Internationally renowned author Nick Hornby visited Dalston last Tuesday to mark the opening of Hackney’s first new library for 20 years.
As libraries around the country face closure because of government cuts, the state-of-the-art CLR James Library on Dalston Square was officially opened on 28 February.
The event was attended by hundreds of residents and council officials, including shadow health minister and Hackney MP Diane Abbott.
Special guest Nick Hornby, author of best-selling novels About a Boy and High Fidelity, told the crowd: “A new library in 2012 is a miracle. It is unbelievable that we have managed to do this here when everyone else is closing theirs.”
Twice the size of the library it has replaced, the building houses 30,000 books as well as historic documents dating back to 1356, the oldest being a bundle of property records.
The project has taken five years to complete and cost more than £4m.
Opening the library, mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: “Libraries are at the very heart of their communities and in difficult times I think it’s more important than ever to remember exactly what kind of society we want to build.”
33 public libraries were closed across the UK last year and the professional body of librarians, CILIP, estimates that a further 600 are under threat.