Slam-dancing on the library floor

posted by Nick Hornby October 10, 2007 at 3:53 pm Books

My reading in Norwich Millennium Library ended, as, presumably, East Anglian literary events usually do, with a group of lads slam-dancing on the library floor. It was a great evening, for me anyway: a good venue, a large and lively all-age crowd.

At the back of the Millennium Library is the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library, which commemorates the nearly seven thousand young US servicemen, all members of the division and based in Norfolk and Suffolk, who lost their lives during the Second World War. The librarian told me that the most frequent visitors to the Memorial Library are curious family members who wish to look at the archives, scrapbooks and the shrine kept there; but more recently, she said, she has been dealing with the enquiries of an increasing number of local men and women in their early-to-mid sixties. These people have just learned, quite often from a dying mother, that their fathers were US servicemen stationed in the area.

Apart from all the artifacts, the Memorial library holds a pretty decent collection of recent American non-fiction, the sort of stuff that’s been reviewed in the New Yorker in the last few weeks; I ran around writing down the names of books I wanted to read. The new biography of Dr Dre that was on display doesn’t seem to have been checked out yet.