The Papatoetoe Civic War Memorial was officially opened next to the Papatoetoe Town Hall in St George Street on 8 October 1955. The two-storey building housed a public library, a rest room, a concert chamber or memorial hall and the Papatoetoe RSA clubrooms downstairs, with the Papatoetoe Borough offices and Council chambers upstairs. A roll of honour was unveiled in the hall listing men of the Papatoetoe and East Tamaki districts who had died during the two world wars. A further ceremony was held formally dedicating the building as a war memorial on 13 November 1955.
In March 1974 the Papatoetoe & Districts RSA moved to a new building in Wallace Road. When a new municipal library was opened next door in December 1978, the new library was designated as the town’s war memorial. The official opening ceremony and service of dedication was held on 26 February 1979. Chrome-plated letters reading ‘Papatoetoe Civic War Memorial’ were transferred from the old library’s entrance to the new library’s eastern wall. The plaque of dedication from the old building was transferred to the new library lobby, and additional plaques were installed. A revised version of the Papatoetoe and East Tamaki roll of honour was installed in the new library (what appears to be the original roll of honour is held by the RSA).
In 2013 the space between the RSA building and the memorial library was revamped. It now incorporates part of an outdoor artwork by Regan Gentry entitled ‘Learning Your Stripes’. The artist has enlivened the walls of the RSA building are with coloured aluminium stripes representing the war medal ribbons, while the trunk of a nearby totara tree is outlined by curved benches painted in a bright poppy red.