Crofton Park Library
The Psychedelic Snowstorm Settles on Crofton Park Library
An Indian looking woman sits on a chair near the computers waiting for her daughter to finish whatever it is she is doing on the internet. She stares at the carpet in a happy trance. I interrupt the trance to talk to her about the library, but she doesn’t understand and points out the library desk. I try to get a bit of conversation out of her but her nervous smiles shows she feels uncomfortable – it didn’t help that I didn’t have a clipboard or pen and had been sitting in her vicinity for the last five minutes reading a newspaper.
Indian woman waiting for her daughter to finish off using computer

I meet a small slender African lady in her mid-twenties delving into the romantic fiction section in the far corner of the library. She has her son in a push chair next to her. She reads one book a week – gets it from the library on a Saturday afternoon - and does most of her reading during her daily commute to Finsbury Park in north London. She is currently reading The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill – a novel about one mother’s attempts to keep up with yummy mummies. I wonder if she knows any yummy mummies – I can’t imagine an African yummy mummy.
African mummy – slummy or yummy


Photographs of Crofton Park Library covering the first seventy years of its life only ever show the library serving its indigenous white English population. Today the white working class populace is still well represented in the faces of Crofton Park Library users. A number of elderly white people have been using the library for decades, some for as long as fifty years.

However things have changed. In the last half-century, the world has been picked up and shaken like a giant snowstorm. Thanks to the British government’s open door policy to immigration, many of those that have been thrown into the air have settled down in the UK, and some in the suburb of Brockley. The faces of library users remind us of this, and in particular that the Caribbean community arrived in the UK in the 1960s. More recent arrivals from Africa, India and Eastern Europe can also be seen wandering around the quiet environ.


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