By Don Allen
Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve searched for a topic about World War II and discovered that there was a massive United States Army Air Force (precursor to the modern US Air Force) presence here in Norfolk during the war. Or perhaps you already knew about it, and wanted to learn more about the bomb groups, the planes used, or even individual people who served. The 2nd Air Division USAAF Memorial Library is the place to learn all of that information and far, far more. We have hundreds of books, videos, and artifacts from and about the Eighth Air Force’s 2nd Air Division here in our Library, as a living memorial to the brave men and women of the United States who served here. Those of us who have worked here, past and present (the Library opened in 1963), feel privileged to in some small way honor them.
What you may not realize however, and what can sometimes get lost because of our WWII coverage, is that we are not limited to WWII. We are dedicated to also preserving, indeed strengthening, the bond between America and the United Kingdom. To this end, there is so much in the Library to look at and learn from.
The Library covers nearly all of American history. From Native American history to the American Revolution to the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President, if you’re looking for it, chances are you can find it here. Civil War? Check. Vietnam? Check. War on Terror? Check. How did the States get their names and shapes? Who killed Kennedy? (Ok. Maybe we can’t answer that one, but we have books by authors who think they can!) Our sections on American History have all of this and more.
Fascinated by American culture? Our collection of American cookbooks will help you create those American recipes you’ve always wanted to try. Our sports section ranges from football (American, not soccer), baseball, basketball and more. Poetry from Robert Frost, plays from Tennessee Williams and the music of Muddy Waters are just some examples of our selection. We carry books on arts & crafts, film & television, art, photography and architecture. Politics. Religion. True Crime. Biographies. American fiction. We also have American magazines including Time and Discover.
Or maybe you’re planning that trip to New York you always wanted to. Or the bayou of Louisiana. Or Cape Cod (my home). Want to tear down the famous Route 66, visit Yellowstone, or hike the California wine country? Our travel guides cover all 50 states and much more.
Beyond our books we have much to offer as well. Follow us on Twitter () for Ebook Thursdays and pictures from our Digital Archives on Friday (or search the Archives yourself at http://www.2ndair.org.uk/digitalarchive). Find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/2ndair/) for news and information. Come to one of the regular events and talks we put on, such as the event we held yesterday on the American Experience of the First World War by Dr. Sam Edwards. Keep reading this blog for weekly posts, and visit our 2nd Air Division Stories site, where Nathaniel Sikand-Youngs goes in depth to flesh out the stories behind the pictures of our Archives (https://2ndairstories.com/).
So whether it’s World War II, Bruce Springsteen, the Rocky Mountains or the World Series (congrats to the Astros by the by), we got you covered here at the 2nd Air Division USAAF Memorial Library.