New Dalston CLR James to open its doors this month

The view from outside - Dalston CLR Library

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.

Staircase inside Dalston CLR James Library

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 The full archives service, providing access to the unique historical documents in the archives, will open soon after the new library.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 or contact 0208 356 3000.



About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


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