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NUWC Division Newport celebrates National Library Week by reflecting on its history and adapting services to current times

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs | April 28, 2020

NEWPORT, R.I. —

National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport celebrated its own technical library by taking a look back in time at the library’s history through the warfare center’s archived newsletters. While digging through the archives, NUWC Division Newport’s public affairs team uncovered a very special “Salute to ‘Our Own’ Technical Library” from 1970 that celebrated the library team and their contributions to the mission of the warfare center.

At the time, the library contained around 10,000 technical books and bound periodicals, and subscribed to more than 300 periodicals related to research done at Division Newport.

Today, Division Newport’s library includes over 100,000 books, periodicals, and technical documents, access to tens of thousands of subscribed periodicals and online resources, and now services eight of the ten NAVSEA Warfare Centers.

This year, the theme for National Library Week 2020 was "Find Your Place at the Library.”  This theme, chosen before the emergence of the global pandemic, was then appropriately adapted to “Find the Library at Your Place,” highlighting how libraries are offering virtual services and digital content their communities need now more than ever.

Research Commons, Division Newport’s dynamic digital library and web portal for accessing subscriptions, information, and research tools, has been an increasingly important resource for employees while teleworking.

According to NUWC Technical Director, Ron Vien, “We are fortunate to enjoy uninterrupted access to an award-winning digital library while teleworking. And the secret is out:  the Research Commons has seen a huge surge in use since max telework went into effect.  Users are leveraging the Research Commons tools and librarians to keep their projects on track at an unprecedented rate.”

As the impact of the current public health crisis continues to evolve and change the work of libraries and library workers, libraries are proving resourceful and resilient, serving as a rich pipeline for content.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater  systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869.  Commanded by Capt. Michael Coughlin, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.