Unlock the benefits of MWR libraries

Jessica Evans Avatar
MWR Libraries
Naval Air Station Pensacola Command Master Chief Mario Rivers poses with a group of participants from the NAS Pensacola MWR Library Summer Reading Program. (DVIDS)

Military families, did you know that the Department of Defense’s MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) libraries can provide you with numerous benefits? These libraries offer an array of resources and services – not just books. So the next time you’re in need of some free entertainment, head to your installation’s library! There you’ll find everything – from books to movies, educational programs and more.

Benefits of MWR libraries

One of the primary benefits of using the MWR libraries is the financial savings. Mil-fams constantly have to balance their budgets carefully, and buying books or movies can get expensive quickly. But fear not! By using the libraries, you can borrow these items for free and still enjoy the entertainment or educational resources you need.

Another fantastic benefit of using the MWR libraries is the increased access to educational resources. Textbooks and reference materials are super helpful for mil-fams who homeschool – or anyone working on a project. Additionally, many libraries offer other online resources, too. So if learning a language is up on your list for your OCONUS PCS, you’re in luck.

Here are some of the top military library benefits just waiting for you:

Genealogy research

Libraries aren’t just for books. In fact, if you’re interested in studying your family history, you’re in luck! As a DoD library patron, you get access to Ancestry.com, Gale in Context Biographies, and Fold 3. You’ll have the chance to not only do a deep dive into your own ancestry but also review over a million military records. How amazing would it be to discover that your distant relative was a great war hero? On top of that, history buffs can enjoy reading any of the thousands of modern and classic biographies. Commander’s reading list, anyone? If you’re not up to reading, you can even review military photos and documents dating back to the Revolutionary War.

DIY courses galore

For you hands-on learners, the MWR libraries grant access to a host of do-it-yourself courses, guides and videos. Military personnel may access manuals in subjects ranging from automotive repair to legal information.

kids corner at MWR libraries
Harlie Fraser and Charlotte Fraser select books as part of the Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Morale Welfare and Recreation Library Summer Reading Program. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler R. Fraser/Released)

Children’s corners for little learners

The MWR libraries also have a Children’s Corner, which provides various resources for children, including Bookflix by Scholastic, Miss Humblebee’s Academy and National Geographic educational articles and videos. Your children can learn about anything from archaeology to biodiversity with hundreds of interactive videos in the NatGeo application on the library website.

Continuing ed for all ages

Moreover, MWR libraries offer continuing education resources as well, including ArtistWorks for Libraries, which provides instructional videos and training in music theory, conducting, and instrumentation. For those wanting to pick up a second or third language, Mango is an application that may be used to learn foreign language skills in nearly 70 languages.

Entertainment, anyone?

Lastly, MWR libraries also offer entertainment resources such as Freegal Music, which grants you access to over 15 million songs, and Kanopy, which allows you to stream all sorts of movies, from action adventures to Oscar-winning films.

So, to make the most of these amazing resources, don’t forget to take advantage of the library’s programs and events. Many of these libraries offer book clubs, children’s storytimes and other activities that provide opportunities for families to connect with others in the military community. These events can be a fantastic way to meet new people, especially if your family has just PCS’d (again.)