MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The Overstreet Memorial Library smells like fresh paint and new carpet.

Closed since March 15, the library reopened earlier this month with a $339,000 face-lift.

The biggest renovation project since the building opened in 1987 includes new chairs, sofas, study carrels, shelves, carpet and artwork.

“We wanted the kind of furniture you might see in your home, to create a more relaxing environment,” said Joseph Barry, library director, 35th Services Squadron. “We wanted to modernize it.”

One of the more noticeable changes is a cafe-lounge at the front of the building in the old conference room. The Toshokan Lounge has tall tables, stools, a linoleum floor that looks like wood, a vending machine with hot drinks and a paperback exchange.

Patrons may use the lounge to “talk more freely, meet their friends, get tutoring, take a break from their studies,” Barry said.

A new conference room with updated digital equipment is separated from the lounge by a partition. Half of the conference room, once used for storage, was freed up with the addition of an outdoor shed, Barry said.

Other changes include a new fleet of 17 Dell compact computers and Asian-style furniture, plants and artwork. The study carrels have electrical mounts for laptops.

Much of the library interior was rearranged to better use space and display materials, Barry said.

The children’s section now has a world theme, a big, colorful carpet in the sunken reading area, two new computers, new furniture and wall hangings and more shelves.

Patrons at the library Tuesday said they were impressed by the changes and happy the library was open again.

“It’s great,” said military spouse Yolanda Blount, while reading to son Elijah, 3.

“We’ve been here since November. This was his favorite place to come. He asked and asked when it would open again,” she said.

Wernher Marroquin, a full-time student and military spouse, said he likes the new audio system that allows patrons to listen to music.

“I really appreciate what they did to the place,” he said.

Barry said renovations were a combined effort by the library staff — who restacked 47,000 books, among other tasks — local contractors and the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The 35th Fighter Wing approved funding for the project, which came from Pacific Air Forces for quality-of-life initiatives, Barry said.

The wing also gave the library another $16,500 for new materials, to include books, teen paperbacks, DVDs and CDs. The library used the money to renew its monthly subscriptions for new adult fiction, nonfiction and biographies, young adult paperbacks, children’s books and CDs.

The library’s hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

For more information, call DSN 226-4083.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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