Brent adult learners face tough future if Neasden library closed

The future of popular courses taught at the library are uncertain

After a �360,000 refurbishment last year Neasden Library Plus, in Neasden Lane, has become a hub of adult learning.

Its rooms bustle with people taking computer classes, and Brent Adult and Community Education Services (BACES) run their English language courses out of the library.

But now the library faces closure, and uncertainty looms over what will happen to the people who train there.

Terri Harris, BACES programme manager, said: “We have a lot of vibrant courses running at Neasden Library. Some of the students’ language is quite low level so they really need these courses.

“If it was to close I don’t know if we would have space to accommodate them elsewhere. All our other courses are full.”

The library provides computer workshops, English and creative writing classes, homework clubs and help with citizenship tests.

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Jugal Mehta, 77, chairman of Neasden Neighbourhood Watch, said: “There are classes here and many community meetings are held here too.

“Anything that draws people together is a good thing. They must not close this library. It will be a great set back to the community.

“They have talked about closing the library before. But then to my great surprise that spent thousands renovating it and now they are talking about closing it again.”

People in training are not the only ones who stand to lose if the closure goes ahead.

Mr Mehta warned that many residents won’t make the trip further afield to borrow

books, and that library usage would seriously diminish as a result.

He said: “I know many elderly people that use the library every single day and parents bring their small children here too.

“It would be extremely difficult go all the way to another library. I’m concerned because I don’t know where else they could go.”

Unlike other libraries facing the chop, Neasden Library Plus wasn’t opened by Mark Twain in 1900, like Kensal Rise Library, and is not housed in a beautiful Georgian mansion, like Barham Park Library.

But what it lacks in history and beauty it makes up for with the wide range of services it offers, and residents say it is still just as vital to the community that surrounds it.