Wealdstone Library – or the Wealdstone Centre – is more than just books, newspapers and computers. The library, among its shelves and shelves of great reads, is a hub of history, friendship and community. Varsha Patel spoke to Joshua Cartwright, library supervisor at the Wealdstone Centre for the past seven years, about his favourite memories of the library, what he’s reading at the moment, as well as the theme of the Summer 2019 Reading Challenge.
Highlights – both regular and famous faces!
Joshua notes that his favourite thing about working at the library is the ‘helpful impact’ he can have in people’s lives: ‘My favourite thing about working at the library is the opportunity to provide information and resources to people to help them progress in whatever they are doing.
‘It feels good to have a helpful impact in someone’s life. I do enjoy seeing regular faces and I think it’s good that the community is able to get to know us as a friendly resource. After seven years of working as the library supervisor, one of Joshua’s favourite memories includes meeting a ‘childhood hero’: There’s been a lot of good memories but my favourite was meeting Floella Benjamin, a childhood hero who used to present playschool on BBC TV. She came to give a talk at Black History month a few years ago and I got to spend some time talking to her. That was awesome.’
Location, location, location
Wealdstone Library was not always in the Wealdstone Centre. The library started off on Grant Road, before being demolished to create flats. However, it was swiftly relocated to the Wealdstone Centre on the high street, among the hustle and bustle of local shops, beauty salons and coffee shops. So what’s the best thing about this move to the Wealdstone Centre? Joshua says the new location makes it what it is: ‘We’re very centrally based in the high-street and next to the Red Brick cafe so people can wander in, read a book, and get some good food afterwards.’
Favourite books and current reads
Joshua let us know that his favourite book is ‘God Emperor of Dune’ by Frank Herbert. ‘It’s about an immortal ruler who seems to be a dictator but is actually trying to save humanity from itself.’ And as for what Joshua is reading now? That’s ‘The Art of Decision Making’ by Joseph Bikart.
The 2019 Reading Challenge – a space theme!
Harrow Council’s reading challenge is an annual summer reading event which is enjoyable for both kids and parents, full of games, great books and even a medal at the very end. Joshua highly recommends that children sign up: ‘First, most parents don’t want their kids sitting in front of the tv for six weeks. The reading challenge is a chance to get out to the library, pick some great books and get rewards for all the reading they do. Everybody wins and the kids get a medal at the end. Second, it’s a Space theme! Who doesn’t like Spaceships. We have some great activities like Build a Space Shuttle and Create an Alien Face mask!’
So once you’re in the well-located library, what is on offer for the public? Joshua highlights a ‘diverse range of activities’ and events for all ages: ‘We often have activities for children and adults so pop in and look at the What’s On Guide. We have an excellent rhyme-time for under five’s. All Harrow libraries now have thousands of e-books and audio books online and we can show people how to use it. I’d advise people to come in and get the What’s On Guide so they can see what’s happening at all Harrow libraries.’
By Varsha Patel.