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RAF Lakenheath librarian Rick Woodard.

RAF Lakenheath librarian Rick Woodard. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Rick Woodard is a retired airman who now works at the 48th Fighter Wing library at RAF Lakenheath. The 26-year Air Force veteran separated in 2003 and worked for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service before assuming his post at the library.

Woodard, 48, is from Indianapolis.

What drew you to work in the library?

I have a thirst for knowledge. I love reading, I love books. The idea of being surrounded by books all day is very exciting to me.

Summer is traditionally a heavy reading time as people go on vacation. What is the hot book this summer?

There really isn’t a hot book here. We get a lot of new books every month and they all go like wildfire. But romance novels are the most popular.

Even with the men?

Guys don’t like to admit it, but they still come in and check them out. They say it’s for my wife or something. But a lot of people do come in [and] browse the Chief of Staff suggested reading section.

What’s that?

The Air Force Chief of Staff (Gen. T. Michael Moseley) put together a suggested reading list and we have a lot of people interested in those books.

Are there any books that are banned from military libraries, books that you cannot carry for force protection reasons or whatever?

There is no prohibition. We’re not the Moral Majority. Our job is not to vet what people read.

Do you worry the proliferation of the Internet and the project by Google to scan the entire collection of major American university libraries will hurt publishers and libraries?

I don’t think so. There’s still not anything like sitting back in your favorite chair with a good book. It will be hard for computers to replace that.

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