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Jonathan Ross officially opens Hampstead Garden Suburb Community Library
Broadcaster and television personality Jonathan Ross was on hand to officially open a new library this morning.
The chat show host cut the ribbon adorning the front of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Community Library in Hill Rise, marking a new era for the facility which had been earmarked for closure last year.
Barnet Council announced in June 2011 that it would close two libraries due to funding cuts, but the Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association successfully saved it with a petition attracting 2,500 signatures.
Mr Ross, who has lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb for the past six years, told the crowd he was “thrilled to be able to be here.”
He added: "It’s such a beautiful little building and it’s so heartening to see everyone gathered today to celebrate it.
“Libraries are about so much more than just books.
"They’re much more important – they provide a place for the community to gather. It’s vital that we support them."
Mr Ross, whose father also lived in the area in the 1950s, said he is hugely supportive of the community and wanted to continue helping the library.
He added that he will soon be providing it with several DVDs from his own personal collection.
After cutting the ribbon, Mr Ross said: “This is a lovely place to live, and we’re really lucky to have such a sense of community. This is proof that people power can work."
Barnet Council has agreed to provide the library with sufficient annual funds, as well as new furniture, books, and computers.
Backed by 45 volunteers, the library reopened within days of its official closure in April this year.
One volunteer, Ruth Beedle, has been using the library for 60 years.
She said: “It’s so important to support local libraries like this. What’s been so lovely is that everyone, young or old, has come together for the sake of the community.”
Ms Beedle added that attendance at the toddlers singing group has doubled and a story time for children has been introduced. There are now also plans for an adult book club.
Garden Suburb Councillor John Marshall said: "I’m delighted that the council listened to the community. I look forward to many more years of it serving the local people."
A host of community activities were planned throughout the day to celebrate the library's opening, including a performance from a children's singing group.