A Jewish Childhood in Brent – Zoom-based talk, on Thursday 28th January, 2.30pm-3.30pm

We would like to invite you to an online event with the library.  This is an illustrated talk from former local resident Louise Dryden who will tell us about her experiences as a Jewish child growing up in Brent and her family history.  Her talk will last about 45 minutes, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions about the talk. More information is on the poster below.

This is a Zoom event.  If you would like to participate then please email to prestoncommunitylibrary@gmail.com and we will send you a link.

A special video message from our Children’s Laureate, the children’s author Saman Shamsie

We are thrilled to present a special video message  from our Children’s Laureate, the children’s author Saman Shamsie,  recorded under lockdown at her home in Karachi.

Saman has been supporting our library campaign for the best part of eight years joining in Children’s Events on National Libraries Day and many other occasions. When the library was first started in  the office of Notary Public, Jackie Bunce-Linsell, Jackie  commissioned Saman to write a delightful short story for the children of the library , The Hurricane Fairy, which Saman reads here:

 The other two videos are short readings from her books:, The Adventures of Slothful Slough-Off

and The Magical Woods,  published by Oxford University Preface.


Saman’s ongoing work with the Library – The Creative Writing Challenge

In  2015 Saman, launched the Saman Shamsie Summer Creative Writing Challenge. 0pen to young writers between the ages of 4-14, this unique project asks entrants to create their own stories and make them into book form with covers designed to include key features of published books.

The stories are collected in tree volumes.  Sir Michael Morpurgo the distinguished children’s author, has written a Preface to the ‘Young Writers’ Anthology’ as it is called. The inaugural volume was launched and ‘published’ – placed on the Library shelves – by the children themselves.

To date, some sixty-five budding authors have received impressive Certificates from the hands of Ms Shamsie.

This year, Saman was unable to come to the UK from Pakistan where she teaches at Karachi Grammar School because of travel restrictions. She is extremely grateful that our local writer,  Hashi Mohamed, author of People Like Us,  has kindly agreed to present the Certificates  in her stead.

Carl Gabriel’s Art Work – Preston Community Library:19 Sep to 13 Dec

Below quote from https://www.brent2020.co.uk/site/assets/files/1015/brent_biennial_2020_leaflet_small_size.pdf

“New and existing work by artist Carl Gabriel is presented outside of Preston Community Library. Gabriels’ sculptures often depict the human form and have appeared on carnival floats and community processions across the country and internationally for decades.
His practice is anchored in carnival culture, and draws on its traditions and themes. In the wire structures he creates, he draws on the Caribbean tradition of wire-bending. Bamboo and wire frames are covered with layers of paper and PVA, and hand painted or sprayed.
For his presentation at Preston Road Library a series of these sculptures are displayed as static works, alongside a new off-site commission that has been developed in conversation with library staff. In addition, a presentation of photographs and paraphernalia from
the artists’ archive presented online and at the library chart the development of his ‘social sculpture’, and its relationship to community and identity.”



Exploring the stories, art and emotions that hold life in Brent together. London Borough of Culture 2020.


Dear Library members and supporters,


In light of recent UK Government advice that public venues should no longer be visited, we have made the difficult decision to close the library with immediate effect, for the time being. 

We have decided this with the health of our community in mind and apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause. We feel that this is the responsible approach to minimise the transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure the safety of all of our volunteers, visitors and members.

Be assured that we will continuously review the situation as it evolves and will post further updates as necessary through our mailings and social media. We ask that you bear with us during these unprecedented times and thank you for your ongoing loyalty and continuing support of the library.

We intend to resume our services as soon as possible.

Other Precautions 

If you have the virus, or have been in contact with someone who has the virus, then follow the link below:
NHS advicehttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

For Facebook and twitter, see: https://www.facebook.com/prestoncommunitylibrary/ and @PrestonLib  

with regards,

Linda Green
Preston Community Library

A Woman is a Woman – [Certificate 15] Film, Saturday 1st February, 2020 doors open at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start.

This Saturday, together with Queer East Film Festival and The Hidden Voice Film Festival, we are co-hosting a special screening of the Hong Kong transgender drama ‘A Woman is A Woman’, as part of LGBT+ History Month. This will be a ticketed event. Tickets will be free, but donations are requested.

Please book tickets using the link below:

Film website:  https://www.awomanisawoman.org/about

The film is widely considered as a landmark in Hong Kong cinema, for both it’s portrayal of transgender characters from Hong Kong and for being the first feature film production in the region where women occupy all of the key production roles.  The story follows two transwomen, one going through puberty and the other midway through her life, who both crave integration and acceptance in a hostile environment. The Film is in Cantonese with English and Chinese subtitles.

Author Julian Daizan Skinner reading from his book Rough Waking: Tuesday 17 September 2019 at Preston Community Library 7.30pm

Tuesday 17 September 2019 at Preston Community Library, 7.30pm

Please join us for an evening with Julian Daizan Skinner Roshi, the first Englishman to go to Japan and become a Zen master in the rigorous Rinzai tradition. He will be talking about and reading from his new book, Rough Waking.

Dazian is also the teacher of Samantha Warrington, Preston Community Library’s yoga and meditation teacher.

Rough Waking is a project to raise funds for and awareness of people who are homeless or in prison, and to provide them with yoga and meditation, under the motto:

These are the three elements to the book.

Prize-winning photographer and meditator, Laz, uses words and images and an intimate knowledge of homelessness to illustrate his path through brokenness to creativity.

Inspired by Zen Master Shinzan’s joke that Zen life combines prison and homelessness, “Autumn in the monastery and other poems,” by Julian Daizan Skinner depicts pains and joys arising through his three decades in the Zen world.

Zen artist Kazuaki Okazaki who, after 18 years incarceration on death row was executed last summer, contributes a sequence of images depicting a spiritual journey from lostness and wandering, through the intense confinement of Zen training, and then onwards into a new homelessness – a vastly expanded realm of liberation and service.

The whole book underscores the Zen emphasis on direct confrontation with reality and how for all of us that alone leads to liberation. 

Please join us for this unique event.

For further information, please contact Samantha Warrington on

07801 697712

By Kazuaki Obazaki; numbered limited edition shikishi card print
Julian Daizan Skinner Roshi


Invitation to Local Artists to Produce Art Work for the Library

For the Brent London Borough of Culture 2020, the Council is commissioning local artists to work with each of the libraries.  This includes the four community libraries.  More information, including the brief for Preston Community Library, is on the LBOC website. Go to  https://www.lboc2020.com/opportunities, then look at column headed Museum of All Brent Life: call out for artists and click on link to download the brief. The closing date for submissions is Friday 12th July at noon.

October 30: 6.30pm. Elisa Segrave talks about her book ‘The Girl from Station X’

October 30: 6.30pm at Preston community library, Elisa Segrave talks about her book ‘The Girl from Station X’ – a moving story of a hidden life about her mother, among the first women to enlist, who worked throughout WW2 at Bletchley Park and elsewhere.

Elisa Segrave event

Film Saturday 21st April

‘Winstanley’ our second Kevin Brownlow film shown on April 21st. Oscar and BAFTA winning director addressed us last week for screening of ‘It Happened Here’. Tonight we were entertained by celebrated Leon Rosselson (Children’s author and songwriter) and Introduction by Historian Professor Ann Hughes (co-editor of Winstanley’s writings.)

Film: It Happened Here Certificate PG Saturday 14th April- Doors open at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start.

This week’s film is a drama exploring how British people would have responded if the Germans had invaded the UK in World War Two. The Director, Kevin Brownlow, is coming along to introduce the film.

Films free to members [join at the door], but donations are requested to finance future films.