John Viles: Last City librarian in Norwich

A former Norwich city librarian, John Viles, who has died aged 77, was also responsible for a network of a dozen branches.

He had started his career in the library service at Barnes, Surrey, where he initially worked for a senior librarian, later to be his wife, Claire.

When he was appointed divisional librarian for Norwich in July 1976, he welcomed the opportunity to enhance the high reputation of the library service in the city. Norwich had pioneered the concept of public lending libraries more than a century earlier.

After completing his education at Shene Grammar School, Richmond, he did his two years' National Service with the Royal Army Service Corps and spent 12 months in Korea.


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He had moved to Surrey in 1964 where he became a district librarian until the 1974 re-organisation of local government, when he was appointed assistant county librarian for Surrey's central group of libraries.

In August 1988, following reorganisation of the library service, he took early retirement and then undertook further studies as part of the Workers' Education Association programmes at Wensum Lodge.

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He was also a volunteer guide for many years at Dragon Hall, where he was also a former treasurer.

In the south Norfolk village of Pulham Market, where he lived for many years, he was involved with local groups including Home Watch and also the Pulham Market Society.

He leaves a widow, Claire, and daughter, Helen.

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday, December 21 at 11am at Pulham Market Church.

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