A love of reading

You’re never too young to enjoy a good story, and at your local library children are welcome to join from birth. It’s absolutely free and for children there aren’t any fines for returning books late.

Did you know that all families with babies aged 0-12 months are eligible for a free Bookstart baby pack?  Each pack contains two books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing stories with your child. Pop into your local library to pick yours up today.

If you’re interested in getting involved in your local reading community, check out the fun under-fives activities on offer at your local library.

And remember, we understand that children can be noisy (and sometimes messy!) so don’t worry too much about being quiet; we love to see young children enjoying our libraries and welcome their enthusiasm!

By taking out books and reading with your child every day you can help their physical, mental and emotional development as well as language and listening skills. Plus, you get to enjoy some fantastic stories!

“A love of reading is more important in academic achievement than a child’s social or economic background.” –Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ‘Reading for change’ 2001

Happy reading!

Harriet Skinner

Libraries Children’s Officer

Advertisements

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

Free Comic Book Day on Saturday 6 May 2017

Pop in to your local Kensington and Chelsea library on Saturday 6 May for Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day is an international celebration of all things comics – taking place on the first Saturday in May, it is a day where new titles are released, and comic shops giveaway free issues – we are also taking part, courtesy of the grand folks at Forbidden Planet who are providing the comics.

Free Comic Book Day is perfect for both hard-core collector fans and those whose interest has been piqued for the first time.

Enthusiasts of the comic book / graphic novel form will tell of the inventive artwork to stun and amaze – the array of characters, from superhero to regular Joe. The different universes on offer and running plot lines that will be hard to forget.

Explore all this and more at one of our libraries, please ask staff for your free comic book. We have three titles to give out, while stocks last – head on in before missing out.

Discover characters including Wonder Woman, DC superhero girls plus look out for the Forbidden Planet exclusive variant of the Doctor Who title too, featuring the Doctor with new assistant, Bill.

Why not check out the graphic novel selection or the DVDs available while you are there and see what else your local Kensington and Chelsea library has to offer?

[Matthew]

Harry Potter Moving Portraits at North Kensington Library

On Wednesday, 1st February and Saturday, 4th February North Kensington Library opened its doors to Harry Potter fans of all ages and invited them to take part in a series of special Harry Potter Book Night craft workshops.
Continue reading “Harry Potter Moving Portraits at North Kensington Library”

A Christmas Display at North Kensington Library

Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2017 Year !

dscf6067

I am sure that now and then we all come across a new picture book in our libraries that bursts out with that special WOW! factor when your fingers and your heart just itch to make your own picture book, make illustrations just like those, retell the story to all the children in library, at home or in nursery.

Continue reading “A Christmas Display at North Kensington Library”

Welcome to the RBKC Libraries blog…

Kensington Central Reference Library
Kensington Central Reference Library

Welcome to our new blog, where we hope to entertain and inform you about everything to do with Kensington and Chelsea’s libraries! Sign up for posts about fun things that that we do, events that we’ve organised, what our bookclubs think about their current read, and more. We’ll also be posting regularly about our special collections, so you can find out more about the treasures we have on our shelves…

Swish and Flick!

Duelling

Leanne Bellot, Customer Service Assistant at North Kensington Library, writes:

Time, like the Firebolt, flies. An entire year has already passed since I first wrote about our Harry Potter Book Night hi-jinks. On 4th February 2016, North Kensington Library once again joined the thousands of fans across the globe in celebrating Harry Potter Book Night 2016. The theme, A Night of Spells, opened up a galaxy of ideas, the most ambitious being the creation of Harry Potter Week. Here is a recap of all the mischief we managed!

Harry Potter and Notting Hill Preparatory School: January 20th

The Harry Potter festivities kicked off on January 20th with a year six class visit by Notting Hill Preparatory School. The main theme of the visit was Friends and Foes. Supported by carefully selected extracts from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the children explored the relationships between the main characters, bullying, and Neville’s bravery when he stood up to his friends. Five students were chosen to role play a scene from the book and we would not be surprised if they went on to become thespians!  The following discussions were engaging and lively. The children were all incredibly passionate and shared some really interesting insights into the characters and their behaviours.

Wizard VFX: February 2nd

We were incredibly lucky to host Klaudija Cermak for a second year in a row. If you don’t remember, Klaudija is a visual specialist and worked on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. I admit, I don’t know much about special effects but I think most would agree with me when I say that the effects used in the Harry Potter movies were brilliant. They look real, and they enhance the magical feel of the films – it’s easy to believe that there is a Wizarding world!  Klaudija was as charismatic as ever and an engaging speaker.

VFX 1

 

Craft Activity: February 3rd

Children were able to create their own diaries,  and make a part of our Diagon alley. No Horcrux in sight!

HP_diaries

 

Harry Potter Book Night: February 4th

I have one word to describe Harry Potter Book Night this year – WOAH!

Firstly, thank you to Chris for assisting me in making everything and to Claudia and Ria for waging (and eventually winning) the battle against the walls and windows to get everything up and looking fabulous – couldn’t have done it without you!

We wanted to create the Hogwarts experience, so we introduced three magical classes: Duelling, Potions, and Transfiguration. All three classes proved to be a huge success and surprisingly, minimally messy! Our Have You Seen This Wizard? photo booth was also a huge hit!

 

Following proper duelling etiquette, each participant respectfully bowed to their opponent before turning back to back and awaiting the countdown from the moderator (I was reminded of those classic draws found in old Westerns). It was good fun, the duellers were serious and enthusiastic – I’m pretty sure we witnessed the birth of a few new actors and the supporters were great sports. And if some children happened to confuse the effects of ‘Expelliarmus’ with ‘Crucio’, no one pointed it out as their overacting was quite a hilarious site to behold.

Duelling

There was a real fear that potions would be a complete disaster but I’m happy to report that it wasn’t (Nadira Chaoui was the biggest reason why)! Nadira and I ‘brewed’ three example potions: the challenge was to recreate these potions using the different ingredients provided, in under five minutes. The children were diligent students and it proved to be no challenge as the majority made excellent replicas and bounced away with their house points. I found myself humbled when a young Gryffindor asked if I had ‘Essence of Dittany’ and had no idea what he was talking about. I’m still ashamed and currently re-reading the series!

Potions 2Potions 1

The Harry Potter scavenger hunt was equal parts hilarious and chaos. (I’ve included the questions at the end of this piece for you to test your own Harry Potter knowledge, please let us know how you do in the comments section!) I am certain that I had hidden all the clues in visible places but it seemed that the greatest challenge for our young witches and wizards was finding question 7. Apart from that, they seemingly breezed through the answers – I’ll definitely make it harder next year. To make sure everyone had a chance of winning a prize, we randomly drew winners from the correctly completed entries over the course of the evening. Time for a funny story – an indignant young witch pointed out two devious Gryffindor’s who had snuck into the submission box to correct a few answers on their already submitted ballots and resubmit when we weren’t looking.  20 points from Gryffindor, tut tut.

Transfiguration was headed by Professor McGonagall (Lynn Terrell) and that was a hoot. Students were tasked with recreating one of three items – Nagini, a Golden Snitch, or Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. Points were awarded based on the successful creation of one of these items from magical modelling clay and the likeliness to the examples provided. My personal highlight from this activity was the parent who made a beautiful Golden Snitch, she even included the engraved markings and bartered for 100 points instead of her awarded 30 points (the maximum number for a snitch)!

Lastly, Slytherin house claimed the House Cup Quiz Trophy! Last year’s winners, Gryffindor narrowly missed retaining the crown by five points, with Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw finishing in that order. There were so many great moments from the night but I really would be here for another year if I tried to include them all!

Slytherin House Cup Winners

 

Harry Potter Knitting: Saturday 6 January

Our week concluded with a very special Harry Potter knitting session. Ran by Ms Tuula Petitlo, participants were taught the basic knitting stitches, given helpful pointers and guiding in beginning their very own Hogwarts scarf. It was a successful family workshop and we have some great pictures.

If you are interested in either crocheting or knitting, Tuula runs the ‘Crochet and Knitting’ group at Kensal Library, every Monday 1-3PM.

Knitting 1

While it was a very busy week at North Ken, it was also a very successful week. Beyond celebrating Harry Potter, this week served as a reminder of the incredible power of literature and its ability to bring people together. As a fan, it’s great to share my passion with younger readers and as library staff, it’s incredibly rewarding to see so many children enamoured with the books. At the heart of it all was our library service, offering the community a welcoming space where they were encouraged to make great memories, meet new people, learn, explore and most importantly, enjoy our facilities. And although it’s taken me nearly a month to fully recover, it was definitely worth it.

A huge thank you to all the people that assisted in delivering Harry Potter Week, it would not have been possible without you.

Mischief managed!

P.S. At your next North Kensington visit, take a look at ‘Harry Potter: Page to Screen’ by Bob McCabe and ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated Edition) by J.K. Rowling – they are both too beautiful not to look at!  

Time to test your HP knowledge…

  1. What is the name of Dumbledore’s Pet Phoenix?
  2. What type of animal is fluffy?
  3. What do Ron and Harry fly into the whopping willow?
  4. What position does Ron play on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?
  5. What is the name of the sixth Harry Potter book?
  6. How many children do Arthur and Molly Weasley have?
  7. What country wins the Quidditch world cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?
  8. How many Hogwarts houses are there?
  9. From what platform can you catch the Hogwarts Express?
  10. What is the name of Harry’s pet owl?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sledge: The Soul of Notting Hill

The phrase ‘One Love’  is a part of the philosophy of Rasta. The centre piece is an artwork, entitled ‘Mama  Africa by Mortimo Planno. History on Mortimo Planno is featured in ’s book ‘ Sledge: The Soul of Notting Hill’

 

OneLoveExhibit1
One Love mini exhibition

M G Robinson came to Shepherds Bush library on the 19th December 2015 to talk about her book Sledge: The Soul of Notting Hill

 

Sledge

 

Sledge was an iconic figure of the famous Portobello Road and part of the rich cultural history of the area.

Robinson wrote this book to document the life and times of her father; Sledge. Her book reveals the very significant transnational connection between Jamaica and London, in terms of culture, music and ideology.

Her talk at Shepherds Bush Library attracted an eclectic audience; multicultural; young and old. It was a real delight to see people coming together to discuss local history; contributions from the audience were welcomed, memories were shared and questions asked. A few people took notes to do follow up research.

The significance of the talk lay in the fact that local history was being verbally imparted from a woman who had actually lived it. Robinson has taken the time to record and share this knowledge with a wider audience to inform and educate.

An awesome slideshow put together by Tom Vague, (local historian and pop journalist) accompanied the talk featuring amongst others, photos of Sledge, the band Aswad, and shots of the Portobello and All Saint’s Road, over the years.

Considering the times we live in, bringing people together to share experiences, to learn and realise their common interests and stories serves to strengthen community spirit and helps us acknowledge the greater historical interconnectedness of all of our lives.

M G Robinson’s next talk will be:

  • North Kensington Library
  • 108 Ladbroke Grove,
  • London W11 1PZ
  • Saturday March 5th 2.30-4.30pm

Book your free place via Eventbrite

Zena Naidu
Senior Customer Service Assistant, Shepherds Bush Library

Harry Potter, Magical Creatures and Architecture competition

Motivated by Harry Potter’s world of magic, history, fantastic architecture, myths and legends, we invited our customers to search for magical creatures, animals, gargoyles, saints, caryatids and crests on various buildings and monuments in London and take photographs.

Since London has astonishing architectural features in abundance, to find lions, dragons or witches and nymphs, fairies and angels, would not be a difficult task.

My aim was to focus on and celebrate historic London architecture.

Harry Potter Library Display, North Kensington
Harry Potter Library Display, North Kensington

The collage poster featured some iconic London buildings and monuments. I approached these establishments and asked whether they could donate one prize for best entries of the competition.

I was delighted when St Pancras Renaissance Hotel replied.  Miss Madeleine Duxbury, from St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, shared on Twitter our photo competition and awarded nine-year-old Marko Popovic’s entry with a meal for two in their MI + ME restaurant.

MI+ME Restaurant, Kings Cross, St Pancras
MI+ME Restaurant, Kings Cross, St Pancras

MI+ME is housed on the Upper Terrace of St Pancras, overlooking the Eurostar trains and next to Paul Day’s sculpture ‘The Meeting Place’. Unlike on the Hogwarts Express, where you can buy all sorts of magical sweets, leaping chocolate frogs and pastries, in the Victorian era the trains had Milk and Meat carriages, to which MI + ME’s name pays homage, mirroring the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London’s railway heritage.

St Pancras Station, Renaissance Hotel, London
St Pancras Station, Renaissance Hotel, London

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel with its Neo-Gothic architecture, lions, snakes, dragons and various other magical creatures featured significantly in the photo competition ‘Magical Creatures and Architecture’. This magnificent building brings Harry Potter books and films to life. Klaudija Cermak , our special guest  and a real wizard of digital effects in two Harry Potter films, helped us to choose the winner of the competition.

 

by Zvezdana Popovic,
Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library

Walking in the Rain at North Kensington Library

Inspired by J Opie
Julian Opie’s ‘Walking in the Rain’

 

Art & Craft activities have been my passion. So, you can imagine my excitement and happiness when more than 20 children and adults came for the Half-term session and enjoyed the activity inspired by Julian Opie’s iconic paintings “Walking in the rain”. I have to admit that I anxiously wondered where we would squeeze all these creative art-loving-visitors. Well, they were everywhere. And several groups stayed the whole afternoon.

Samarah 11, Selma 7, Mariam 6 and Adam 3.
Samarah 11, Selma 7, Mariam 6 and Adam 3. Arts and Craft at North Kensington Library, inspired by ‘Walking in the Rain’

 

It was a Rainy Day, but I did not sing: “Rain, rain go away, Come again another day”.

No, we were all actually pleased that it was raining.

Several days before and after the session whoever came to the library wanted to contribute to our display. The final result was so fa-bu-lo-us that I had to contact Julian Opie and invite him to see our master-piece. And he replied! He liked it!

“Dear Zvezdana Popovic
Wow – that looks great – I’ll try to pop in if I am passing.
All the best
Julian”

On 21st November we had another Art & Craft activity linked with the display. We looked at movement and storytelling on Parthenon frieze and on Bayeux Tapestry.

Unfortunately, the artist, Julian Opie, did not come.

Having said that, he was present – with his self-portrait and his text-message on our display.

By Zvezdana Popovic
Customer Service Assistant, North Kensington library