Although we don’t have the luxury of a Barnes and Noble around every corner, we are very lucky here in GK to have two nice international libraries, a bookstore, and several active book clubs in the area.
JFC Brunssum International Library
New Location: Next to the Shop 2000 (take 2nd exit from roundabout just inside the main gate and follow the road down the hill, pass the pool, and loop back up to the Shop 2000 and the library.)
Open: Tues and Weds 1000-2000, Thurs and Fri 1000-1800, Sat and Sun 1200-1600; Closed on Mondays
The Library: Open to all US and NATO ID card holders (even those stationed at GK), this is the larger of the two international libraries we have locally especially now in their new location. You’ll find a row of computers with Internet for patron use, a huge CD and video collection that you can borrow, and many, many books to check out not only in English, but also in other languages as well. The travel section becomes very useful as you plan trips and the library does a good job of stocking current bestselling book titles as well as the latest DVD releases. There’s a waiting list as well, so if you want something, put your name on the list and they will call you when it’s available.
Children will enjoy the great children’s library and selection of children’s movies as well. Go frequently in the summer to take advantage of the Summer Reading Program open to all children. They receive a prize for every three books that they read or have read to them. (So even little ones who don’t yet read can participate.) When a child has read 18 books he/she will receive a book they can keep. Some of the prizes include passes to the Schinnen Bowling Center, the JFC Brunssum Swimming Pool, and the JFC Brunssum Theater. They are also holding a drawing for the teen readers (ages 12-18) who read 18 books this summer. The prize is an i-shuffle donated by the AfNorth PTSA. This fun program runs every summer.
Geilenkirchen NATO Base International Library
Located: In a small green building between the Italian NSU and the IYA.
Hours: Monday – Friday 1100-1630
The Library: Smaller than the Brunssum library, but surprisingly packed with movies, CDs, and books including a decent children’s collection, this library is incredibly convenient to GK folks and worth a stop in to check it out. They also have a couple computers with Internet for patron use.
AAFES Bookmark – Schinnen
Open during normal BX hours Tuesday – Sunday
* Probably the biggest selection of children’s books in English that you’ll find in this area (not including Ramstein, of course). Small, but decent and friendly. A good selection of language and travel material, magazines, and a few shelves of the latest books. Coffee and a place to sit and relax.
AAFES Bookmark – Ramstein
Located in the building with the food court and international shops on Ramstein.
* If you’re a book lover and have been in Europe a while, this can be an emotional experience. I felt like I was home browsing Barnes and Noble. It feels huge compared to local places. You can actually walk around browsing for hours. :) Will I normally drive 3 hours for books? No. But, if you’re in the area, go there. The Ramstein bookstore even has all those fun little “impulse buy” things that bookstores normally carry like bookmarks, mints, and little games. And the children’s section is great too.
Selexys Book Store
6211 CZ MAASTRICHT
tel. 043 321 08 25
*Most of the books here are in Dutch, BUT they do have a small, but quite nice English section and a coffee shop. :)
Tel.: 0241 / 4777 – 0
Fax: 0241 / 4777 – 167
Open: Mon-Sat 0930-2000; Shopping Sundays: 1300-1800
*An enormous bookstore with a nice children’s section, a cafe, and a decent selection of book in the English language, so you can relax and pretend that you’re in Barnes and Noble.
There are a lot of book clubs in the local area started mostly by spouses who love to read. Book clubs are always a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I don’t know who any of the contact folks are at the moment, so if you have a book club, or are in one, let me know so I can post a small list here – just give me contact info, meeting times, and what kind of things your group reads!