Fort Bragg’s Throckmorton Library celebrated the 100th birthday of its namesake in a ceremony Feb. 28.
Gen. John L. Throckmorton, a veteran of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Detroit riots, commanded both the 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps during his time at Fort Bragg. He later retired in Fayetteville after 38 years of service.
“The celebration of General Throckmorton’s 100th birthday was a great event because it reminded all of us about the sacrifices faced by General Throckmorton and his Family,” said Ray Lacey, director, Fort Bragg Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The low-key ceremony, attended by two of Throckmorton’s sons and their wives, Fort Bragg leadership and library patron featured some of the general’s uniforms, memorabilia, photographs, as well as the traditional birthday cake.
The Throckmorton Library was built in 1997, 11 years after Throckmorton’s death. It replaced the earlier post library on Macomb Street, near where the 82nd Sustainment Brigade’s post office now stands.
Since 1997, the library has evolved into a modern learning facility, featuring more than 100,000 volumes and offers many programs like an adult book club, teen events, youth story time and also features 75 common access card-enabled computers.
Public libraries, and the Throckmorton is a public library on post for the military community, were just beginning to increase their technological capabilities for their customers in 1997, said Julie C. Goyette, chief librarian, Throckmorton Library.
The post library isn’t just a place where patrons can come and check out a book, there are also computers, classes and community events.
“It’s a place to convene, it’s a physical place to be, so we’ve made some changes the last few years,” said Goyette. “We want people to come here and sit in comfortable chairs and chat, look at magazines, read newspapers — we want this to be a place where people want to be.”
One of the projects that the library is working on is keeping up-to-date with professional military reading lists and making more books available to patrons.
“If you come in and can’t find a book on your list, I want to know that,” said Goyette. “We’re all about customer suggestions.”
Besides serving its uniformed population and younger generations, there are two groups library leadership would like to target more — teens and adults.
“I would like to see more teens involved,” said Goyette. “It’s a tough group to reach out to. It’s almost as if you have to lure them in and hope that they come to you. I’d like to see more teens involved in the library. I would also like to see more adults taking part in the book clubs.”
English author Neil Gaiman once said: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”
Homework assistance is one of the many under-used services provided by the professional librarians at Throckmorton.
“We help with homework … we offer whatever assistance we can to the Soldier,” said Goyette. If Soldiers are pressed for time they can call the library and tell them that they are working a paper on ‘x’ and that they need sources. The librarian can look for articles and email them if the Soldier is doing research. The Soldier can also use the library’s database page on the website, which is very helpful. Those are the kinds of things that people say ‘wow I didn’t even know you did this and it’s a huge help.’”
Even with the off-post county libraries and such places, for the Fort Bragg population, the Gen. John L. Throckmorton Library can be a necessary resource.