Hackney’s £4m new library will blow your mind
With more than 32,000 books, CDs, and DVDs to choose from, the first library to be built in Hackney, London, in the past 20 years has something for everyone. Bigger, better and modern, Dalston C.L.R. Library opened on January 23, and has it all.
The library contains a children’s library, an adult library, a quick picks area and a study area spread throughout three floors. The quick picks area will offer a fast, easy way for patrons on the run to look up best-sellers and popular books and check them out through a self-service system.
In addition to the children’s and adult libraries, Dalston will also hold the Hackney archives, providing public access to unique historical documents. Although it hasn’t opened as of Tuesday, January 24, the library will also offer a café for people to fully enjoy the free Wi-Fi of the library over a cup of tea.
Being one of the largest libraries in London – nearly twice the size of the library that it’s replacing – Dalston has the potential to become a community hub for the people of Hackney. The atmosphere is a combination of a typical library with a very metropolitan twist. The glass windows that line the entire walls and spiral staircase through the center of the building, provides for a touch of modern architecture, which highlights the new direction that the Hackney Council hopes to move in.
“The Council is committed to ensuring that in Hackney we continue to improve our libraries for the benefit of all residents,” said Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture Cllr Jonathan McShane in the Council press release for the library.
With a £3.956 million budget, the library designed by Earle Architects is intended to be a benefit to the Hackney area. Those ambitions are echoed in the fact that the library was designed to be very easily accessible, with two lifts and a staircase that offers plenty of mobility between floors. The separate children’s and adult libraries are colour coded to ensure ease of navigation and the high demand for study space has been answered with 20 dedicated study spaces and two meeting rooms. In addition to Wi-Fi, the library offers 57 computers for free usage throughout the building.
The library’s long hours are also a new and exciting feature making Dalston special. The library is open from 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm on Saturday and 1pm-5pm on Sunday.
Overground stop: Dalston Junction Rail
Photos: Dominic French