Day 12: Charing Cross Library – It’s never too late to learn #30days30libraries

Their website told me that Charing Cross Library is ‘a busy library serving residents, commuters and the local Chinese community’ but I wasn’t expecting to find it quite so buzzing on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Nor was I prepared for how well the library catered for the Chinese community.

I saw it in the signs …


the books, of course …


as well as through the decorations.


One man I tried to talk to gestured to me sadly that he did not speak English and then went back to reading his chinese newspaper.


I spoke to Greg who told me that has been using this library for 24 years. Today he was here with his two daughters, who were half-chinese and half-french.

“I always come here. I’ve moved around London but I come back to this library when I go to Chinatown, for eating or shopping. This library has the best stock of chinese books in London.

It’s a centre for us. We can go to Chinatown and come here in just one visit.

My daughters are half-chinese and they like eating chinese food. I tempt them to come here by promising them a tasty lunch afterwards.”


I explained to Greg that I was also half-chinese but that, when he asked, I could not speak or read chinese myself.

“Well, it’s never too late to learn,” said Greg and pointed me towards the library shelves where I could find a book to get me started.



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