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Dressed in her Library Mouse costume in preparation for the Halloween Harry Potter Costume Party, Karen Lazzeri, director of the Bamberg, Germany, Community Library, shelves books in the library's children's room. Lazzeri and her staff were recently honored for having the Army's top medium-size installation library for the second year in a row.
Dressed in her Library Mouse costume in preparation for the Halloween Harry Potter Costume Party, Karen Lazzeri, director of the Bamberg, Germany, Community Library, shelves books in the library's children's room. Lazzeri and her staff were recently honored for having the Army's top medium-size installation library for the second year in a row. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

BAMBERG, Germany — The community library for U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg has again been recognized for excellence.

For the second year in a row, Karen Lazzeri and her staff beat 35 other libraries to win the Department of the Army’s All-Army Recreation Award for a medium-sized installation.

Army garrisons in Grafenwöhr and Garmisch were also named as the Army’s top libraries for 2007 for large and small installations, respectively.

“It feels great,” Lazzeri said of the award. “This year, we’ve done a lot more programming … adding to what we did before.”

Some of that programming includes partnering with three local German libraries, German schools and on-post clubs such as the Girl Scouts, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers and school-age services.

“Libraries … need to know what the people in their community want and what their needs are,” Lazzeri said.

In a noticeable deviation from standard library etiquette, Bamberg’s facility isn’t all that quiet.

“It’s comfortable,” Lazzeri said. “We want people to go someplace that they feel good.

“If you want to sit behind a desk and watch the books get old and watch the books get dusty or give people rules like, ‘You can’t check out this book because you have books overdue …’ Those days are over.”

The library sponsors a Renaissance fair in May, brewery tours downtown, summer reading programs, pumpkin carving in the fall and a Harry Potter costume party on Halloween in addition to providing computers, DVDs and books on CDs.

“We’re dragging in people who are non-readers,” Lazzeri said. “The library is more than just books … we went out and surveyed the community. We’re targeting what people want.”

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