News

Kensal Rise campaigners near fundraising target

The Friends of Kensal Rise Library need to raise only another £10,000 before Friday (7th September) to help secure their bid to turn the building into a community-run library.

So far, the group has raised £59,909 out of a total of £70,000 that would see them able to back their proposals to lease the library from its owner, All Souls College, Oxford.

The public library was closed by the local authority, Brent Council, prompting the Friends group to try and keep it open as a community facility. However, All Souls has placed the library on the market open to all offers, meaning there may be other proposals on the table when the plans are submitted at the end of this week.

Figures such as author Paulo Coelho have pledged their support for the campaign, while actors including Tamsin Greig held a poetry evening to raise money towards the efforts.
 

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As an advocate for *public* libraries, it may seem a contradiction to be cheering on the campaigners for Kensal Rise in their bid to run it themselves. Why do I support them? Because, demonstrably, they NEED that library and should have it. I sincerely hope they make their target. Yet there is another point that should be made :

Some herald the efforts at Kensal Rise as a precedent that will solve other threatened libraries' woes. But even in Brent there are 5 other public libraries in a similar dire position - with beleaguered residents looking around for funding. There are many many more branch libraries under threat throughout the country, many of which do not have users with the eloquence or means to mount a high profile challenge or have the clout to gain the national media's attention.

A fully-functioning, comprehensive & efficient *public library service* - freely available to all, irrespective of post code, is what is required under statute. This is the imperative and is what we must ALL marshall our efforts to fight for.

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As an advocate for *public* libraries, it may seem a contradiction to be cheering on the campaigners for Kensal Rise in their bid to run it themselves. Why do I support them? Because, demonstrably, they NEED that library and should have it. I sincerely hope they make their target. Yet there is another point that should be made :

Some herald the efforts at Kensal Rise as a precedent that will solve other threatened libraries' woes. But even in Brent there are 5 other public libraries in a similar dire position - with beleaguered residents looking around for funding. There are many many more branch libraries under threat throughout the country, many of which do not have users with the eloquence or means to mount a high profile challenge or have the clout to gain the national media's attention.

A fully-functioning, comprehensive & efficient *public library service* - freely available to all, irrespective of post code, is what is required under statute. This is the imperative and is what we must ALL marshall our efforts to fight for.