New £11m Willesden Green Library opens
PUBLISHED: 18:30 27 July 2015 | UPDATED: 21:22 28 July 2015
Today marked a new chapter for Willesden Green Library as it opened to the public for the first time following a £11million rebuild.
The state-of-the-art building in the High road now boasts 40,000 books, 140 study spaces, 81 PCs, and 14 iPads – all for public use.
The new building is fully accessible for disabled people and it has also scored an ‘excellent’ rating for sustainability under the BREEAM system.
It was also be home to a community centre that also features an exhibition space, a museum, archives and a performance space.
The library will be officially opened on September 12 when the Rugby World Cup trophy tour comes to Brent.
Cllr Michael Pavey, deputy leader of Brent Council, and Cllr James Denselow, Brent Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, were one of the first people through the library’s doors.
Cllr Denselow, who became the very first person to borrow a book from the new library building – a copy of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman.”, said: “Libraries today are very much the hubs of our local communities where residents can go to be informed, to educate and be educated, to entertain and be entertained and to socialise.
“It is fantastic therefore to see this stunning twenty-first century building open its doors to the public, offering Willesden residents a chance to do all those things through this new library, performance space, museum, archives and soon a café too - right in the heart of the local community.
“I very much look forward to the official opening on September 12 and hope the whole of Willesden will take the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Rugby World Cup trophy and take a look around this fabulous new local facility.”
The old library was closed two years ago after the council approved controversial plans to turn the site into a mixed development that includes luxury flats.
Brent Council give developers Galliford Try the site for free on in exchange for the new cultural centre to replace the old Victorian library in High Road.
However, residents who proposed the plans were further angered by the developers marketing the flats to Singaporean buyers with a starting price of £405,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.
They claim the 95 flats were out of the price range of residents living in a borough where the average annual salary is £31,000.