September Update

Kensal Rise Library on National Libraries DayHi Everyone,

Just so you know what is going on ……………

Library fundraising total has reached £78,439 in pledges!

The Friends of Kensal Rise Library set a pledge target of £70,000 for the first year’s running costs (including urgent repairs to the building) to give All Souls College confidence in our Bid proposal.


The Bid submission to All Souls was due on the 7th September allowing just 3 weeks to fundraise. Amazingly, we exceeded the target and have reached £78,439 to date! Pledges have been made from the local community, from across London, the UK, and the world. We would like to thank everyone who has made a pledge, in particular Daniels estate agents, who very generously gave £10,000.  Pledges are still gratefully received and very much needed.


What was in the Bid proposal to All Souls College?

The Friends have submitted a very detailed and fully costed Bid proposal to All Souls, via their agents, Cluttons. Our proposal sets out our vision for a community library and requests a long lease (with an initial rent free period to allow for the current state of the building), including an option to purchase in the first few years of the lease. It also explains how the Friends would run the library, and includes details of potential partnerships, as well as revenue and fundraising plans.


OUR VISION: To develop a library for the 21st century

Our Library has always been at the heart of Kensal Rise. We will preserve this great history & build an innovative institution of learning & culture.


A sample of potential partnerships:

  • Bilbary, an online book lending system (run by Tim Coates, former MD of Waterstones). Bilbary is running in the USA, and will operate through Kensal Rise Library when it is launched in the UK.
  • IntoUniversity, a charity that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds attain university places. IntoUniversity will rent space in the building if the Friends’ proposal is accepted by All Souls.
  • Eco Computer Systems, a social enterprise that reuses and recycles computer equipment. Eco Computer Systems will generate income for the library by the resale of computer equipment donated to the library.
  • Brent Artists Resource, a local art based organization. BAR will also rent space in the building for studio and exhibition areas if the Friends’ proposal is accepted by All Souls.


When do All Souls College, Oxford announce a decision?

All Souls are currently reviewing all of the Bid proposals submitted to them, and we hope to receive their decision by October or November this year.


Why did we have to Bid for the library building?

How did we get to this point, having to bid for a building that was council owned, paid for by our taxes, and given to us as a gift 112 years ago? Simple, Brent Council returned Kensal Rise Library to All Souls College, Oxford and in so doing denied the community a chance to use the building free of charge. Needless to say, this did not have to happen.


Before Brent returned the Kensal Rise Library to All Souls, the Friends put a proposal to Brent, offering to run the library at no cost to the council. All Souls advised Brent they were happy with this proposal, and asked Brent to reach an agreement with the Friends. Brent refused to work with the community, and, as a direct consequence, the Friends have been forced to bid for the building on the open market, along with all other interested parties, including businesses and developers.


What can I do to help?

There are lots of things that you can do to help Save Kensal Rise Library while we are waiting for a decision from All Souls:

  • Make a pledge:
  • Sign the petition to All Souls College:
  • Join our mailing list.
  • Join our Facebook group: Save Kensal Rise Library!
  • Follow us on Twitter: @SaveKRLibrary
  • Volunteer at the Kensal Rise Pop-Up Library


The Friends are also recruiting volunteers to help at Kensal Rise Library once we are in the building (fingers crossed!). We will need volunteers for a variety of library activities including: day-to-day running and staffing, IT support, homework clubs, community outreach, fundraising, and more.


If you can help, we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch with Paula with details of how you would like to assist:


Thank you to all those involved in getting the bid together, including our antipodean friend who despite being very busy found time to assess the document.




Margaret Bailey

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