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New chapter begins for Islington’s West Library

2 March 2011

Since awarding £80m to Library Authorities across England in 2007, the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Libraries programme has been a great success with almost all of the 77 library sites now up and running and open for business. The funding was used to support projects either creating brand new libraries or refurbish existing sites.

As libraries sit at the heart of our communities the aim of the Lottery funding is to create spaces within the buildings that can be used for a range of local activities and services ranging from home work clubs to language classes and music lessons to healthy eating courses.

Author Mike Gayle joined local residents on World Book Day to celebrate the grand reopening of Islington’s Community Libraries funded West Library. The library hall will be a base for community activities including keep-fit and computer classes, and is available for hire.

The 100-year-old library has been given a major makeover, including more PCs for public use, a new reading space and self-service machines.  Also, the hall has been refurbished, with a new lift to improve accessibility.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for regeneration and leisure, said: “We’re on the side of residents and the new-look West Library is a brilliant new community space.

“On behalf of all those who will use and enjoy the new-look building, I’d like to thanks to Big Lottery Fund for its generous support.

“At a time when Government funding is so tight and very difficult decisions have to be made, this is a very welcome gift to the people of Islington.”

BIG’s Head of Region for London, Alison Rowe said: “Libraries sit at the heart of our communities so are ideally placed to host a range of activities and local services. We’ve invested £15.3m to improve libraries in London, enabling them to offer a range of services beyond their traditional role, including advice, classes, training and workshops.

“It’s fantastic to see the new and improved Islington West Library, which I’m sure will go from strength to strength as it establishes itself as a key hub for local activities.”

Mike Gayle has written a string of successful novels, with the best-known titles including My Legendary Girlfriend, Mr Commitment and Turning Thirty.

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