25 June 2006

Improving reading and writing in Willesden Green

I am a little wary when anything proclaims to be ‘improved’. I remember when milky ways were edible and jammy dodgers were jammy. Monster munch similarly went the way of the wagon wheel – ruined by improvement.

So, imagine my trepidation when I heard that Willesden Green Library Centre
was to be improved. What with WGLC being my spiritual home and all. For a few months the library was shrunk and stuffed in a room upstairs and the whole centre was shrouded in scaffolding and plastic whilst men in hard hats beavered away making the fabled improvements.

Then, on the Centre re-opening I wandered down to have a look. And my goodness it looked lovely - all clean and white with bright windows. Much improved by the disappearance of pub/cesspit Gigi’s which has no doubt put several environmental health inspectors out of work.

A couple of weeks later I returned to the shiny centre armed with my library card to find that somewhere in the improvement half the library books had disappeared. Also, those that are there are not resting happily on the shelves in alphabetical order but are slung sulkily around the place as though languishing in an adolescent bedroom.

To be fair, they have improved some things - the DVD collection continues to be impressive though, with a large number of new films including the latest releases. And they aren’t taking up so much space with those nasty foreign art house films anymore. Also, in place of some of those pesky books they have put a section for teenagers to hang around playing video games and shouting. An arcade – in a library.

Now, not content with improving the library, they have decided that they will improve the Willesden Green Writers Group
by cutting its funding. Which stands to reason really – with no one reading any books anymore what’s the point in encouraging anyone to write one?

1 comment:

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