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Cricklewood Community Library Centre

The new library centre will occupy the ground floor of a mixed development block built where the old Cricklewood Library stood, at the end of Olive Road, opposite Gladstone Park. The centre will be completely volunteer run (see the Volunteer and Donate pages if you want to contribute or get involved), and will provide an innovative, mixed use community hub, providing adult and children’s library facilities, a centre of activity for everyone in the community which offers a wide a range of services.

The vision is to re-establish a welcoming space for our diverse local community, which provides a centre for learning, reading and other literary experiences. The library will have room for children’s play groups and homework clubs and other activities. Other services will include access to online courses, IT development, pre-employment training and of course the space will provide a base for local groups.

Friends of Cricklewood Library have fought long and hard to keep this local library, and the Friends will coordinate the set-up and running of the library. The Friends will continue to work alongside local community groups and Brent library services to develop a program to meet the needs of local people.

Proposals for the premises
The Library will offer a part-time community library service, staffed by a team of volunteers, working in pairs. There will be a schedule of activities including book lending, reader development, children’s and craft group meetings. When not in use as a library, the premises will be used for other activities, such as community group meetings.

Private and Community use
The Library premises will be available for private hire. The Library has three spaces, all of which have independent access: [include a plan of the space]
1. The main library space to the front of the building, suited for large meetings
2. An office style space, suited for small meetings and small group learning
3. To the rear is another large room, which can be used for larger learning groups, fitness and children’s activities

The key principle is that FOCL will use both proven and innovative strategies through planned development to generate revenue streams in order to provide targeted library services, and an adaptable and diverse approach to address local needs to make the library centre a vibrant community hub.
We aim to be an innovative, mixed use community hub which will include adult and children’s library facilities, which will also deliver a range of services and function as a centre of activity for all the community.

The vision is to re-establish a secular meeting place for the diverse local community which can provide book loans and other literary experiences for children including homework clubs, and to develop services further to include IT training, pre-employment training, local history centre, space for local groups to use and a community cafe where people can meet.

Friends of Cricklewood Library will function as the body that will take over the library, working closely with Brent library services, with local community groups and charities. In particular working with the experienced and successful Ashford Place as mentor. FOCL will also work following the model of established social enterprise Eco Computer Systems (ECS), which has a strong track record of generating sustainable income diverse approaches, such as digital inclusion training and successfully running community libraries in the London Borough of Lewisham, as well as with Locality and community library pioneer Jim Brooks of Little Chalfont Library.

FOCL is a charity that has grown out of a voluntary body made up of local residents and concerned people. The core of the original committee remain as Trustees of the charity, and are joined by individuals with valuable additional skills and experience, including publishing, business management, fund raising, IT, social enterprise and campaigning.

The Friends vision for creating a cultural space for the community matches one of the approaches recommended in ‘Local Solutions for Future Local Library Services‘ p. 10, for empowering local delivery of such services by transferring assets and management “to an existing established community development trust, voluntary body or social enterprise which has the necessary skills and experience and is readily able to take on new services.”

The key principle underlying this proposal is that FOCL, will use both proven and innovative strategies through planned development to generate revenue streams in order to provide targeted library services, and an adaptable and diverse approach to address local needs to make the library centre a vibrant community hub.
FOCL is aware that for this venture to succeed we need to capitalise on the assets and skills of local organisations as well as members of the community. To this end an extensive programme of consultation and partnership building activity has already begun.

FOCL is proud to have Michael Norton OBE as Patron, and to be able to benefit from his experience in both business and innovation in social enterprise, in addition to the value of advisors Helen Marcus and Ken Livingston. Ben Bailey Smith has also joined us as an inspirational advocate for Brent libraries and Cricklewood Library in particular.

Proposals for the premises

The intention is to provide a part-time community library service which will be staffed by one part-time paid manager together with a number of volunteers. There will be a schedule of reader development activities. When not in use as a library, the premises will be used for other activities.
Whilst access to the internet is a corner stone of the National Curriculum, many families in the area are either not online, do not have sufficient computer equipment or space for applied learning using the internet. Cricklewood Library will provide internet access for users, via PCs available for use and via wifi for those who can access it via laptop, tablet, mobile etc.

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