Sunday, 8 January 2012

Deptford Lounge review

With the new library in the Deptford Lounge having been open just four days, I've already clocked up two visits, two coffees, a couple of biscuits, four books and a tour of the building.

You could say I'm pretty sold on it.

Now steady on, I still have massive reservations about that bloody cladding and how it will age, but the great thing about being in the library is that a) the cladding doesn't come down that far so the frame which supports it is not visible at the ground floor and b) the huge ground floor library is a rather nice space!


So what is it for? as someone plaintively tweeted the other day? Lounging, that's what! Reading, surfing the internet, meeting friends, checking out the papers, drinking coffee, working on your laptop, entertaining your kids...etc etc.

With the lounge planned to open from 7am, seven days a week, and until 10pm every weekday, I am very excited at the prospect that this facility could bring some life back to the high street. It's not a bar or restaurant where you have to spend money in order to hang out, it is free and open to all.


At the front of the library, which extends the full length of the ground floor, are a few comfy chairs and small sofas with little coffee tables, and a dozen or so tables and chairs for eating/reading at. A small cafe counter (which sadly is only open during the day at the moment) is tucked into the side of the space, serving hot and cold drinks (a good quality coffee I can confirm) biscuits and cakes, as well as sandwiches and salads which looked rather tasty.

There is a large childrens library at the back of the room, which was running alive with boisterous youngsters when I visited on Saturday because of an event, but deserted when I was there on Thursday evening.

In between the cafe area and the childrens library are shelves of shiny new books - fiction and non-fiction, DVDs, CDs (aside from one Tinchy Stryder CD most of the music did seem to have been chosen by someone of my age or older :-/) audio books, graphic novels and so on. Tables and chairs for studying are dotted in between, with a few study booths sectioned off at the back of the adults library. Pick your time carefully if you are coming here to study; it's right next to the childrens' library and might not offer suitable conditions on weekends!


There's a large computer suite off to the rear side of the library, with 20 or so computers (including half a dozen Apple Macs - yay!) which are available for booking via the computer terminal in the main room.

Lots of activities are planned - storytelling and reading sessions for children, a reading group (starting 7 February) advice for the over-60s, computer skills for adults, job search advice and even world cinema screenings on Thursday nights. I'd like to see more adult education classes too, given that the building has numerous meeting rooms which would be ideal for this. Clearly the council's current programme was set up before the opening date of the Lounge was finalised, but it would be great to see more classes being held here next year.

More tables and chairs may be necessary for the cafe area of the library if it is to succeed - as people start to discover the place I can imagine the cafe getting quite busy and the limited seating might restrict its success.

Upstairs are meeting rooms, a 'jamming suite' (I believe that's music not preserves), a large hall which overlooks the square, and of course a ball court on the roof.

If you want to have a look around, tours of the building are available 11am Tuesdays
6pm Thursdays and 2pm Sundays - contact the Deptford Lounge direct to book.

Phone 0208 314 7264/65
Facebook

Please feel free to add your comments and feedback below!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you really mean the 7th November as a start date for the reading group? That seems an awefully long way off? If it is to be till then does anyone know of a reading group currently running as I would love to join one?

Deptford dame said...

Oops sorry, that should be February! Well spotted, I've now corrected it.

Anonymouse said...

Day One in the Deptford Lounge..Saw the first confrontation between staff and one of the High Streets Drinkers... They looked a bit shocked but the security herded him back out into the cold promptly and coffee and cup cake consumption was swiftly resumed. Loving the new younger staff on the front desk... especially the girl who has perfected the leaning as far away from you as possible and ignoring you until she absolutely HAS to while looking like she really didnt want to be there... Its GREAT...LOVE it!

SamB_UK said...

I shall be joining the reading group on 7th February, so hope to you there, Anonymous :)

Is That A Cupcake In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me? said...

Anonymouse: Maybe you 'loving the new younger staff' put the new girl off going near you?

Walrus said...

I actually like the outside, though I can understand people worrying about how it will age. The inside I'm not so sure about. Vinyl flooring is all very well as far as wear and tear is concerned, but in the children's area?? I can see the baby bounce being a whole lot of fun...
And who, exactly, decided that so many meeting rooms were needed? As far as I can make out, most of the meeting rooms in the Albany are empty most of the time. Surely better uses could have been found for all that space?
Best thing about the whole place, though, has to be a room full of spanking new Macs - hurrah!! Don't tell everyone, though...

1497pysky said...

good to see that someone likes the design so we didn all slave away for nothing....

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty happy with the whole thing... the school playground is fantastic. I even like the gold cladding because the building seems to be its own woman. I might, however, be a good deal less keen if I lived opposite it on Griffin Street what with the glare and all.

Anonymouse said...

Isthatacupcake: I like em bigger hairier and older than that LOL She has NOTHING to fear.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you like a bit of modernism Deptford Dame. Going by all your previous blogs it looks like you've converted. There is now hope :)

Anonymous said...

I live in the isle of dogs and head down to Deptford to use the Wavelengths Leisure swim lanes as they are the best free ones around this area - was stunned to see the Deptford Lounge as had not been since early Nov last year - it looks great.

The high street really has potential and the population seems pretty young so seeing a bit of money applied tothe area is a very good thing. Particularly liked the graphic novels section being very visible from the outside - someone has clearly put some thought into their target audience.

If this kind of project is representative of the kind of things we're going to see in Deptford then I'm pretty optimistic about its future

Anonymous said...

Hi Deptford Dame, please check your email - please remove the mobile number from this blog - it is the wrong one! Correct contact number is now on Facebook.

Many thanks.

Deptford dame said...

Thanks I've now corrected this to the number on the facebook page. Didn't get any emails tho..

Anonymous said...

I have been using the lounge and it's a nice space. Seems odd to have a library open without any librarians on duty. I was quite annoyed to have completed a rather long letter to find that I couldn't actually print it because all the staff had gone home. There wasn't any warning about this. Also on a couple of occasions it has been quite hard to find a member of staff when they are on duty. Still it's early days I suppose and maybe they are waiting for more staff to be employed. At least the poor people who have to live on the streets have somewhere to go from 7am to 10pm. Well done Lewisham Council for thinking of that. All you have to do is provide them with somewhere decent to live at night time now.

Anonymous said...

I have a fundamental question about the Lounge: is it supposed to have a library function or not? I have been trying to study there for the past few weeks and it is *so* loud that concentration is virtually impossible. The space is given over to loud conversations between staff and visitors, children running around, mobile phone conversations, and the library's own very shrill phone strategically located right in the middle of the space.

The previous library had a suitably hushed aspect in which you could lose yourself in reading matter. The Deptford Lounge entirely precludes this. If it is supposed to be a library, that means it is failing in its function, and Deptford has now lost a vital facility.

Others around me, trying to study, have been rolling their eyes too, and several of us have already complained to the staff. Nothing is being done. But watch this space.

Brett said...

I finally visited and had mixed feelings. I applaud what it does for Deptford and the community benefit, but I also feel that it is trying to be too many things and not succeeding at any.

The library is woefully understocked and disorganised. The facilities to browse the catalogue were broken during my visit. The place is noisy and I could not imagine studying here.

The coffee was great and it was good to have a 'lounge' area. I sadly didn't get to see the ball court.

The flooring felt cheap and hard wearing ready for lots of use and lack of funds to maintain it.

In contrast, the new Canada Water library is just a library and a culture space and it succeeds very well at that as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

I look forward to seeing how it progresses, but living between the two libraries, I will opt for Canada Water in preference.

Aceh said...

RIP Deptford Library. Even with earplugs in place, I cannot concentrate on my work in this ridiculous "Lounge".