Category Archives: News


Kensal Rise Library News 

When will the library open? We are already open for Story Time (with songs) for under fives on Fridays at 10am, author events, Zumba classes Thursdays at 10am, the Kensal Rise Choir Wednesdays at 7.15pm, and Councillors’ surgeries on the first Saturday of each month, 11am to 12 noon. We plan to open as a library in the coming months and hope to set a definite opening date soon. We are working hard on final preparations towards opening including fundraising for the Children’s Library, book cataloguing, a reception desk, and computer and IT system setup.

Study Space Sundays for students! During the summer exam period we are running Study Space Sundays at Kensal Rise Library from 10am to 6pm on 26th May, 2nd June and 9th June (free of charge). Use our beautiful and peaceful space to help you collect your thoughts and focus on your revision. Free wifi. Open to students only, please bring student ID or similar.

Forthcoming author events include Lady Antonia Fraser in conversation with Nick Rankin on Wednesday 5th June at 7.30pm, Ayisha Malik on Tuesday 9th July at 7.30pm and James Swallow on Saturday 21st September at 3pm. Please come along. Tickets on the door and Eventbrite.

 Children’s Library Appeal We need to raise about £11,000 to create the Children’s Library. We are sending a team to the Blenheim Palace triathlon on 2nd June 2019, please support them! Donate online at

James Denselow ran the London Marathon for the Children’s Library Appeal on 28th April 2019 with an impressive time of 3 hours 38 minutes, a personal best. He has raised over £2,000 and you can still support him at where you can also see an illustration of the proposed Children’s Library.

Book donations Thank you for your amazing response to our book donations week in April. We are building up a fantastic selection of books. We are in the process of cataloguing and shelving donations. We have limited shelf space but anything not suitable for stock is being sold via Betterworld Books to raise funds for the library or passed on to another charity or literacy projects.

How can I help? We would love you to get involved in whatever way you can. We need volunteers for our IT team to help with IT support and administration when the library is open. We will provide training. Some experience with IT admin would be useful but enthusiasm is an acceptable alternative! The Operations Group meets on the second Thursday of the month at 7.30pm in the library, please come along to find out more, all welcome. We also have a Books Committee. We will need a regular team of volunteers to run the library when it opens. Contact us via to offer help if you can. We are also looking for new trustees for the Friends, the charity that runs the library. We particularly need more trustees with skills in IT, finance and events management. If you are interested please contact Margaret Bailey, chair of trustees, for an initial discussion, via

 Who owns the library and how is it funded? The Friends of Kensal Rise Library run the library and have a 999 year rent free lease of the library space, so long as it remains a library. Our immediate landlord is All Souls College, Oxford, who originally gave the land for the library in around 1900. There are residential long leaseholders in other parts of the building. The library is funded by grants and community fundraising. It will cost about £100 per day to keep the doors open. You can donate online via our website:

Why did the library close? The library was formerly run by Brent Council and was closed by them in 2011 despite overwhelming opposition, locally and beyond. In recent years Brent Council’s Library Service have been supporting us with training and advice and we will be moving to their Library Management System later in the year. We have received some grants from the council though we do not receive any regular or guaranteed public funding.

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Blue: a memoir – John Sutherland.

Tuesday 7 May 7.30pm in Kensal Rise Library

FKRL Blue John Sutherland Sep 2018

John Sutherland is the author of Sunday Times bestseller, Blue: A Memoir: Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces

“A stark account of a talented police officer’s breakdown…a startlingly honest book ” – The Times.

John rose quickly to become Borough Commander in Southwark, having commanded armed sieges, saved lives and removed dangerous people from the streets. But in 2013, after a career of being at the centre of catastrophes, John suffered a breakdown.

The book asks some pertinent questions about what society expects of its police, and the human toll that takes. It invites us to think more deeply of what we ask of our police.

Audience Q&A, book-signing, refreshments and bar.

Tickets £5 Eventbrite and on the door:

FKRL John Sutherland Mar 2019 (2)

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Maggie Gee talks ‘Blood’ – 3pm April 13

Join distinguished, award-winning author Maggie Gee in a discussion of her new novel, “Blood”. 

13th April 3pm at Kensal Rise Library.

Tickets £4 on Eventbrite: and at C&D Food & Wine College Rd NW10.

“…violent, sardonic, funny and fierce … written with style and dash, without pity, without fear.” Hilary Mantel

Audience Q&A, book signing, refreshments.

FKRL Maggie Gee website Apr 2019

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Kensal Rise Children’s Library


FKRL Children's Library Marathon Jan 2019Queens Park Councillor, James Denselow, is running the London Marathon for our Children’s Library Appeal. We are so grateful for his amazing effort!

Update: He has already raised over £1000 and now he has raised his target to £1,500!

James says: “After everything the library campaigners have gone through in the last few years, it’s brilliant to be able to help them. Theirs really has been a marathon campaign; I’ll just be running for a few hours.”

FKRL 2 James Denselow Marathon Jan 2019 cropped
Please support – even £1 will help- on James’s My Donate page:

We are so much closer to becoming fully operational. Everyone’s waited so long and so much work has been put in to saving our library and creating a beautiful space. Now’s the time to help us finish the final plans by clicking on the link.

(Images: artist’s impression of children’s library at Kensal Rise and Cllr Denselow running for charity)

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Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Author’s Talk Saturday 9 February 3pm

Like detective novels, urban fantasy, mystery, comics, wizards?

We will be hosting a talk in the library with Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London Series) and Andrew Cartmel (Vinyl Detective Series).

Ben Aaronovitch wrote for Doctor Who, before becoming a novelist. His best-selling Rivers of London novels (over a million sold) follow Peter Grant, a Met constable and apprentice wizard, as he solves crimes across London in a blend of urban fantasy, mystery thriller and comedy caper. The latest in the series, ‘Lies Sleeping’, has just been published.

FKRL Ben Aaronovitch Feb 2019

Andrew Cartmel’s history as a comic writer led to a collaboration on several graphic novel spin-offs of Ben’s bestselling Rivers of London series. Andrew has also written his hugely successful Vinyl Detective series and has been script editor for Dr Who. Andrew is currently writing a stage play. He has also written extensively on how to become a script editor and television writer.

FKRL Andrew Cartmel Feb 2019

Question & Answer Session. Book Signing & Refreshments

Tickets Eventbrite:

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December 2018 Update

FKRL Wreath Joanna Marshall Dec 2018

Building and Works
We are continuing to work hard towards opening as a lending library. We are already open for venue hire and have hosted parties, meetings, workshops yoga classes and community activities like local councillors’ surgeries. If you would like to book one of our beautiful rooms please email:
When we first got the building’s keys the space was little more than a building site. Today, after a lot of hard work, it looks stunning. However, we still have to build a children’s library, reception area, shelves and back office. Plus we have found damp in the smaller of the public rooms. So we have had to take up the floor there and are in discussions with the landlord and our insurer. We do not know currently, how long this will take to resolve.
It’s frustrating, but so much has been achieved already by the community to create a beautiful public space – and, soon, a lending library – at the heart of the neighbourhood. We have to raise money for everything we build and install inside the library space. We get no regular public funding from the Council or Government. To help us get there sooner, please donate on our BT MY Donate page:
Activities have been wide-ranging, from a Christmas Market attracting 460 visitors and stallholders (including the Mayhew Animal Home), to a Community Culture Concert featuring local talent of all ages and an opportunity to discuss our ‘Year of Culture’ artwork, and a Literary Wine-Tasting. These eclectic events have in common a wonderful, joyous community spirit, as people get together to actively engage with one another in their public space.
Forthcoming events include on Saturday February 9th at 3pm: a joint authors’ talk by novelists Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel. Both have written for Dr Who, as well their Rivers of London series. The event is a must for fans of crime fiction, London  and Dr Who.
Other plans
  1. We are hoping to start Story Time/Rhyme Time sessions in the New Year, aimed at the under-5s. It will be run by two local childminders and Kensal Green Under Fives Community Nursery.
  2. We are also hoping to offer local students free quiet study space for homework, as we wait for our building works to be completed.
If you would like to volunteer to help with library operations and events, please email:
Thank you to Joanna Marshall for the beautiful wreath for the library door.
All good wishes for the festive season and we look forward to seeing you all in the library in 2019.
Margaret and Stephanie

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Wine Tasting Extraordinaire!

In the  library Sunday 9 December 7.30-10 pm.

Alex Canneti from Berkmann Wines curates and  hosts a pre-Christmas literary wine-tasting.  With readings by Peter Stafford-Bow, Author, Consultant and Minstrel of Wine, from his latest humorous novel, Brut Force – the further staggering adventures of a professional wine buyer.

Drinks, laughs. and a Question and Answer session, sober or not.


FKRL Wine tasting Dec 2018

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What makes our community unique?

2020 Brent Year of Culture

In the library on  Sat Nov 3rd  2018 we discussed our contribution to the 2020 Brent Year of Culture. 

The Community shared their thoughts as to what makes the neighbourhood unique. What is our sense of ourselves and place? What is our history? Where do we come from?

How do we express that and how do we record it?

Entertainment was provided by local talent, including children from Trinity Performing Arts, Molly Moody (Queens Park Singers), Jon Scott (jazz and blues singer), Dimitri Van Zwanenberg (violinist)  and others.

Refreshments provided by the wonderful volunteers of Kensal Rise Library.

Photos: Audience, Violinist and Harpists, Allen Samuels

FKRL Culture 2020 audience Nov 2018

FKRL Trinity dance Nov 3 2018 group

FKRL 2 F violinists Nov 3 2018 croppedFKRL Violin at 2020 Culture Nov 2018 croppedFKRL Molly Moody Nov 3 2018FKRL Jon Scott Nov 2018


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Brent 2020 Year of Culture

2pm Saturday November 3 in the library.

As part of the Brent 2020 Year of Culture, we will be discussing ways to celebrate the library and the community with funds provided by the London Mayor.

Join in the discussion about how we should record and express our story.

Everyone welcome!

There will be music, refreshments and a book sale.

FKRL 2020 Culture Oct 2018

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When Will Kensal Rise Library Open?

FKRL Library door Sep 2018 A SamuelsIt’s what everyone’s been asking.
Simple question. Slightly more complicated answer.

The beautifully refurbished space has been open since May, in fact, for venue hire (parties, workshops), community activities such as Kensal Green Councillors’ monthly surgeries and residents’ association meetings (next Kensal Green RA meeting is Tuesday October 30th) – and of course,the Friends of Kensal Rise Library’s fabulous fundraising events like our Indoor Markets, Actors’ Nights, Trend Forecasting Fashion Events, Wine-Tasting etc.

It gets more complicated trying to estimate when the lending library will be fully operational and open at regular hours. At the moment, the closest we can come to a realistic answer is: ‘before Christmas’.

Here’s why:

1. We have found damp under the floor, particularly in the smaller space (the meeting and teaching room). We are monitoring this, have replaced our lovingly restored parquet with a temporary floor, and are in discussions with the developer/landlord, Uplift.

2. A few snagging issues left over from the Phase 1 refurbishment  still need sorting. We are in talks with the builder.

3. Shelves that have been delivered need to be altered and we are in discussions with the supplier and our architect.

4. We are hoping very soon to build the children’s library and the reception/retail areas in the larger space. To help fund this build and open the library sooner, please, please donate via this link:

Other news

Following interviews, the trustees have appointed a Library Manager. As well as the above issues, the Library Manager is also handling administrative matters and fundraising.

Diary Date: Saturday November 3rd at 2pm Year of Culture Public Engagement. Come to the library! Along with all other Brent libraries,  we are to receive £10,000 to create a lasting piece of art celebrating the library and the stories of the community surrounding it. This is part of the Year of Culture 2020, which the London Mayor has awarded Brent Council. We have exciting ideas for this – you may have your own. Please come to the library to hear all about it, tell us your thoughts and register your interest in getting involved. Other attractions include  a book sale, entertainment and free refreshments.

…So there’s been plenty of stuff to deal with.  Meanwhile, thank you very much for your patience and continuing support.

Stephanie Schonfield

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