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    Community Life and Learning at the Libraries Onboard NSA Naples



    Story by Alicia McNeely 

    U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples

    Naples, Italy - Onboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, the libraries are at the heart of both community life and education.

    Thanks to the expansive collections in the two Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) libraries, service members, civilian employees and their families assigned to NSA Naples and its tenant commands have access to a wide variety of free reading, leisure and learning materials at Support Site and Capodichino.

    The resources and facilities of the libraries aim to appeal to patrons of every age and reading level. At Support Site, the main library of the two, the children’s room features a collection with picture books, novels and juvenile nonfiction books.

    “Outside the children’s room, a while back, we created a teen and young adult area, which we have just actually renovated a little bit,” said Ciro Giordano, supervisory librarian of the MWR Libraries onboard NSA Naples. “We got some new shelving, you know, to make it more attractive for the young adults, for the teens. There, we have books that are geared to that age group.”

    In addition to the youth collection, the libraries between both sites comprise books covering nearly every genre: from historical non-fiction texts and European travel guides to the latest bestsellers and contemporary fiction pieces by American and foreign authors, as well as bilingual paperbacks and easy readers to learn Italian. The Support Site library boasts around 20,000 volumes, and the Capodichino location has between 5,000 to 6,000.

    For Giordano, who has worked in the libraries for over 30 years, his favorite volumes in the collection are the coffee table art books illustrating sculptures and paintings from the Vatican and Michelangelo. He said, “Those are really cool books to have. I think they are precious because a lot of times these books are out of print.”

    In keeping with more modern trends, around a year ago, the libraries added vinyl records to their shelves. These are found amongst the other audio and visual content, including CDs, DVDs and audiobooks.

    Although closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, since reopening at the end of May – with limited occupancy and physical distancing measures in place – the libraries are just as busy as ever. In July, the libraries reached a circulation of about 5,000 items for the month, which is equal to pre-pandemic statistics.

    While books may be the centerpiece of the libraries, the welcoming atmosphere and dynamic programming are what truly make these establishments shine.

    “Why don’t we make libraries more of an experience for the patron?” said Giordano. “Turn it into a ‘piazza’ – a community place – a place where people can come into libraries not just for books or to use the free internet, but also a place where you can meet people, where you can talk to people, where you can take your kids to story time.”

    Thanks to a bustling events calendar and a recent grant for new furniture, Giordano has achieved this goal of bringing people into the libraries and together as a community.

    The grant, called “More Space for People,” provided funds for workspace tables and chairs and comfortable sofas for lounge areas in the Support Site library. Patrons are invited to relax, read, socialize or use their portable devices in these redesigned spaces. Giordano explained this has helped to “make an environment that people would like to go to and come back.”

    In regard to programming, the 2020 socially-distanced summer reading challenge was a success with over 200 children and a number of adults partaking. Every week, participants recorded which books they read and for how many minutes to win a prize. They could also pick up a grab bag from the library with an activity to complete at home, such as a coloring page or clay craft.

    This month, the libraries are hosting the “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” contest in which youth and adult readers can check out a surprise book wrapped in a brown bag. Patrons are only given a little teaser about the story before taking it home. If a reader enjoys the book, he or she fills out a comment card to be entered into a raffle for a prize.

    As the school year approaches, the Support Site library would normally organize a weekly themed story time for 2 to 5 year olds with games, crafts and singing. Although, this is not on the fall schedule due to concerns over coronavirus spread, in the past it has been a popular fun and educational event for preschoolers and parents.

    The libraries will still be celebrating other autumnal traditions this year, including the U.S. observance of “Library Card Sign-up Month” in September and “National Hispanic Heritage Month” starting in mid-September. For NSA Naples community members who have never visited the libraries, this will be the perfect time to stop in, open up an account, choose a book and start reading!

    For opening hours and more information, visit the Support Site library website or the Capo Connections library page online, or follow MWR on Facebook. For access to more resources, the Navy MWR Digital Library is also available.

    NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed, to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
    For more news about NSA Naples and the Sailors who serve aboard the installation, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebook at



    Date Taken: 08.19.2020
    Date Posted: 08.27.2020 01:56
    Story ID: 376882
    Location: NAPLES, IT 

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