Kensal Rise Library to reopen after epic community battle

Kensal Rise Library to reopen after epic community battle

Kensal Rise Library will be reopened this weekend with a guest appearance from long-time supporter Tamsin Greig following an epic eight-year battle over its future.

The library was shut down by Brent Council in 2011, sparking a huge campaign supported by writers including Alan Bennett, Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson and Zadie Smith.

Following a fight that included a judicial review at the high court, the building is being redeveloped into flats but with space on the ground floor for a community facility, run by the Friends of Kensal Rise Library.

Thousands of pounds have been raised to refurbish the space and campaigners have promised an “emotional celebration” from 2pm on 28th September with a reading from Grieg and the unveiling of the library’s original Mark Twain plaque.

Twain opened the original reading room on 27th September 1900 but the plaque was removed when the council closed down the facility.

Chair of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library trustees Margaret Bailey said: “It has been a long, and at times, bitter struggle to get to where we are today. This is testament to the commitment and tireless work put in by our community who refused to give in when they came up against insurmountable odds. We fought hard and long for this day and we are proud of what we have achieved.

“The struggle with running the library will be a continuing battle but for one day we will celebrate as a community our working together to save our library against incredible obstacles and we are heartened that our opening weekend coincides with the same date of the original opening by Mark Twain. He continues to be an inspiration.

“We have fought to keep a library at the heart of our community. We believe libraries, and the role they play in uniting and strengthening communities, are important. We want and need places that bring us together and our library will do that.”