Mental Health Awareness Week – Surviving or Thriving?

Read, learn and connect with us during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week –

Libraries’ positive contribution to the mental well-being of the population is well documented – see the Arts Council’s publication on ‘The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries.’ 

I say population and not just customers or residents as it has been said that living near a library and, indeed, just walking past a library has a positive effect on one’s emotional and mental well-being.

Of course we in libraries are keen to invite people to come through the doors and experience the well-being benefits first hand. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ which encourages us to look at our physical and mental well-being.

Some of our offers are more obviously health focused, our health information displays encourage us to feed our brains with the right food and suggest ways to be more active, as well as giving information on managing and living well with chronic conditions.  Poor physical health can be a drain on our mental and emotional strength and poor mental health can lead to inactivity, poor diet and so the cycle continues.

One way to break cycles of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours is cognitive behavioural therapy and in the West London Clinical Commissioning Group area there is Time to Talk, a free psychological therapy service.

In order to help people decide whether this service is for them or for support while waiting for a referral, or during, or after therapy, the libraries’ Reading Well Books on Prescription collections are recommended by GPs and health promotion specialists. A new collection put together to support those living with chronic conditions will be launched in July this year.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative is part of our Bibliotherapy offer. Our libraries host read aloud groups in partnership with The Reader Organisation. These facilitator led Book Break groups meet every week and give members the opportunity to join in reading aloud from good literature and discuss what has been read over a cup of tea or coffee or just sit back, listen and enjoy the company.

It is encouraging to look at how we in libraries contribute to what is called ‘the wider determinants of health’  All the things in our lives that support us, family, work, employment, housing, finances, education, lifelong learning, English classes, coffee mornings, knitting groups, activities for children and teenagers, employment advice, business information points for entrepreneurs old and young, all these available in libraries.

Libraries have always been inspirational and aspirational encouraging us to ask for more learning and knowledge and skills to create meaningful lives for ourselves and our families.

There are also some very good enjoyable fiction books available free to borrow hard copy or online! See our new book displays or see what eBooks and eMagazines we have. Did you know that reading for as little as six minutes can improve mental well-being?

See what you can do this Mental Health Awareness week to look after your own mental well-being, eat well, sleep well, go for a walk in one of our gorgeous parks and yes, visit your local library.

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator

Christmas overload already?

Escape the tinsel, mince pies and mulled wine madness with a good book- tell the family you’re off to wrap some presents, disappear into the spare room with a cup of tea (or g&t) for a couple of hours, and let them get on with Christmas  while you lose yourself in a bit of reading…

Yes, we have got the odd Christmas Romance


And some familiar faces


But if you want to get away from the whole yuletide thing, try something different


Or how about learning a few words of Japanese, Greek or Italian to wow everyone over the turkey?


We’ve got plenty of eBooks if that’s your thing!



Classics are always a comfort in times of stress


And if all else fails –

You can always go it alone

Merry Christmas everyone!


New books for August

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Girl on the Train


Rear Window meets Gone Girl, in this exceptional and startling psychological thriller
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same s even started to feel like she she calls them. Their
life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on,
but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives
she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train … Continue reading “New books for August”

Credo(itble) online resource

Credo – Online Resource

Credo is one of my favourite online resources available with Kensington Library membership.   Within the Credo Search ‘field’ you can select ‘Basic Search’, ‘Find a Book’ or ‘Image search’.

Credo has a wide selection of over 600 titles.  Many of these books can be found in reference libraries in hard copy.  Titles include Whitaker’s Almanack 2015, People of Today, Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage, Annual Register of World Events, Collins Language Dictionaries (including French, Spanish and German) and Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.  Categories of books include business, careers, education, history, biology and sciences, philosophy and a wide spectrum of arts and literature.  Credo titles are from respected authors and renowned publishers like Dorling Kindersley.


You can also use the ‘Find a Book’ search to find the titles of thousands of books and to search inside the book.  One search for a book surprised me – when I typed ‘National Gallery’ in the Find a Book search field, I got two results: The National Gallery Collection (with over 2,000 images) and the National Gallery Companion Guide (introducing you to European Western art).  The bonus was to find the National Portrait Gallery Collection and all the images. It is wonderful to have something so carefully indexed within Credo and yet instantly available to anyone who might have a passion for art. In fact anyone with a Kensington Library card can access all this information from wherever they might be.

All the more for appreciating your local Reference Library’s resources and accessing these in hard copy and then being able to access them on Credo and other Kensington and Chelsea online resources when not at the library!

Credo Tools include:

A tool for crossword solvers, which help to find quotations and word definitions.

The Image Tool contains the Bridgeman Art Gallery with 22,000 images, very useful for finding famous works of art at the click of a mouse.



Below is an example.  I searched for Van Gogh which yielded 317 results in the Image tool.

Image Search

Credo Search

Using Credo to find information is very similar to using search engines like Google and Bing to search the Internet. In this example, a search for information on 19th Century Britain in the Basic Search field, yielded over 2,000 results of varying levels, useful for both adults and children. Your choice of research article can be saved to your Saved Results and then either sent to your email or downloaded as a .PDF file on your computer or portable device.



Recently, I was asked about a book on bird migration, specifically on Brent Geese.  There were many books on this subject in the reference library; however, as the reader did not have time to look though the books, a quick search on Credo using the image search tool produced the following useful results with images of the geese and their migration route.

Brent Geese 


Another useful enquiry was for a copy of the King James Bible, for a reader who wanted to look at it at home.  A simple entry in the Search field found one result by Cambridge University Press, which the reader could then use to study at home.!?subject=138&filter=king%20james%20bible


Credo is also very useful for Medical related enquiries.  Recently I was asked to find a book showing how the ear drum works, to gain an understanding of a medical problem. I showed the reader how to search on Credo using the Subjects listed on the Credo Home page and clicking on the Health Medicine link. Once you are in the results of the Health & Medicine search page, you can select any book to read, save or print an article.



The reader was interested in the Animated Dictionary of Health and Medicine.  Within this book, we typed ear drum in the search box and clicked on the video tab.

Animated dictionary


From here we were able to get very useful and well produced video on the ear drum.



Another great feature of Credo is that it consolidates results with other available online resources. Credo search yielded articles on Alloy within Credo and also showed results for other resources which are accessible to all RBKC Library members, such as Britannia Online, NewsUK, Times Digital Archive and also Google books and Wikipedia.   You simply cannot be lost for books or articles on Credo.


Topic Page – Alloy
Topic Page – Alloys
Credo Entries – Alloy

People Search

Searching for people on Credo is very useful as well as simple.  Here is an example of a politican very well known person, Joanna Lumley.   There are numerous books to look in, from People of Today, Debretts Peerage and Baronage and People of Today 2015, Great Lives: A Century in Obituaries and countless biographical collections specialising in different subjects.

Person Search – Joanna Lumley

Credo Homework

There is an amazing selection of books and articles which young students can make use of for their homework and general interest.  A good example from my experience of answering enquiries from children and adults are books by the publisher Dorling Kindersley. Their books are informative and beautifully illustrated.  Just by typing DK Eyewitness, 13,032 results were found on Credo.




There is a great deal of information on Credo.  Take a browse.

Happy National Libraries Day!

Today, 7 February is National Libraries Day – are you coming to the library today? We’d love to see you.

National Libraries DayIf you haven’t been to the library for a while, pick your nearest one and come and find out what we have to offer.

Just come in and have a look at our wide range of books for both adults and children, use the library computers, ask a question, borrow a DVD or CD, find out about local history at the Local Studies Collection, or use the study space we offer.

On Saturdays in Kensington and Chelsea Libraries you can find a range of story times for children and IT help sessions. There are regular events every day that we’re open, with a brilliant programme of special events throughout the year.

If you can’t get to the library today, have a look at our brilliant online resources – you can download e-books and e-audiobooks for free, and use the Times newspaper archives and Berg Fashion Library (and more) from home too.

There are loads of reasons to love libraries this National Libraries Day. Come and find out why!

Are you giving or getting an e-reader for Christmas?

xmas-treexmas-treeIf you are, did you know that you can borrow e-books from the library – free? We have a great selection and all you need to do is be a library member and then sign up for the e-book service. It’s that simple (unless you have a Kindle… read more below).

Here’s what David, a recently retired library member, thinks of the service:


I love books and reading, sometimes as an alternative to TV and video, sometimes inspired by a TV show, but usually in addition to the TV programmes I choose to watch. I have discovered that I can cope easily with multiple formats! And while I still borrow and buy physical books, I now regularly download and read e-books. With my ipad I can see the news, watch TV or video, listen to music, send emails, and READ BOOKS! I no longer have to carry books around with me when on the move, or even from one room to the next. I can have lots of books with no extra weight. I can read a few pages wherever I am.
Now not all books are available in a e-format, and the joy of browsing the physical shelves is removed. But how about this – without having to leave the comfort of your home, you can go online to the Kensington & Chelsea Libraries ebooks service, find titles or authors that suit your taste and download them to your device absolutely free of charge. After two weeks, the items automatically delete themselves so there’s no risk of overdue charges, and an incentive to get to the last page before the two weeks are up! There are lots of titles to choose from, and new ones are regularly added. The process is straightforward, and you can create wishlists and reserve titles, and have a reminder of what you have previously read. All in all another great aspect of our library service.

So if you’re giving someone an e-reader for Christmas, pop into the library and pick up one of the cards about the e-book service so you can wrap it up with the present – and your loved one can download loads of free books on Christmas Day!

Note to Kindle users: Unfortunately Amazon do not allow library e-books to be used on their eReaders. However, you can read our titles on an Amazon tablet – the Kindle Fire – though you have to download an app to do so: Find out more about downloading library e-books to a Kindle Fire.