Celebrations for the new Dalston C.L.R James Library

Dalston CLR James official library openingRENOWNED author Nick Hornby joined 100’s of people on Tuesday 28 February, to celebrate the official opening of Hackney Council's new, Dalston C.L.R James Library.

People packed into the state of the art library, one of the biggest to open in the UK this year, to celebrate the boroughs new community facility. Over 1200 people visited throughout the official opening day, and since it's opening in January the library has had around 4000 visitors a week.

Nick Hornby, who also signed copies of his book said: “I’m happy to be here. I was keen to come along to this completely amazing event - the opening of Dalston C.L.R James Library – it’s a miracle in 2012 when everyone else in the country is closing theirs. I wouldn’t be the author that I am if it wasn’t for the library. I went every Saturday morning and started reading books at a young age –it changed my life”

Sam Weinstein, son of the author, historian and political theorist C.L.R James in whose honour the library is named, and the Black and Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA) also joined the celebration. John Hegley kept the crowd entertained with poems and interactive song. Nick Hornby and Mayor Pipe also presented the winners of the ‘I Love Dalston C.L.R James Library because…’ competition – a simple question to young people using the library which yielded some eloquent responses.

Nine year old Samuel Tadese won an Ipod for his entry. He said “I like it because I used to hate reading and now I come here and I love it.” Second place went to eleven year old Milo Rothchild-Davies and in joint third eleven year old Nikita Kaur and nine year old Dijon Hughes, they received book vouchers.

Events are continuing this week (until Saturday 3 March 2012) during the ‘Make a noise for libraries’ gala week. More information at: www.hackney.gov.uk/libraries or, from Dalston C.L.R James Library, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ.

And, everyone who visits the library and borrows an item will be entered into a draw to win one of two, £50 WH Smith vouchers. Winners will be chosen at random by Horrid Henry and announced on Saturday 3rd March.

Dalston C.L.R. James Library is open Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm, Saturdays 9am-5pm and 1-5pm on Sundays. It’s one of the largest public libraries to open recently and it’s twice the size of the one it replaces. Spread over three floors, the super library covers 2600 square metres and features separate adult, teen and children sections, 57 computers, study space, wi-fi and self-service technology and it holds events and reading groups.

It’s really easy to join Hackney Libraries, just visit a local library or fill in the online form. Find out more at; www.hackney.gov.uk/libraries or; call 020 8356 3000.

Hackney Archives is now open, and the collections are being moved to their new home. In the meantime there are still plenty of resources in the new Search Room on the second floor, including maps, local studies books, copies of historical newspapers on microfilm and the photograph database, containing over 15,000 old photos and paintings of Hackney. The full archives service, providing access to the unique historical documents in the archives, will be available shortly.
For more celebration events go to Full Listings.

Photography credit Sean Pollock.

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