Department of Defense Army pilot program closes Fort Huachuca Library

Contact: Andy Bridges

Communications Specialist

For Immediate Release

April 5, 2007

Department of Defense Army pilot program closes Fort Huachuca Library

Soldiers, families forced to seek service elsewhere

WASHINGTON - The American Library Association (ALA) recently learned about the closure of the Fort Huachuca Library, located on the Army installation in Arizona. The closure is part of a test bed pilot program that could provide impetus for Army base library closings throughout the country.

Fort Huachuca entered into a municipal partnership with the City of Sierra Vista to provide library services to Fort Huachuca residents. Residents will now have to travel to Sierra Vista Library for service. The partnership was approved under Congressional authority for Municipal Services Partnerships, received in the fiscal year (FY) 2005 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA (P.L. 108-375) included language that authorized an Army pilot program at Fort Huachuca and included library services as a specific authorized area in which to partner with municipalities.

“The Army is sending Fort Huachuca soldiers and their families off base to the city library for reduced library services, said ALA president Leslie Burger. “A number of services the soldiers had received - including military-network programs and access to library staff knowledgeable in military-related issues - are now unavailable. Closing this historic library, especially during a time of war, deprives soldiers and their families of an important resource for education, information and technology.”

The closing of the Fort Huachuca Library, as in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency libraries, may have national ramifications. It could be replicated in Army installations across the country. Further, the Northeast Region Office (NERO) - which includes bases such as Fort Belvoir, Fort Meyer, Fort Hamilton and the Aberdeen Proving Ground - are interested in expanding the legislation that approved the pilot program.

ALA President Leslie Burger recently sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Preston Geren expressing concern about the Fort Huachuca Library closure. The letter was copied to Arizona's Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill, as well as Senate and House leadership of the Armed Services Committees.

To view the letter please visit
ALA's Federal Libraries and Programs web page.