Historic Brentford Library grand re-opening

The modernisation project at Brentford Library has been completed as grand re-opening unveils the upgrades.

Published: Friday, 3rd September 2021

Image of Brentford Library being opened by Cllr Steve Curran and Cllr Samia Chaudhary

Brentford Library, a grade II listed building, was originally donated to the borough by 19th Century industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1903, has been upgraded to preserve another piece of Hounslow’s lost heritage, while ensuring the library meets the needs of modern residents.

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said: “Brentford Library has been at the heart of Brentford for over 100 years with the grounds also home for Brentford War Memorials and is where residents pay their respects on Remembrance Sunday.  The Carnegie built library is the focal point for many residents in Brentford particularly families with children.

“We all know how important libraries are to local communities. The Council has made a clear commitment to support our library service and demonstrated recently by bringing the service back into the Council. The Council also made a commitment to improve and refurbish libraries, and to upgrade IT and digital offer. This is especially important for young people who use the library for their school and college work as they may not have access to a computer and/or the internet at home or a quiet place to study. Not forgetting older people also use libraries as a meeting place and to access the internet.

“The refurbished library now has a lift, new office and training space, new computers, and a high-speed internet connection, all of which has transformed not only the building but the library services we can offer. Other services provided include access to adult learning.

“To encourage digital inclusion, the Council adopted its new Digital Strategy last year. Our plan is to make sure all our residents have basic digital skills, access to good broadband and the device they need to use online services.”

Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services also said: “The library is a vital part of the community and the amazing refurbishments will mean that it will continue to be a great space for residents to enjoy for many years to come.

“I would like to thank all of the staff who were involved in this transformation, it took longer to complete than we would have hoped because of the pandemic outbreak, but I’m sure it’s been well worth the wait. So, if you have the chance please pop along to say hello and see what the library now has to offer.”

The new library facilities include:

  • Two new adult education classrooms,
  • Refurbished adult and children’s library areas and furniture,
  • A lift,
  • A new roof lantern,
  • Private office space,
  • Refurbished toilet facilities,
  • New upgraded public computers.

To celebrate the grand reopening a new first floor exhibition has been curated which charts the history of the library and captures the restoration journey undertaken by the Council. One of over 2,500 Carnegie libraries donated across the world, Brentford Library was designed by architect Nowell Parr.

Parr was instrumental in the design of many Brentford buildings including Brentford Baths and the Old Fire Station, along with his work with Fullers Brewery designing many of their West London pubs. The free public exhibition will showcase the libraries origins with unseen documents and photographs. The exhibition will also track the extensive works undertaken by the Council since 2016 to repair the building, making it fit-for-purpose.

To ensure that all residents remain safe when visiting our libraries, hand sanitisation stations will remain in place throughout the building, public computer capacity has been reduced to allow for customers to socially distance, and there will be no newspapers or magazines available. Customers are encouraged to continue wearing a face covering to remain safe.

Residents will continue to have access to the Hounslow library service from the comfort of their home as the selection of e-books and e-magazines continues to expand, which saw a huge increase in popularity amongst resident during the pandemic. This will continue to be available online by visiting our website.

View all of the boroughs libraries opening times or browse the full catalogue here: https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/libraries

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