A new library opens its doors on 23 January in Hackney, which the council says is one of the largest in the UK. Dalston C.L.R. James library is twice the size of the one it’s replacing, covering three floors and with 32,000 items to read, watch or listen to. There are also 57 computers and free wifi throughout, so you could take your own laptop while drinking a coffee in the cafe. It all sounds tres metropolitan and makes a nice bloody change from libraries being closed down.
Opening hours are 9am-8pm Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 1pm-5pm Sunday, which Hackney Council says are some of the longest in London; however, they’ve already been trumped by the library at the newly opened Deptford Lounge, open 7am-10pm Monday-Friday and 7am-7pm on weekends.
Transpontine and Deptford Dame have already paid visits to browse the 36,000 items on offer and taste the goodies at its cafe. Lewisham Council wants the building to be ‘a living room in a city‘ (though, with a sports court on the roof, they’re not coming round our place any time soon) and it’s part of the Deptford regeneration scheme. The new library is a mixed blessing for Lewisham residents, where the council transferred five libraries to external control last year, a move that’s experienced some technical hitches.
Southwark, however, doesn’t seem troubled by any of this ‘closing libraries down’ nonsense and has just opened a new ‘super library‘ at Canada Water. Again, huge and with a cafe and wifi, maybe the best time to make a trip is 23 January when Michael Rosen and Mark Haddon will be explaining why reading is good for you.
Photos of C.L.R. James library from Hackney Council, copyright Dominic French; photos of the Deptford Lounge by @bitoclass; photos of Canada Water library by Laurabot_ and photography.ambjorn.com from the Londonist Flickr pool