More than 700 people enjoyed steel pans, African dance, giant bubbles, vegan cupcakes and face painting on Tuesday to celebrate the launch of the new library at the Catford Shopping Centre.
The Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, cut the giant red ribbon held up in front of the new library by the children of Rathfern Primary School Holiday Club.
He was joined by hundreds of local residents, Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East, Lewisham councillors and staff from across the council.
After the formal ribbon-cutting outside to mark the opening of the new library, the Mayor and residents were able to tour the new facilities at the seven-day a week library, which includes a new children’s section with homework space and digital access, resources to help residents find work and get online, and a new community space available to hire.
The mayor tested out the new Soundscape project, The Sonic Mind, by sound artist Gawain Hewitt.
Then the Mayor and Ms Daby were presented with their own copies of Green Lewisham, a new book by the author Candy Blackham, celebrating Lewisham’s award-winning parks and green spaces.
Across the UK, 800 libraries have been forced to close their doors for good since 2010.
Lewisham council has managed to keep all of its libraries open with the “invaluable help of local community groups”, making it the first council in the country to do so.
Mr Egan said: “It was great to see hundreds of people join us for the opening of our new library in Catford Shopping Centre.
“Our new library is open seven-days-a-week and there’s a lot going on, from children’s activities at the weekend to start-up work space for new businesses.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the launch and I’d like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make sure that we can open in time for the holidays”.