The Joy of Painting and other hard work

The last post on here (before the latest lockdown) was about painting preparations. Well, painting work is well underway now, and in fact almost finished. The dust sheets are still up, but if you peer in you can just about make out what’s going on. Joe, Gerry and Alan, with help from other volunteers, have been beavering away in two-hour shifts, broken up by two-hour intervals. The intervals allow for airing the space out between volunteers. Because they’ve been working alone, it’s been a lonely task, but at least they’ve not spent their time chatting, eh? Gotta look on the bright side. Huge thanks to all of them.

Here’s what one volunteer (Joe Keating, pictured), said about why he volunteered.

“I volunteered for painting to support the important library project.  It feels good to play a small part in this long-term voluntary effort.  Those involved in the planning, fundraising and monitoring of the building process have given enormous amounts of time, work, expertise and persistence over several years.  They deserve every assistance in completing the library for our community.”

Thanks also go to the generous donation of quality paint obtained for us by supporter Ellen Alsbrooks. This is truly a community effort and the library is very much a joint effort. It will be lovely to see all contributors in the library when we finally open later this year.

As well as the painting work, Alan is also now working on a solution to affix all of the shelves to the walls, and to build our movable shelving. Once this is completed, we’ll be able to restart book cataloguing, as far as Covid regulations permit. Once the stock is catalogued, it will be sorted and shelved. We’ll be making calls to the book stock team in due course for volunteers for these tasks.

Meanwhile, the background preparations are also ongoing. There are volunteer handbooks and policies to write, instruction manuals and training programmes to finalise, an intranet to be built, and many, many more tasks. So far this year we’ve clocked up an impressive 113 hours of volunteering time between us.

Hiring the Library Spaces

We hope you’re having a good summer and enjoying the weather, and particularly the park – how lucky we are to have Gladstone Park to escape to.

Despite all that, we’ve got our Back to School hats on and are thinking about the opening of the library, which, despite nasty Covid-19, draws ever nearer. We’re aiming for September. With that in mind, we’d like to update you on our plans.

The three library spaces (main library space, activity room and meeting room) will all eventually be available for hire, but we’ll be starting with the activity room at the back of the building.

We are working on our health and safety policy which will outline the measures we will take to ensure that staff, volunteers, facilitators and users are safe. This will include cleaning between activities, providing handwashing stations and hand sanitisers, use of PPE and social distancing.  We will also be following Brent Libraries’ guidelines on track and trace.


We’d like to hear from you if you have any ideas about using the space for a limited number of people for your activities. You may also want to offer activities via Zoom or even a combination, for example, recording your activity as it takes place. We can support you with using Zoom if you’re not already familiar with it.


The rate will depend on which space you would like to use and the number of participants you expect to have. Please contact Annie if you would like to discuss this. We look forward to hearing from you.

Paint the Library

We’re painting the library on Saturday 1 February, starting at 1000. We’re looking for anyone who’d like to help to get in touch.

If you can bring your own materials, fantastic – but some will be provided. Just wear comfortable old clothes.

We’ll provide tea, coffee and biscuits, and there will be a few laughs along the way.

To sign up, please send your full name, postcode and mobile number by email to info@cricklewoodlibrary.org,uk and say you want to volunteer for painting duty. If you think you’re ever likely to do a shift in the library when it’s open, please also say so.

We are especially keen to hear from people who have experience of leading teams on physical activities like this – you’ll need humour, tact, patience and a firm demeanour! Please get in touch!

If you can’t paint, but would like to contribute, we have a wish list over at Amazon. Even if you’re not an Amazon fan, you can view the items there and buy from somewhere else, we don’t mind.

Finishing Work Has Started!

We are so happy to announce that the building contractors are on site NOW to start the work of turning the empty shell at Chronicle Heights into a functioning library. Sally Long, Chair of Friends of Cricklewood Library, handed over the keys today, with work anticipated to take four months. With luck and a following wind, we hope to have a finished library some time before the end of the year.

Now is the time to think about how you might light to get involved. Some of you have already volunteered for painting duties, and we’ll be coming back to you as soon as we have a date for that to start. Others have said they’d like to put their names down for a shift running the library. And some of you have said you’d like to volunteer to run a course at the library when it’s up and running. We’re seriously compiling a list of all volunteers now, and will be calling for you to register your availability on our volunteering management platform. There will be more on this in a future newsletter.

The Lease is Signed

It’s officially the end of the beginning. We’ve agreed the terms of, and signed the lease with All Souls College. Now the work on fitting out the library that you’ve all been waiting for for so long can finally begin.

Work will begin on site week beginning 24 June, and is scheduled to take four months. We’d love to be open by Christmas, but for this we’re going to need your help.

We have an Amazon wishlist – can you help us out by buying us something we need? You can find our wishlist here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201503180

While you’re shopping on Amazon, don’t forget to shop using smile.amazon.co.uk and choose us as your charity.

If you’re excited at this news, and want to get involved, please volunteer on our website. We’re always looking for more hands on deck.

Road Modifications Outside Library

Have you noticed the road narrowing outside the library? They’ve been at it for a few weeks, and, according to the lone chap working there last Monday, he’ll be at it for another 8 weeks to finish it off. I’m not surprised, if he’s doing it all on his lonesome. It will make a substantial difference to the library surroundings and access to the park will be much easier for pedestrians. No more whizzing round the corner at top speed, motorists!

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