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Redbridge Central Library, Ilford

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by David Dragonetti (subscribe)
I love politics (I do realize that there aren't many people like me) and a history buff who also likes nothing better than watching a live comedy.
Published August 7th 2012
www2.redbridge.gov.uk


Giving a Botox job to a building is expensive, even out of a recession. When you're in a recession, it's simply not going to happen, especially if that building happens to be a public library. Square, austere and finished in a dark sandy rock finish that wouldn't look out of place in a Warsaw pact town square, there was little Redbridge Town Council could really do the exterior, other than tear the thing down and start again.

However the inside was a different matter and after an over three month absence a revamped Ilford Public Library has opened its doors once more. Walk in the door and gone is that table of books for sale that a prisoner in solitary confinement would prefer to ignore. No more the woman seated at reception with the permanent expression of someone who had lost a winning lottery ticket. Instead, where there was a reception space that was just that "a space" filled with clutter, there now is light.

A bright white paint scheme new vibrant seating for a small Italian style cafeteria are the first signs that it's all change for the better at Ilford. In the current fashion of open plan, as many doors as possible have been banished, making the library easier to navigate around and altogether more pleasing to the eye.

That said, perhaps a once far too open plan reference section, that being full of tables allowed students to boisterously shout from one end to the other, is now skillfully partitioned with book shelves. What's more the addition of an adult learning centre at the end of the library and indeed more, now uniformed, staff should mean the end of such excessive youthful merriment.

Either they've purchased a lot of new books or they have old books merely on improved displays. I'm not sure what it is but it looks good. Sections such as Fiction, History etc, now clearly labelled where before you wandered in a daze. No change for the staff though and those difficult customers. On the first day of opening, a woman was moaning about being finned. "No as I've said three times" replied the librarian "Only six pound of the fine is for when the library was closed. The other twenty pound of the fine was due because you didn't bring the book back when the library was still open!"
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Why? New-look Redbridge Central Library
Where: Redbridge Central Library (formerly Ilford Central library),
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