Refurbishment work beigns at Clapton Library

Building work has now started on Clapton Library, which is to be refurbished and expanded thanks to a major restoration project that will return the Grade II listed building to its former glory and create more room for improved facilities.

As part of a number of significant investments in libraries across the borough by Hackney Council, Clapton Library temporarily closed at the end of November 2008. It will reopen in spring 2010, 30 per cent bigger in size with space for many added and improved services and resources.

The work to restore and extend the library on Northwold Road has gained planning permission which has now been confirmed by English Heritage. The library was handed over to the contractors in January and the refurbishment is expected to be completed in December.

When completed, the refurbished and expanded library will not only meet the highest environmental standards but it will have enhanced facilities and dedicated areas for all ages. The new extension will include a wheelchair accessible entrance and a lift providing improved access for all.

Councillor Nargis Khan, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The delivery of the refurbished building will greatly enhance Hackney libraries service and the facilities available to local people. Thank you to the users for their support and patience while the work is being carried out.”

During restoration of Clapton Library, users are being asked to take advantage of the other seven libraries open across the borough to access services and resources.

Also, Hackney libraries continue to provide a home delivery service for those who find it difficult to visit a library because of limited mobility. For more information about this service contact the Community Library Service on 020 8356 5238 or visit the Council’s website

Much of the library’s existing stock, including the Council’s Islamic collection, has been transferred to Homerton Library for the duration of the works.

Some of Clapton’s surplus stock, which was no longer required by Hackney, was donated to the Public Library on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. When the library reopens, there will be more books and DVDs than before, many of which will be brand new.

The library’s stock disposal has also unearthed some unexpected discoveries. A book by H G Wells, The Bulpington of Blup, which was checked out of the library on 1 September 1939 - the date of the invasion of Poland, marking the start of World War II in Europe - was not returned until the summer of 1999, some sixty years later. This may well be a record for the return of an overdue library book.