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Friday, 24 July 2015

What will be in the New Willesden Library Centre?

The new Willesden Library Centre opens on Monday morning.  Full details of the services available are here

Willesden Library Itself
Unlike other Brent libraries, Willesden is promised to open from 9am on week days (the rest open from 10am).  Closing time on each weekday is 8pm, which again gives it longer opening hours than most Brent libraries, which only open that time for two or three days a week.  Weekend opening is also slightly longer, with Willesden starting at 10am on Sundays, unlike Brent's other libraries which all open from noon on Sundays.

I assume that these opening hours are ones where the library is fully staffed i.e. not the situation where only self service is available in Wembley Library from 8am to 10am.  Whilst that is welcome, it is obviously not as good as having properly staffed opening hours.  

We are promised that the library will also feature:
  • the latest fiction, non-fiction and information for adults and children
  • comfortable furnishings
  • loan and reference books for adults and children in many languages including Tamil, Gujurati, Polish, Arabic, Urdu, French, Spanish and Portuguese
  • a spacious area for children and parents with books and reading space
  • 66 public computers
  • colour photocopier, printer and scanner
  • 14 iPads
  • over 120 study spaces in the main library
  • teen area
  • IT facilities and Wi-Fi
  • free online resources such as E-book downloads, E-magazines and learning courses
  • DVDs
  • audio books
  • newspapers and magazines
  • A series of public events of diverse kinds.  
As Well as The Library...
The new library centre will also host Brent Museum and archives as well as a gallery space with a number of exhibitions planned for the Summer.  The building will have a number of other spaces available for hire.  Unlike the old building, these have been designed to be suitable for performances (The old Willesden Centre spaces had such poor sound insulation that neighbours would complain).  The library also has a cafe, which is one of the features that makes Wembley Library such a success.  Finally, there are a number of self service kiosks for accessing Council services.

That is all an enormous step forward which only came about because we pursued the Libraries Transformation Project to a conclusion, and overcame the often spurious objections to the development. 

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