The Deptford Lounge opens

Odd that the brain could function on its own, without acquainting him with its purposes, its reasons. But the brain was an organ, like the spleen, heart, kidneys. And they went about their private activities. So why not the brain?
- Philip K Dick, The Man Who Japed

Deptford's dramatic new public library, the Deptford Lounge, is open. It will be formally opened to the public next month, but for now, the ground floor library is open from 7am-10pm weekdays and 7am-7pm on weekends.

We took a look around this morning. Even at 9.30am, with very little publicity, it was being well-used. The layout of the library provides nicely for quiet reading, internet research and informal meetings. While calm, it is also flooded with life and light, so that we could easily imagine ourselves spending hours there, in the way we don't with many other local libraries. A small cafe area at the front will add extra incentive to stick around.

It doesn't house a huge number of books, but the range on offer was decent and the racks allow the librarians to do a bit of curation - there were lots of self-help guides prominently displayed and at least one librarian is very keen for us all to try Philip K Dick. The children's section was great and furnished with some reading pods and they have an impressive collection of graphic novels.

It's accessible via the handsome new Giffin Square, which is nearing completion and which will become a new focal point for Deptford, drawing more people towards the glittering library. When fully operational, it will offer, according to the Crossfields blog: A hall, studio space, meeting rooms, a ball court, a jamming suite, a food technology suite, and a dining hall and kitchen that lead out onto a generous roof terrace.

The facilities are shared with Tidemill School and will be available for hire at times when the school is not using them. 

Bigger, better buildings, properly equipped, open at convenient times and shared with a local school to make sure they are fully used - this is how public services should be designed. Inspirational, aspirational and striving to surpass our Victorian heritage, rather than allow public facilities to ossify. Deptford's renaissance continues.

Click here to read the Crossfields report or here to join their Facebook group.