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Preston Community Library is 'highly commended' in The Booksellers prestigious awards competition

PUBLISHED: 12:52 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:52 19 July 2019

Vibhav Gaddi, 13, with author Saman Shamsie who holds an annual Chrildren's Summer Writing Challenge at Preston Community Library. Picture: Geraldine Cooke

Vibhav Gaddi, 13, with author Saman Shamsie who holds an annual Chrildren's Summer Writing Challenge at Preston Community Library. Picture: Geraldine Cooke

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A north Wembley library kept going by the efforts of community has been "highly commended" in a prestigious award ceremony.

The volunteer-run Preston Community Library (PCL), in Carlton Avenue East, has been recognised in The Bookseller Library of the Year 2019.

They are the first community library to ever be shortlisted as the competition usually recognises publicly funded libraries.

Volunteers celebrated its shortlisting on Sunday by awarding its annual certificates of excellence to children who entered The Saman Shamsie Young Writers' Challenge

The Pakistani author is PCL's Children's Laureate who set up the challenge to encourage excellence of writing and imagination and also appreciation of each other's stories from around the globe.

Geraldine Cooke, library volunteer said: "Tales of adversity as well as fables mark these outstanding works

"I am sure this unique initiative gained the interest of the Bookseller and The Reading Agency

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"This is such an incredible act of recognition as no community library has ever been shortlisted before or even recognised."

The highly prized library was one of six closed by Brent Council in 2011 but operational today thanks to campaigners "tireless efforts" to keep it going.

Open four days a week it offers film and quiz nights, knitting groups, yoga sessions and many classes as well as author talks.

The library, which has around 1,400 members may be temporarily moved for proposed building works.

Brent Council and 5plus Architects want to build 12 "affordable" flats and keep the vital community space on the ground floor.

Philip Bromberg, PCL chairman, said: "Congratulations to all of our volunteers who work tirelessly to keep the library open. "Above all, this award recognises the vital importance of local libraries to their communities, which is why thousands of people fought to keep Preston Library open, and continued to fight for several years to re-open it.

He added: "All of us at Preston Community Library agree that public libraries should be publicly funded, and run by paid professional staff.

"But, as custodians - for the time being - of Preston Library we are extremely proud of what we've achieved, and honoured to have been recognised in this year's Library of the Year awards."

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