JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
She was a long-time Army spouse who grew to love helping kids and parents. Now, Leslie Alvarez, Randolph Base Library aid, spends her Wednesdays reading, coloring, and doing crafts with children.
“I always wanted to work with families and service members,” said Alvarez. “I didn’t really think I would find my place working at a library, but I feel like if I can provide that service where parents can get together and have a little peace and conversation, then that’s what I’m meant to do.”
Randolph Base Library’s “Story Time” program, Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m., is just one small part of why JBSA Libraries are truly special. Dedicated civilian staff all across JBSA, like Alvarez and her co-workers, bring these programs to life.
“We do stuff that’s fun with the books we read, as well as educational,” Alvarez said. “I try and work in some gross motor as well as fine motor skills with crafts that are going to utilize their skills and not make the parent work too hard.”
She empathizes with the military spouses that she sees every day.
“Its precious time out of the house,” Alvarez said. “If we can provide families with an hour of comradery and together time, then I feel like we are serving our communities and our families, in a way that just checking out books isn’t doing.”
Located on 5th Street East, across the street from Hangar 16, this deceptively small building was, in another era, an Enlisted Club. Since then, the pool tables and loud music have been replaced by a Teen Lounge. It features a large graphic novel section, a dedicated room for video gaming, and digital media streaming with Roku.
“If you haven’t been to a library in a few years, Randolph Base Library might surprise you,” Alvarez said. “We’re more than just books. We’re a community hub.”
Professional and community features include free Wi-Fi throughout the building, hundreds of movies and audiobooks, meeting rooms and study rooms that can be reserved, projectors, TVs, scanners, fax machines, and copiers are all available.
“Our adult customers wanted to have computer access, Wi-Fi, and a quiet place to work,” Alvarez said.
There is a testing section with updated study guides for the College Level Examination Program and military promotions. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force Reading List titles are all available as well.
“We still have a lot of hard copies of books, but we’ve also partnered with Bibliotech Bexar County Library,
which gives free digital access to all JBSA Library patrons,” Alvarez said.
Instead of fearing what technology could do, the staff at the Randolph Base Library embraced it and used it to enhance their facility and the JBSA community.
“This is what libraries are for me,” Alvarez said. “They are a place to build relationships, because you have common interests.”
Randolph Base Library Hours: Mon-Thurs: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Fri: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
More Library Resources available at JBSAlibraries.org