It is with a warm heart that I greet the upcoming completion of the Library at Willesden Green (which I will simply be calling ‘Willesden Green Library’ despite our wonderful Council officers). The library will of course also be a vibrant and modern cultural hub, and will be opening on July 27th. Our job is now to make sure that it integrates with the local community as well as it possibly can.
The Library at Willesden Green replaces the former library which was built in the 1980’s and was inefficient and expensive to run, but still retains an element of the original building to the front, blending the old with the new. Local Labour Councillors have been very keen to retain this original building as part of the development – it was built and financed directly by local people, and is an icon of the area.
Though it rolls in the much older building, this is a development which is much more fit for the 21st century than the previous 1980s library, and which came without us having to raise further taxes from already squeezed residents due to our decision to fund this wonderful public asset with a private housing development.
The state of the art building will include a mix of uses including a new library, gallery and exhibition space, a museum and archives as well as performance space and also a new café, which will be introduced shortly after opening.
Brent Council has worked with renowned architects AHMM, developers Linden Homes and main contractor Galliford Try to create a new, exciting multi purpose venue for the local community.
My colleague Councillor James Denselow, Lead Member for Stronger Communities at Brent Council, has given the following statement:
“The Library at Willesden Green will be a building at the heart of its community, in every sense. When it opens to the public I’m sure it will quickly become a place full of life and creative energy.
“Being more efficient to run and easy to maintain, it will be able to respond to changing aspirations, offering the spaces and services that the community needs, now and in the future.”
As well as a new library with access to millions of books and council services, residents can look forward to a cultural centre that will include:
- children’s library
- self service customer facilities
- exhibition space
- education room
- computers, free wireless broadband and study space
- archive store
- office space
Local people are being encouraged to get involved in designing the art and cultural programme for the centre, through The Library at Willesden Green Users Group and workshops. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Self-service kiosks and customer free phone will be available for visitors who wish to access services and information on the ground floor. The council will also be offering weekly surgeries for vulnerable residents at the library. These will be provided on an appointment basis – the details of this will be published once finalised.
The customer services centre located at Brent Civic Centre will continue to offer assisted self-service facilities, face to face interviews and customer freephones between Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.