Oxford Library unveils its new Veterans Room
● By Steven Hoffman
The Oxford Library officially unveiled the new Veterans Room on the lower level of the building on Monday, Nov. 13.
Jamie Cole, the president of the library's board of trustees, presided over the grand opening. Cole, who served in the Marines, talked about how people who have served in the military love to get together, share memories, and engage in a good-natured debate about which branch of the military is better. That's just one way in which the new Veterans Room can be utilized.
Cole explained that the room can be used by people who need a quiet space to meet with friends or fellow veterans, or by groups of veterans who need a space for meetings. The room features displays that are dedicated to veterans, so anyone who is interested can go down to see the collection. Items prominently being showcased in the display case include a book, “Notes from an Airborne Rifle Company,” which was written by Robert Brown, three scrapbooks, and other materials that have been donated to the library. A uniform is proudly displayed on the wall, as is the official charter establishing the local American Legion.
Library officials are thrilled that the Veterans Room is finally a reality. It is one more enhancement that has come as a result of a significant expansion of the building.
“The idea of having a Veterans Room has been in place since we first decided to build an expansion to the library,” library director Carey Bresler said at the grand opening.
Bresler explained that the library received a donation of materials by Bill Patrick when the local VFW Post 1779 disbanded a number of years ago. The idea was that the items would one day be put on display in the Veterans Room. The library continued to collect items over the years.
“We've received some great donations,” Cole said, explaining that he would love to one day have the walls of the room lined with display cases of items related to U.S. military veterans.
Cole said that there are many people in the Oxford area who have served in the military—perhaps more than one would think—so a room dedicated to veterans will be a real asset to the community. Certainly some of the materials on display will have special meaning for those who served, and for the family members of those who served. Cole explained that there are people in the community who remember the local VFW, and will like seeing the VFW's items on display again.
The Veterans Room will also open the door to many different opportunities for children and community members to learn about local veterans and their contributions to the country. Bresler explained that in the week leading up to Veterans Day this year, all the stories in the Story Time classes related to the military, and about two dozen young children colored pages thanking veterans for their service. Those pages were on display during the grand opening.
Bresler said that the library would welcome donations of materials to display in the Veterans Room—and these items can be donated for either a specific period of time or as a permanent gift for display in the Veterans Room.
“We want it to be a living collection that grows,” Bresler said.
She added that her father is a military veteran, so she is very proud of the fact that the library now has a room dedicated to those who served their country.
“This is really close to my heart,” Bresler said. “I feel a deep gratitude to those who served.”