LIBRARY RE-OPENED: (left to right) Acting Jamaican High Commissioner Diedre Mills, Councillor Bernice Vanier; Mayor of Haringey, Councillor Ali Gul Ozbek; and MP David Lammy
A ROUND 60 children from Welbourne Primary School joined Haringey Council deputy leader Bernice Vanier, acting Jamaican High Commissioner Diedre Mills, Tottenham MP David Lammy and local poet Abe Gibson to officially re-open the £3 million Marcus Garvey Library.
The new-look library was launched following six months of closure for the renovation to take place.
The council spent £3 million on refurbishing the facility which now includes 22,000 new books, modern furniture, and quiet study spaces for young people.
The library, originally opened in 1987, was named after the Jamaican visionary, Pan-Africanist and national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
The foundation stone for the library was laid by his son, Marcus Garvey Junior, at 1 Philip Lane, to commemorate the centenary of his birth.
As part of the upgrade the library now boasts a dedicated Afro Caribbean and Marcus Garvey section which they hope to continue to develop and expand.
“At a time when many councils around the country are closing their libraries I am incredibly proud that Haringey has kept our nine libraries open despite a 40 per cent cut in government funding,” said Haringey Council deputy leader Bernice Vanier.
“Our £3million refurbishment of Marcus Garvey will give residents a brand new library space, new books and the latest computers to learn online skills.
“It shows Tottenham is on the up with cutting edge arts and culture, world class sports and leisure, new jobs and new homes, as well as a strong community and a very proud history,” she added.
LET’S CELEBRATE: Young readers at the new look Marcus Garvey Library
Customer service facilities have been introduced on the second-floor with an enquiry desk, payment machines for services such as parking permits and staff on hand to answer questions.
Acting Jamaican High Commissioner, Diedre Mills, who was the special guest at the event, said she was pleased that at a time when similar institutions are facing closure, the library that bears the name of Jamaica’s first National Hero, has been improved and expanded.
“I am pleased, because the library has the name of a very special and important Jamaican.
“He charted a course that inspired many people of colour. He taught us how we can continue to uplift each other,” Mills said.
Councillor Vanier explained how the council had prioritised saving the library but more importantly responding to the changing needs of the community.
“As one is aware, the use of libraries has changed and in order to effect sustainability we have got to change the way we use our libraries hence our customer services upstairs reflects 21st Century fashions.”
Commenting on the symbolism of Garvey the black history hero whose legacy is captured in the library Vanier said: “I think it has a huge significance in terms of establishing the impact that people from the Caribbean have had within the borough. As you know Haringey is a borough of diversity.
“We have a new and emerging communities now so it’s part of a learning experience for our new residents to learn about the people that came before and in terms of having a Marcus Garvey library, it actually points to some of the struggles that people of colour have had over the years and the huge impact that Marcus Garvey had in his time and continues to have today.”