Community Fights Closure of Mark Twain’s Library


Kensal Rise Library, a public library in London, was founded by author Mark Twain in 1900. The library has served as a resource for nearby schools and the reading community, but the doors have been locked for more than a year due to budget cuts. When municipal workers arrived on Wednesday to clear the remaining books from the shelves, community members blocked the doors so that they would be unable to enter.

“This library could be lost to everyone and could be turned into flats or knocked down — we don’t know,” said Jodi Gramigni, who joined the protest in hopes of saving the library (USA Today).

Kensal Rise Library is one of six libraries closed because of the 50% budget cuts. Council members voted to close the libraries in order to divert remaining funds into a library in a civic center that receives more visitors. For now, volunteers have established “a small free-loan library outside to distribute books to the community” (MSNBC).

Local author Maggie Gee wrote an essay about Kensal Rise Library in support of keeping it open, which describes the benefits the library brings to the community and a history of how Mark Twain came to establish it. To those who want to preserve Mark Twain’s library, she says:

The Library was the culmination of a big attempt to improve a very poor area in the last decade of the century, as housing became denser… Kensal Rise Public Reading Rooms made newspapers, and later books, available for everyone to read.

Come along and enjoy the Library — it belongs to all of us. If you’re on Facebook, join our “Save Kensal Rise Library” Facebook group. Mark Twain said, “Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly so often.”

Take Action: Sign the petition to save the library!


Related Stories:

ACLU Sues Library for Blocking Native American and Wiccan Websites

Library Usage Up as Cities Slash Budgets

Is a Library Without Books Still a Library?



Photo credit: CCAC North Library


alicia m.
alicia m5 years ago

i posted a news about that cause, it gets 11 notes, enough said1

Rin S.
Rin S5 years ago

How tragic would it be if it were to be closed? This shouldn't happen.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

please leave it open!

Anna K.
Anna K5 years ago

A petition to save the Kensal Rise library is now live! Sign it here:

Anna K.
Anna K5 years ago

A petition to save the Kensal Rise library is now live! Sign it here:

John B.
John B5 years ago

Keep it open. Where is the petition to save the library here on Care2, or is there one yet? Thanks for the article Anne.

Hello G.
Hello G5 years ago

How can that be acceptable? So sad!

Jennifer P.
Jennifer P5 years ago

It's sad that library budget cuts are forcing closures (Holy 50%, Batman!) but could they save this historical library, cut a more recently built library, and rent that space out/convert it?

Herbert E.
Herbert E5 years ago

Is not Mark Twain's library also American Heritage ? Is that not worth saving ?

Carl Oerke
Carl O5 years ago

It is very sad that a library founded by author Mark Twain was one of the casualties in the budget crisis and austerity measures in London. It is sadder still because the library supports a poor and underprivileged community. Books allow readers to learn, develope and escape to new places and experiences. They enrich our lives. It was President Thomas Jefferson who wrote "I cannot live without books." I whole heartedly concur.