Coronavirus: Kensal Rise Library re-opening following an eight month closure due to covid

Kensal Rise Library is reopening following lockdown. Picture: Allen Samuels

Kensal Rise Library is reopening following lockdown. Picture: Allen Samuels - Credit: Archant

Eight months after it was forced to close, Kensal Rise Library is throwing open its doors again.

The library in Bathurst Gardens is opening in phases from December 9.

Thanks to a £7,000 boost from the National Lottery, staff at the community library have been able to make it Covid secure with protective screens and sanitiser stations.

Initially the hours will be Wednesday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm and Saturday mornings from 10am to 1pm.

Social distancing rules apply and a maximum of six people are allowed inside at any one time to make loans and returns.

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They have only 15 minutes browsing time and all children under 12 must be supervised by an accompanying adult.

Library manager, Stephanie Schonfield, said: “We are opening in phases, to enable all of us to get used to the new procedures. We are complying with all the governmental guidelines.

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“I’m so grateful to the National Lottery for accepting my application for Covid funding.

“It’s meant we can afford vital kit to make us Covid secure, like protective screens and hand sanitiser stations.

“Kensal Rise Library receives no regular funding from the council.”

During the pandemic staff have held virtual events, including a Poetry Group.

They have aligned with Kensal Green Mutual Aid (KGMA), and allowed the empty library to be used for clothes drops for the homeless and for parents in need of baby items.

KGMA has cleared litter and weeds from outside the building.

It is also involved with Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture and collaborating on Kensal Rise Has A Story, local stories which are accessible via audio plaques dotted around Kensal Green Cemetery to the Brondesbury Ridge and from Kilburn Lane to Tiverton Green.

Chair of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library, Margaret Bailey, said: “It was very sad to close our library so soon after our grand opening. We are all looking forward to our phased reopening - small steps.

“It’s important we get it right. We want everyone to feel safe - staff, volunteers and users.

“We have missed everyone, but are now on our way back - like everyone, everywhere.”

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