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First 101st On-base Library Opens in Mosul

By Pfc. Thomas Day
Special to American Forces Press Service

MOSUL, Iraq, Oct. 9, 2003 – What was once nothing more than a boxed collection of books became Iraq's first 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) library here today.

Chaplain (Capt.) Fran Stuart of Derry, N.H., 526th Forward Support Battalion chaplain, opened the Camp Performance Library with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by cake and coffee.

"Our library started with about 200 paperback books in boxes, in sand on the side of the chaplain's tent," Stuart said. "Now look at us."

Stuart and her sister, Robin, a writer in New York, have worked on the library for several months. They contacted publishers and the New York Public Library, and lobbied them successfully to donate books to the cause.

The library's shelves are now loaded with fiction and nonfiction readings, from spiritual selections to a book covering the 75-year history of the New York Giants football team.

The chaplain also got help from the R.F. Sink Library at Fort Campbell, Ky. "The librarians there have been tremendously helpful," she said. Stuart said she hopes to add more selections to the library's collection.

The library includes a reading room with new magazines, CDs and a DVD selection. Steve Wariner, a country music artist, donated several hundred copies of his album "Steal Another Day" for soldiers to grab for free.

"It's going to have a huge (morale) impact when it's completely finished," said Maj. Steve Leonard of Lewiston, Idaho, 526th FSB executive officer.

(Army Pfc. Thomas Day is assigned to the 40th Public Affairs Detachment.)

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