Mayor of Hackney visits local library celebrating 10th anniversary

Mayor Philip Glanville (left) and Labour councillor Guy Nicholas (right) Pic: Hackney Council

A Hackney library celebrated its 10 year anniversary earlier this week with the mayor reaffirming his commitment not to close down libraries because of budget constraints. 

CLR James Library in Dalston was named in honour of Trinidadian author, historian and social theorist Cyril Lionel Robert James who was an inspiration to the mayor at the time of its opening in 2012, Jules Pipe.

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, who attended the celebration, said: “The Council was rightly proud of the fact that whilst libraries up and down the country were closing, Hackney was continuing to invest in the service, and opening a brand new state of the art library. Ten years later, our commitment to Hackney’s libraries is as strong as ever.” 

Glanville added: “My visit today was a great opportunity to reflect on all of this, and to publicly renew the commitment to our Libraries that saw this project delivered in 2012. Our Hackney Libraries have a great future, and I am looking forward to sharing our plans for them with local people later this year.” 

Outside of CLR James Library Pic: Creative Commons

At the time of its launch, CLR James Library was the first new library built in Hackney in over two decades due to council cutbacks at the time. 

Pipe, who was Hackney mayor from 2002-2016, said at the opening: “Libraries are about so much more than simply lending books, as incredibly valuable and important as that is. Libraries are at the very hearts of their communities. In difficult times, I think it’s more important than ever we remember exactly the kind of society we want to build.” 

He continued by highlighting what the Trinidadian author meant to him: 

“[C.L.R. James] was somebody who made a difference to me when I was younger because my first book was about sport, and I wanted to try and write a book about sport that wasn’t stupid.  

“He was somebody who taught me you could write about sport intelligently. That sport could tell you a lot about class and politics and culture and tradition.”  

At the celebration earlier this week, Mayor Glanville also talked about recent and ongoing improvements to the borough’s libraries in Hackney: “As one of the only councils in the country to have kept all its libraries open after more than a decade of austerity, we have recently refurbished Clapton and Shoreditch libraries, and have started a programme of work to repair and refurbish Stoke Newington Library.”  

The council is currently making investment plans for Stamford Hill and Homerton libraries while also exploring options for a new library and community hub at Woodberry Down.  

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