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Welcome to

Kensal Rise Library

Opened by Mark Twain in 1900. Closed by cuts in 2011. Re-opened by the community in 2019. Now operates independently of Brent Council. We depend on donations and volunteers to remain open.

Join the library

Join your community library - it belongs to all of us!
Complete the membership form online via the link, or during your next library visit.
Collect your card with proof of address and photo ID.
You can then borrow books and use the computers.

Join the library →

Latest News

Vote On May 2nd

Kensal Rise Library is serving the community on Thursday May 2nd 2024 as a Polling Station for the L...

Community • 24 April 2024

Excellence & Emotion

Starry Poetry, Prose & Song Night  A record-breaking audience of 200-plus saw award-winning...

Events • 19 March 2024

View more news and blog →

Our Catalogue

Explore our catalogue →

Our Story

This is the story of how a community rescued its library

We are community-run, serving Brent residents and visitors.
Our 4 Core Aims:
1. To promote literacy and lifelong learning
2. To provide free access to information
3. To support community health and well-being
4. To encourage engagement, creativity and the realisation of potential

The community re-opened Kensal Rise Library on September 27th 2019, eight years after Council closure - and exactly 119 years after the original opening by American writer, Mark Twain.

We campaigned against closure for years, even taking the Council to the High Court. The Council closed the library anyway, despite mass protest and national - and international! -media coverage.

We continued to fight to regain what had become a void building from the freeholder and developer. Against the odds, we eventually won back most of the ground floor, which otherwise would have been out of community hands forever.

We then raised hundreds of thousands of pounds from donations, fundraising events and grants to refurbish and equip what had become an empty shell - creating the beautiful public space Kensal Rise Community Library is today.
For more details of this extraordinary story, go to About Us/Our History or press orange box below.

Find out more about our remarkable history →

Get Involved

We need your help. We are dependent on donations and volunteers to keep going.


It costs £100 a day to run the library. Please help keep the library open.


Our volunteers are essential to keeping a library at the heart of our neighbourhood. They give their valuable time to provide free access to books and computers, assisting the Library Manager during shifts, at events and in many other capacities.

Volunteer →
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