Name of new Dalston CLR James Library confirmed

Campaigners triumph as council backs down

The name of the new library in Dalston has been announced following an embarassing U-turn by town hall bosses.

Hackney Council confirmed yesterday (October 19) that the �4.4million library being built to replace the CLR James Library will retain the name of the Afro-Trinidadian writer and theorist Cyril Lionel Robert James, after thousands joined a campaign.

The council originally wanted to drop the name but was forced to back down when about 3,000 people signed a petition in opposition, organised by the borough’s Black & Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA).

The new library, set to open next spring, will be called Dalston C.L.R James Library and Hackney Archives.

The announcement follows consultation with Hackney’s Library Users’ Consultative Forum and the Friends of Hackney Archives.

Councillor Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for community services, said: “I’m delighted to announce that the new library and archives will be called Dalston C.L.R James Library and Hackney Archives. This will ensure current and future generations can continue to learn about this fascinating and influential figure, who not only has local appeal, but also massive global appeal.”

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And BEMA chairman Ngoma Bishop, who started the campaign, said: “With this outcome much confidence has been restored in Hackney Council, who having listened to the voice of the thousands of people locally, nationally and throughout the world, agreed to the campaign’s demand.”

The new library will include a permanent exhibition about the life and works of C.L.R James. An annual event in his memory will also be held.