The People




IMG_0141Magnolia Rose 

Library Services Adviser

I’ve been here for nearly six years. I was transferred from the central library (Wood Green). I’ve been with Haringey libraries for 13 years [in total]. I work mainly with children and before I was transferred here I worked with the youth at Wood Green. I really enjoyed working with the youth. There were a lot of projects to do and [the youth] need to be encouraged to do things. When they are into the project, they really love it. To engage them, you have to do the hard work and bring them into the library. Our goal is [for them] to read, to get something out of the books and for that we have to do a lot of activities: crafts, invite authors, computer games and anything related to the books.

When the job came up at Stroud Green, it was a completely different job. Although we work with adults it was just different. The readers here and the children are different in this area. Here you don’t have to do a lot of work with them, you have to see the library [from] a different perspective and [encourage children] to read more and [read] different types of books.

My journey started with the adults and then with the children’s library. I saw it [as] an opportunity for me to grow my experience with books and loving books even more, and to get the children into [books]. I think I enjoyed the central library a lot because it’s harder. Harder to tell the parents to get their children to read and for them to read to them. Reading is such a special moment between parent and child. The more they read, the more capable they [are] but not everyone has the time, there are [different] circumstances – financial – or simply because the families are not engaged. But the lovely thing is, I managed to [make them] realise [at the central library] that it’s good to come. It’s a safe environment and they can chat away with all their friends and at the same time, take a book and read it.

I love my job. I love working with the parents. Here it’s different because you have closer relations with the parents because the parents come with the children. And they rely on you to take the child to the books. When they come in, they always look for us. While in other, bigger libraries, you expect the children to tell you ‘I want this book’. Here it’s more of a personal relationship with the child and the parents.

There’s been a lot of changes here and we do have less time to interact with children. But we are [still] lucky here, we [do not] have to completely abandon the family and the children. Libraries are going towards customer services and we have to do both. But it’s still a library, here, as it should be. It is our duty to encourage people to use the Haringey facilities but on the whole, most of the [people] are here because they want to use the library, and I love it. I am really passionate about my job.

Magnolia runs activities for families and free language lessons at Stroud Green Library. 





Carl Mercer 

You have to use your discretion as to how loud you speak in the library because sometimes you can be unaware! When you get into a conversation, the voice level can become intensified! I’m 73 years old. I’ve only been using this library for about three weeks because I have just moved into the area. It’s a beautiful environment, it’s peaceful. I love nature so I love all the greenery. When you look out of the window you’re seeing trees! I love it. I usually use the library for the computers. I come and browse through a couple of my favourite newspapers. The books I read are at home. I have a large variety of books indoors [but] if there’s anything I need I come and have a look.

I have always used the Wood Green Library or Coombes Croft Library in Tottenham. I find it useful because I have made friends by going to the library. I also meet some of my friends that I have known for years at the library.  And I’ve got to know the staff. I’m a people’s person. If I leave home to go shopping in Wood Green, my son will say ‘I’ll expect to see you a week today,’ because he knows I get stopped all the time.




IMG_0212Molly Courtney

I live in the local area and I use the library about once a week. I use the library mainly for the computers because I can’t get internet access at home so it helps a lot when looking for jobs. Sometimes I use it for the books if I need to find something to read. I’ve been coming here on and off since I was about 15, I’m 20. I grew up in the area. From what I can remember the library has stayed the same. The kids’ area has changed a bit and layout has changed a bit but apart from that, it’s always been the same friendly atmosphere. I like that the most. It’s not cold. It’s a nice welcoming atmosphere and professional. It’s kid-friendly and parents can come and leave their kids in the corner without having to worry about them. I sometimes use the one near Crouch End. My friends use the library because it’s a place to get downtime without having to worry about anything.


The Brothers 




Alaadine Mosterfaoui

I am 18 and I live down in Green Lanes. I use the library for revision, on the way home from college. I’ve been using the library since I was a kid. We used to come here on school trips. I went to South Harringay School. I started off using the kids’ area and moved onto the higher books. It hasn’t really changed, I’ve just moved around. I see quite a few of the same people around here. My friends use the library. Not specifically this one but the use it. They use St. Ann’s Library and Wood Green Library. I prefer this one because it’s smaller and you can have group revision sessions as well, and it’s not as loud as other libraries. I think I’ll be coming here while I’m in uni, maybe to do projects.





Oussama Mosterfaoui

Sometimes I just come here to sort out paperwork, anything that needs to be done really – research, looking for jobs, anything. I’ve been coming here from a really young age. I went to the local primary school down the road and I’m now 21. I think the way I use the library has changed. As we progress, I think I’m using it more and more. Before [I was] coming for a Goosebumps book and [I would] read it at home. Now I come here to do a lot of things in general and not just revision. I don’t think the library has changed much. It’s a local library so a lot of the locals bring their kids. We used to go to the little section with the [small] chairs. I think there’s a good amount of books in this one and if there’s anything missing they can always order it in for you. I think that really helps because I wouldn’t have to travel far. They make it easy for us and accessible. I think it will stay around and I will use it in the same way in the future. Sometimes there’s a lot going on at home and you just want a little bit of time to yourself to do work.






Amy Morson

I live in Haringey and I’ve been working here since 2015. My sisters had jobs working at [the various] Haringey libraries and I also like books. I thought it would be really quiet and get to read books all day but I have to work all day. It’s different to what I thought. I am 25 and a casual member of staff so I work as and when. If someone is sick, they’ll call me.

I used to get books out a lot and I still do so I guess my relationship with the library has stayed the same. But there has been a lot of changes, especially at Marcus Garvey Library. Wood Green is [now] for Customer Service and Marcus Garvey is [new], silver and high-tech. No more books.

Most people want to join and so I help them join. Give them a card. Most people know what they’re looking for so they go and get it and I issue it out. I enjoy my job. I hope libraries are here forever and I wouldn’t mind having this job forever. It’s just easy, not easy like that, but you know, books. I prefer books to Kindle and I don’t want to be out of a job. Books have always been around. I am used to libraries being there and if they’re gone, I don’t know what I’ll do.





Bob Traore

I live in Haringey. The library is good. I use it often to print out my stuff and other projects. It [makes me] efficient. I normally use the library. I sometimes go to the one in Edmonton or I come here. I’ve been using it for 10 years maybe. The Tottenham Green one [Marcus Garvey Library] has been refurbished. They are doing a lot of changes there and bringing in a lot of technology. Especially for payments. I like the changes. I think changes are very good for the libraries.





Nel Olsen

I have been coming to this library since I moved into the neighbourhood when my eldest was three, he’s now 14 so I have been coming to this library for 11 years. I don’t use it, in the same way, I used to use it back then. Early on, I used it during the day but now I come after school and on the weekends. I am working now and when I was not working, or working from home, I would bring them here. They learned to read here. What I like about this library is that it’s a community hub. You always bump into someone. I like the librarians who are very helpful and inspiring.

I use it to read newspapers now. I didn’t use it in that way before. I didn’t have the time before. As your children grow up and become independent you can use it again as an adult. Previously, it was more hands on so now I’m using it more for myself.

I walk here and over the years we’ve used it for craft activities, singing activities, there was a poetry workshop here, Christmas gatherings and there was [even] a coffee afternoon at one point. I feel like I have an active community life but what’s nice is that people that have nowhere else to go can come here. It’s one of the few places left where anyone can go. Everyone is welcome and that makes it a more interesting place. It’s not exclusive.



Kathleen Biggs

The library is my favourite place in the world. It opened up a whole new world for me.
In general, I have been using the library since I was seven years old. I have been using this library for about 30 years. I think this library is much more child-friendly than it used to be. They have more activities going on. Libraries now are much more accessible to everybody. I have not always used it in the same way. Now that I have a grandchild, I bring him to read and play. I use it differently now. I also do voluntary work, I’m a helper at the local school so I use it to get specific books and the librarians are very good and helpful with that. I ask them for a specific type of book and they’re very helpful and they’ll get [it] in. I was working with some children who were struggling to read but I wanted them to be creative and to be able to tell stories. [The library] gave me books with no narrative, just pictures, and the children [were able] to create their own stories around it so [they] could still [develop] a love for books and stories and be creative. The groups that happen here bring more of a community feel and people actually use it. There is a group of us who meet and use it now for a knitting group, we’re using it to do activity groups with children, I’ve used it for workshops for children so it’s a way of bringing the community together and supporting each other. The children’s area is really accessible [now, compared] to when I was a child. They always had a children’s section but you still had to be quiet, there weren’t any books at the low level for young children, [it] was basically for children who could read. But now it’s for children from the very start. So it’s brilliant. I love this library. And I interact with people all time. I’ve met other mums here.


IMG_0695Charmaine Watson

I just live down the road. In ten years I’ve noticed a lot of changes. There are more activities so it’s not just reading and coming in for books. I’ve been coming here for a long time because it’s near and convenient. It’s really friendly as well. I don’t come on certain days like I used to for activities, I knew people there. Now I just come whenever I’m free. I have other children so I’m usually trying to juggle. I go to the Hornsey Library sometimes, it has more variety so that’s why we go there sometimes. [Here] the sections are good but [too] close together, I used to study and when you are studying it can be a bit noisy. I use the children’s area more. I [have] brought all my children here and now I have a daughter that’s 13 years old and she comes alone sometimes. People are friendly and never stop talking, even the staff are lovely! I’ve known that lady over there for years. She’s so helpful and the kids know her. There [weren’t] many activities before when I first started coming here but now they do story times, Spanish lessons and it’s nice. I wish there were more! They used to do tutoring and my daughter used to come here for it. It helped her with maths. Hopefully, they will bring something like that back.


IMG_0632Zoe Dalton

I’ve been coming here for two and a half years. I walked past it when I was walking to work. I used to go to Finsbury Park and because it was on my way, I then used to pop in – I was a teacher – so after work, I would pick up a book. It’s quite a nice feeling. Rather than buying a book. It’s just a nice feeling. I think it’s really important that [they] keep going. Even if you have a Kindle. There’s just something about a library isn’t there? Then I guess apart from books, you can browse around, you don’t want to be looking at a screen all the time.