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News > Offutt base library and education center to consolidate
Offutt library, education center to be consolidated due to sequestration

Posted 5/14/2013   Updated 5/14/2013 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Markus M. Maier
55th Wing Public Affairs

5/14/2013 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb.  -- The 55th Force Support Squadron is scheduled to consolidate the Thomas S. Power Library and the Offutt Air Force Base Education Center this summer.

This consolidation is a way to overcome a centralized termination of funding for library personnel salaries effective in June. These reductions are a direct result of the significant budget reduction requirements due to the ongoing sequestration, which was signed into law as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, and took effect March 1. It calls for an across-the-board series of cuts to the federal budget.

About $41 billion of those reductions are expected to come from reduced spending in the Defense Department's current year budget, forcing leadership across the DOD to reprioritize programs in an effort to maintain mission readiness.

Offutt's new Thomas S. Power Installation Learning Center will be located in the library's current building and will offer all of the current base education and testing services in addition to the library's children's collection, electronic books, CLEP and DANTES study and language learning materials. The ILC will also continue to maintain all books on the Air Force Chief of Staff's Reading List and provide computers with free internet access, scanners and printers for customers' use.

Additionally, base leadership is currently working with libraries in the local community to establish a memorandum of agreement allowing service members and their families to use those services at a discounted cost, or in some cases, at no cost.

"Despite the fiscal cutbacks, we strive to continue to provide as many of the services our customers are used to as possible," said Lt. Col. Thomas B. Walsh II, 55th FSS commander. "The bad news is that we are losing some of the benefits the library currently provides. However, the good news is that by consolidating the two agencies we get to keep some of the essential library services, like the children's section and language learning materials, while also providing a more convenient location for the education center."

The library will close June 30 to allow for renovations and to move education and testing center equipment out of Building D. The new ILC is planned to open in August.

"It's no secret that our operating budget is significantly affected by the sequestration," said Col. John Rauch, 55th Wing commander. "These are challenging times; however, we will make every effort to maintain both our operational readiness and services to our base community to the maximum extent possible with the resources available. We are still in the process of finalizing all of the details of this consolidation and we are confident that this consolidation will enable us to explore innovative solutions while maintaining access to some of our valued services."

Online library resources are available through Additionally, the Air Force Portal has library material accessible by clicking on the word "library" directly above the portal logo.

5/19/2013 4:27:03 PM ET
We all understand there will be cuts.Our military is not exempt.Consolidatingsome of our goods andor services that will not affect our Mission Combat rediness is not a large sacrifice.
James Elliott CMSGT Ret., Spokane Wa.99203
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