Wood Lane Library Is Open

Residents say new building is "fantastic"


People waiting to enter new library

Library prepares to leave its old home

Tuesday September 1: New library opens to customers

Monday September 14: New library is officially opened by borough Mayor

Saturday September 19: Family fun day from 11am to 4pm. This will include stilt-walkers, Punch and Judy, local authors and poets.

The family fun day will be followed by a week of activities for people of all ages.



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Shepherd's Bush Library was hub of activity this morning as the new building opened its doors for the first time.

As staff could be seen being briefed inside, a small group of people queued up outside, waiting to be the first to enter when the doors were unlocked at just after 10 o'clock this morning (September 1).

Inside, the building looked clean and bright and had a 'brand new' smell. A row of computers was waiting to be used and several staff were on hand to explain how the library's new features worked.

College Park resident Pauline Thomas would have been the first person through the door, but she stepped aside to let two children go ahead of her: “Those boys have been up since 6am, they are so excited. They should have been offered a present when they came in. I wanted to be the first in but I gave them my place. This is their dream library,” she said.

Thomas said she had been using local libraries since the 1960s and was impressed with the new one: “It's a lovely library,” she said. “It's well laid out, it's light and airy, there is something for everyone and it's not so cramped. I would have liked there to have been a cafe too.”

More and more people gradually arrived at the library and by 10.15, there was already a queue of people at the desk waiting to take books out. A few people were being shown how to use the self-service computers but the traditional method was clearly the preferred option.

Frances Thompson was one of the visitors admiring the new library. “It does look very nice,” she said. “It's a very grand gesture and hopefully people won't abuse it. It's an improvement on the old library and I'd like to see more children use it. But one thing I don't like is that you can't borrow magazines – you can at other libraries. I'm not happy about that.”

The dedicated 'computer' area has only three machines but there are several more computers dotted around the building along with comfy chairs and study tables. The large study area upstairs, accessible by a staircase and lift, is equipped with computers, photocopiers and plenty of places to sit and work.

The spacious children's area downstairs, meanwhile, has a bright green floor and a colourful rug, four computers and a box of musical instruments for the children to play with. In the same area there are also men's and women's toilets, baby changing facilities and even a buggy park.

“The place is fantastic,” said Katya Orrell who was there with her two children aged 5 and 18 months. “But it's going to get quite noisy – they're going to have to put something down to dampen the sound. It's an improvement on the old library in that there is more space and it's cleaner but I don't think you have to be hi-tech to make people like books,” she said. “Gloss is fine but a library is about learning and it's the staff who make the place. I've been using local libraries forever and the staff are wonderful,” she added.

The library will be officially opened by the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham on September 14.

Yasmine Estaphanos

September 1, 2009

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