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The long awaited opening of Hackney’s new library is almost over. When The Dalston CLR James library opens its doors on 23 January, not only will it be the first new Council library to be built in Hackney in over 20 years, it will be one of the largest public libraries in the UK.
There will be over 32,000 items in the new library and younger readers will have over 9,500 books to choose from and over 17,000 for adults. People also have a choice of over 1600 free CDs and DVDs and over 200 talking books, study materials and online reference sources.
Because of a strong demand for study space and computers by library users, 20 dedicated study spaces have been created along with 2 meeting rooms.
In total there will be 57 computers to use for free. 10 in the children’s section; 10 in the adults section; 22 in the study area; 3 in the Teen Zone, 2 in Quick Picks section and 10 laptops for use the meeting rooms. The library, like all other Hackney libraries has free wi-fi throughout.
By popular demand from Hackney library users, Dalston CLR library will have a cafe, which will be managed by local café owner Gurkan Bozdere, and is set to open shortly after the library.
Contrary to earlier reports the café will not be a Starbucks franchise, although it will serve Starbucks Coffee. Bozdere who with his father runs the Sömine Restaurant in Kingsland High Street, won the contract from Hackney Council last year. Speaking to a local blogger, Bozdere said he was not aware of local supplier Climpson and Sons who are based in Broadway Market, before he made his decision on the supplier.
Hackney Archives, is currently moving its collections, including over 20,000 historic photographs, original records of Hackney Council and other local organisations, and what are thought to be the oldest documents in the collections, a bundle of property records relating to land in different parts of London, dating back to 1356, to their new home. In the meantime the searchroom will open on 23 January, along with the rest of the library, to provide access to some of the local studies collections, including microfilm copies of the Hackney Gazette from 1869, maps, digitised copies of photographs and local history publications. The full archives service, providing access to the unique historical documents in the archives, will open soon after the new library.
The opening has also been long awaited by campaigners who fought hard to retain the name of the late CLR James, a Trinidadian historian, journalist and social theorist, whom the old library was named for.
The brand new Dalston C.L.R. James Library will open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturday and 1pm-5pm on Sunday.
Library opening times are changing across the borough from 23 January at all Hackney Libraries. To find out more about Hackney Council’s libraries and the new opening times visit www.hackney.gov.uk/libraries or contact 0208 356 3000.