for people to learn, to shape their future and to meet, she said.
“As time goes on we’ll probably see even less print books,” Paronto said.
The library now can provide access to more than 100 databases, and it’s all free. To get started, individuals will go through the portal at www.my.af.mil. From there they can have direct access or find information on how to gain access to other databases. The next step for individuals wanting to check out materials is to come in and sign up.
“We have a subscription to ‘Overdrive,’ a lending library, which you can use from your Kindle, smartphone or whatever device you have that has an internet connection,” she said.
Need to study for DANTES and CLEP? Hard copy books are available for checkout. For access to the lending library and hard copy books, individuals will need a library card.
The library also has information and materials about DoD STEM, she said. Science, technology, engineering and math are priorities in education, she said.
“We have a lot of new apps coming in January, which are top-notch,” she said.
The library will also host a noon New Year’s Eve party Dec. 29.
“We ring in the new year at noon with pizza, sandwiches and noisemakers. It’s open to Airmen, base personnel civilians, Airmen, families and kids,” she said. ”If you can’t ring in the New Year, you can certainly come to our party and join us.”
This event is free and guests should arrive at 11:30 a.m.
Also coming up is the “very exciting and fun” 2018 summer reading program, Paronto said.
More information on this program will be advertised in the spring.
“People comment that we have a very friendly and welcoming library. It can be a refuge and we’ve been able to help a lot of students and Airmen who spend hours here,” she said.
For more information, call 731-4638 or go to www.341FSS.com/Library