About Preston Community Library

Of the community – for the community

Our aim is to provide a local public library service, together with a wide range of social, cultural and educational activities, in a secular community space which is open to all. Preston Community Library is run entirely by volunteers.

The Friends of Preston Library formed in 2011, in response to Brent Council’s planned closure of Preston Library and five other Brent libraries. A group of individuals who did not know each other were quickly united in our opposition to the closures. The group successfully campaigned to raise funds to challenge the legality of the closures in the High Court and subsequently in the Court of Appeal, but Brent closed all six libraries – including Preston Library – in October 2011.

A huge, and hugely impressive, campaign against the closures continued for several years, and in 2015 we reopened as Preston Community Library – a library and community space run entirely by volunteers, and funded almost entirely by donations.

In addition to a full library service for adults and children, we have hosted a wide range of cultural events and activities, including yoga, Arabic, Italian, ESOL, IT and art classes, story time for under-fives, a knitting group, a chess club and our community cinema. We have run events in partnership with organisations including Brent Council, Central and NW London Health Trust, Film London, Librarian Theatre, LOCO London Comedy Film Festival, Preston Park Primary School and University College London. Guest speakers have included Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Brownlow and Women’s Prize-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie.

In 2019 Preston Community Library was shortlisted for The Bookseller magazine’s Library of the Year Award and was ‘highly commended’. The judges recognised ‘the commitment and hard work shown by volunteers who keep a form of library provision in their community against the odds.’

The library currently operates from temporary premises in Ashley Gardens, while the original library site is being redeveloped. We hope to move back into the new library in Carlton Avenue East in the spring of 2023.

We are here for everyone!