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Tuesday 4 November 2014

Kilburn Library Refurbishment

I suggested that I would go through the benefits of the Kilburn Library refurbishment, following a rather ignorant comment published yesterday.  The refurbishment was budgeted at £650k, although I believe it came in slightly under.  You can see some photos of the refurbished Kilburn Library here.  Unfortunately, I don't have photos of how it looked before.

The Alternatives for Kilburn Library
Kilburn Library had been neglected for years prior to the Libraries Transformation project, and some of the "Library Campaigners" would not only have been happy for that to continue; they actually argued it should be closed completely.  That may startle people, but it is nonetheless true.  If you look at option 1 of the "Save Preston Libraries Campaign" (page 167 here), it says "Close Kilburn instead of Preston".  The same document suggests closing Neasden, Tokyngton, and Willesden Green.  Closing Kilburn Library was also suggested by the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in a Council committee in 2011.  Some campaigners also favoured cutting opening hours drastically, perhaps by 40%, which would have left Kilburn Library open only three days a week.

The Kilburn Library Refurbishment
For some years, Kilburn Library had a problem with leaks in the roof and the windows, which the refurbishment fixed.  A French drain was installed in the Kilburn Library garden to limit dampness coming though the walls.  There was also treatment of the brickwork, the guttering and so on.  This was a substantial part of the capital cost.

New heating and lighting was installed.  The building was completely rewired, allowing for more use of computers.  A new children's area was created at the front, and the building redesigned inside so that quieter areas would be at the back, and the whole inside made more user friendly.  There is now more flexibility about events, and a proper disabled accessible toilet.  The capacity of Kilburn Library for books was increased from c. 25,000 to c. 32,000, and staff now circulate within the Library.  The bookstock was also upgraded.

Following this refurbishment, user numbers have roughly doubled. 

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