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St Paul’s Cray Library Refurbishment delights the community!

St Paul’s Cray Library is one of the smaller libraries in the London Borough of Bromley, as its size of the library was limited by the availability of building materials in post war Britain. Apart from the addition of a small foyer area, the library building remained much the same from the 1950’s until this summer when a major refurbishment programme took place, designed to provide a building which brings together the Library and Bromley’s Community Support Service which offers a range of learning and advice services for residents.

The library is now a bright and airy space, and the building is now much more environmentally friendly, with double glazed windows and energy efficient heating and lighting systems. The interior has been opened to provide a more flexible space: much of the furniture is mobile and can be moved easily to allow events which attract large numbers of people to be held there. There are other private rooms which can be used for confidential discussions with clients, together with an acoustic booth for private phone and zoom calls.

Residents were absolutely delighted with the new colour scheme and with the new facilities. The redesign has made space for more books than before – and there are extra PCs too. Customers old and young really liked the children’s library, designed to represent the river Cray which brought industry and prosperity to the area: there is even a play boat, sailing up the river.

A local resident, Jerry Dowlen, has written a poem about the library which was read at the launch event: it describes so well the pride that local people have in their library, at the heart of St Paul’s Cray.

“ St Paul’s Cray has terrific news today:
The Library is bigger now – hooray!
Post-war shortage of wood and bricks
Abridged the build in 1956.
Unfinished then, till 2023,
Lined up for the Cray community;
Servicing the public, all for free:
Clubs and hubs and Google looks;
Reader groups discussing books;
And now with the extra space inside
Your library shines with local pride.”

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