Coronavirus: All libraries in Brent now closed for the foreseeable future

Kensal Rise Library. Picture: Margaret Bailey

Kensal Rise Library. Picture: Margaret Bailey - Credit: Archant

All Brent’s council-run and community run libraries have now closed to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Brent Council has now closed all six of its libraries after reducing the hours last week.

Brent Museum, Gallery and Archives, based in the Willesden Library in the High Road, is also closed for the foreseeable future.

The council has said that until April 30 it is automatically renewing all borrowed items, waiving new fines and extending the expiry date of any cards due to expire before that date.

Residents with smartphones or tablets can also download to ‘My Library App’ for access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks – for adults, teens and children,

hundreds of magazines and newspapers in several languages, reference and study materials and manage any loans.

Community libraries including Preston Community Library (PCL), Kensal Rise Library (KRL) and Barham Park Library (BPL)have also closed.

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Paul Lorber, who runs BPL said he was following government guidance on public guidance and public galleries.

He said those who had any of the library’s books could return them in the future but in the meantime should “not worry, read them and share them with others”.

He added: “We are sorry to have to do this.

“We will use the next few weeks to carry out repairs and redecoration of our library building.

We are also looking at options how best, and safely, we can continue to serve our local community and will communicate this in due course.”

He urged people to “stay safe” and is looking forward to welcoming people back “when the time is right”.

Margaret Bailey, chair of KRL, said the library closed on March 18: “The safety of our users, volunteers, staff - and

wider community - is of utmost importance, The situation is really terrible for lots of people.”

She added: “The library hopes to be involved with a lot of the local initiatives of aid that are emerging and we will put the use of our social media platforms to community use.”

Preston Community Library also took the “difficult decision to close the library with immediate effect” last week and will update people through mailings and social media.

A spokesperson added: “We ask that you bear with us during these unprecedented times and thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support.”

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent’s culture lead said: “We are currently looking into ways that students and adults who may be highly dependent on computers in the library can still access library services and will put more information on our website about this as soon as we can.

“I know that the library closure may come as a disappointment to many residents so I just want to reassure you that this is only temporary and the libraries will be back up and running again as soon as it is safe to open.”