Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


She´s 60, she´s hot and she´s just been lifted to perfection: Amerika Gedenkbibliothek or American Memorial Library re-opened after one year of renovations just in time to celebrate her on birthday.

60 years ago with 5.4 million DM (about $ 1.285 million) from the so called MacCloy Grant – money donated by the US citizens to support cultural life in West Berlin in recognition of its effort and stamina during the Berlin Blockade – as well as the equally high sum from the Berlin Senate the first central public library after the war opened its doors to the bookworms of the city.

Originally planned for 500 users per day, it is used by up to 3,500 visitors daily today. No wonder it is in dire need of either a new location or an extension building. With 0.5 million volumes already stored in its cellars, American Memorial Library is simply not capable of expanding its collection any further. One of the ideas for expansion would be adding an extension house on the now empty park-like part of Blücherplatz in Kreuzberg.

The aim of the renovation works on the building carried out over the past 12 months was to modernise it without changing its by now classic 1950s´ architecture. You could almost say, it looked good before but now it looks even better. Both its departments, the “grown-ups´” and the kids´ libraries – one of the best such places for children in the whole of Berlin – are open for service again.

Tomorrow, on September 20th, Amerika Gedenkbibliothek will celebrating both occasions with an open event from 4pm until 8pm – it´s your chance to take a stroll down the leafy library lanes and wish the lovely 60-year-old a very happy birthday indeed.

Amerika Gedenkbibliothek, Blücherplatz 1, 10961 Berlin; U1 Hallesches Tor; admission: free.

The newly opened Amerika Gedenkbibliothek in 1954 (image through bildindex)

The newly opened Amerika Gedenkbibliothek in 1954 (image through bildindex)


The library today (image by Lukas Koster)

The library today (image by Lukas Koster)




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