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UK’s only public war memorial library based in Norwich set for exciting redevelopment

15 January 2020

The stories of US Air Force personnel stationed in Norfolk during WWII are to be brought to life for a new generation as the UK’s only public war memorial library is set for an exciting relaunch in Norwich in the coming months.

The Second Air Division USAAF Memorial Library is part of Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service and is based in Norwich’s Millennium Library at the Forum. The library memorialises nearly 7,000 2nd Air Division servicemen who died fighting to defend freedom and democracy in Europe.

The library, which first opened in 1963, is set to close on Monday 10 February, reopening on Monday 6 April under a new name: American Library. The transformation will bring stories of the servicemen alive for a new generation through engaging new graphics and digital displays that cover both life on the ground and in the air.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for communities, said: “This redevelopment will ensure that the stories and legacy of the Second Air Division service personnel continue to be told and honoured and inspire our community. The ‘American Library’ name takes into account the breadth of the stories told through its collections, giving visitors the chance to understand the lives and sacrifices made by American personnel during this time.”

Visitors will be able to discover what the servicemen did on a typical day on a base or a day off and what a mission involved from archive video, audio recordings and interactive displays.

The library stocks more than 4,000 books on all aspects of American life, history and culture, and has an extensive digital archive of 30,000 original photographs, letters and memoirs which can be explored by visiting the library website at www.2ndair.org.uk.

A core collection of specialist 2nd Air Division and World War II books will remain accessible at the Millennium Library whilst the memorial library is closed.

The library will remain active on Facebook and Twitter and can also be contacted by emailing 2admemorial.lib@norfolk.gov.uk or americanlibrary@norfolk.gov.uk or by calling 01603 774747.

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