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My first foray into the world of work was as a Saturday girl at the library in my local town.  No two days were ever the same and so many people came through the doors for one reason or another.  It has saddened me therefore to see the decline of funding for libraries and the continued closing of them over the past few years.  However, a couple of weeks ago I visited a library that has been bought back from the brink by a loyal band of volunteers.  

This library has been bought back from the brink by a loyal band of volunteers.

This was New Cross Learning, previously known as New Cross People’s Library.  The library faced closure in 2011, but thanks to a group of local volunteers (working with the support of local charity Bold Vision) it remained open and has become a vibrant hub within the community.  In a blog last year my colleague Sam Thomas spoke about visiting the library, and the amazing work of the volunteers there. 

The event was a celebration of the library’s achievements over the last year.  The festivities included cakes, street dance performances, children’s storytelling, opportunities for catching up and meeting people and awards from a children’s poetry competition.  The event truly demonstrated how the library has become a hub in the New Cross community.  All these activities regularly take place in the library, and make use of the space available between the book shelves to give the whole place a vibrant feel.

A brand new entrance to the library on New Cross High Street is a participatory artwork in progress, funded by RSA Catalyst.  

New Cross Learning has really restored my faith in the future of libraries - I’ll be back soon.


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