My last part of the triangle of the Islington libraries before we cast off our ropes and point our boat in the direction of East London.
I confess to spending most of my time in the West Library in their lobby. It’s an airy space that acts as a large foyer in between the adult and children’s library rooms.
I needed to charge my laptop and a helpful librarian pointed me towards the plug sockets and comfortable chairs in the lobby.
Whilst I sat there, a woman and two men sat on the chairs on the opposite side of the foyer and though they talked in low voices, I could not help but overhear some of their conversation.
The men were clearly part of some organisation that the woman was supporting. They showed her a couple of videos where I overheard them saying that the man speaking on the video had seen his mother killed. They talked of ISIS. Later I discovered that they were part of the Association of Woman and Youth Against Fundamentalism and were working to help women and young people in Camp Liberty escape to Albania.
When they had left, their seats became occupied by two police officers.
I asked them what brought them to the library that day, if they were perhaps coming here to take a break.
“People always think that but we are here to run a surgery, we’re here regularly, to talk to anyone who would like to talk to us. It’s all about community engagement,” one of them told me.
The other explained, “Sometimes people find it easier to approach us in here rather than on the street or in the station.
It’s a quiet, warm, light space.
A meeting place for everybody.”