Celebrations for the new Dalston C.L.R James Library reach Fever pitch

RENOWNED author Nick Hornby joined 100’s of people on Tuesday 28 February, to celebrate the official opening of Hackney Council s new, Dalston C.L.R James Library.

People packed into the state of the art library, one of the biggest to open in the UK this year, to celebrate the boroughs new community facility. Over 1200 people visited throughout the official opening day, and since it s opening in January the library has had around 4000 visitors a week.

Nick Hornby, who also signed copies of his book said: “I’m happy to be here. I was keen to come along to this completely amazing event - the opening of Dalston C.L.R James Library. I wouldn’t be the author that I am if it wasn’t for the library. I went every Saturday morning and started reading books at a young age –it changed my life”

Unveiling the new plaque in the library, Mayor Pipe said: “The opening of Dalston C.L.R James Library is a cause for celebration, especially during these more difficult times. This fantastic facility is the most recent example of the Council’s commitment to libraries. Libraries are the very heart of our community whether you want to borrow a book, use computers, study space or just meet friends.”

Sam Weinstein, son of the author, historian and political theorist C.L.R James in whose honour the library is named, and the Black and Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA) also joined the celebration. John Hegley kept the crowd entertained with poems and interactive song. Nick Hornby and Mayor Pipe also presented the winners of the ‘I Love Dalston C.L.R James Library because…’ competition – a simple question to young people using the library which yielded some eloquent responses.

Nine year old Samuel Tadese won an Ipod for his entry. He said “I like it because I used to hate reading and now I come here and I love it.” Second place went to eleven year old Milo Rothchild-Davies and in joint third eleven year old Nikita Kaur and nine year old Dijon Hughes, they received book vouchers.

Events are continuing this week (until Saturday 3 March 2012) during the ‘Make a noise for libraries’ gala week. More information at: or, from Dalston C.L.R James Library, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ.

And, everyone who visits the library and borrows an item will be entered into a draw to win one of two, £50 WH Smith vouchers. Winners will be chosen at random by Horrid Henry and announced on Saturday 3rd March.

Dalston C.L.R. James Library is open Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm, Saturdays 9am-5pm and 1-5pm on Sundays. It’s one of the largest public libraries to open recently and it’s twice the size of the one it replaces. Spread over three floors, the super library covers 2600 square metres and features separate adult, teen and children sections, 57 computers, study space, wi-fi and self-service technology and it holds events and reading groups.

It’s really easy to join Hackney Libraries, just visit a local library or fill in the online form. Find out more at; or; call 020 8356 3000.

Hackney Archives is now open, and the collections are being moved to their new home. In the meantime there are still plenty of resources in the new Search Room on the second floor, including maps, local studies books, copies of historical newspapers on microfilm and the photograph database, containing over 15,000 old photos and paintings of Hackney. The full archives service, providing access to the unique historical documents in the archives, will be available shortly

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Make a noise for libraries gala week events

Thursday 1 March

Celebrate World Book Day,–

4 – 5pm in the Children s library

Family Story telling session with performance storyteller Nell Phoenix

Age 4 years and up. No booking required, just turn up

Creative Writing with Maggie Hamand

5.15 - 6.45pm in the Education room

Join local author Maggie Hamand for a hands on workshop. Do you write? Would you like to get published?

Come along, bring some of your work and share experiences with like minded people

Adults only. No booking required, just turn up.

Desert Island Books

7.30-10pm in the Education room

To celebrate World Book Night, we ask some of our favourite authors which books they would take if they were stranded on a desert island and why. From childhood classics to guilty pleasures, from grisly murders to epic love stories, we find out which books our famous guests couldn’t live without. A full list of guests will be revealed soon, so make sure you book your place well in advance. To do this contact Adrian on 020 8356 2574 or email

Light refreshments available.

Friday 2 March

Celebrating C. L. R. James (1901 – 1989)

From 5pm

Launch of permanent exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of Cyril Lionel Robert James (C.L.R. James) by his widow Selma James and Black and Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA). C.L.R. James (1901-1989) was a historian, playwright, novelist, activist, cultural critic, sports writer and social theorist whose work greatly influenced ideas and political movements for independence in the West Indies and Africa.

Free film screening of ‘Fire in Babylon’

Screenings: 2.30pm and 7pm in the Education room

A documentary film about the world-beating, highly successful West Indies Cricket Team of the 1970s and 1980s.C.L. R. James, after whom the library is named, is well known as a writer on cricket amongst his other accomplishments, especially the book ‘Beyond a Boundary’—recognised as one of the best books ever written on the sport.

A Revolver ™ release © 2011

Booking required contact Adrian on 020 8356 2574 or email Light refreshments available.

Saturday 3 March

Make a noise for libraries family event

11am – 12.30 in the Children s library

Horrid stories and games with author and storyteller Sandra Agard. Bring along a Horrid Henry book and get it signed by Horrid Henry himself.

Bang the drum; make a noise: Family Steel Band Workshops.

No booking required, just turn up.

Between 2.30 – 4.30pm in the Children s library

Celebrate the opening of the new Dalston CLR James Library with the Newham Steel Band. Learn about the history of the steel band, plus have a go at playing the steel pans and enjoy a short performance by the Newham steel Band.

Age 5 years upwards

No booking required, just turn up.