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 !

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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

Flamenco Storytelling

Picture of young person with flamenco accessories (fan and skirt)
A Señorita at the Flamenco storytelling session

¡Hola!

Last week, Brompton, Chelsea, Kensington Central and North Kensington libraries had the pleasure of hosting Canela Fina! who ran their “Quiero Bailar Flamenco” interactive Flamenco storytelling session in Spanish and English.

We hear a lot of Spanish as we’re floor-walking, especially after school when the kids have come into the library, so we expected a good turnout for this workshop – and we weren’t disappointed!

Not all the attendees were Spanish speakers, but amongst those who were, some came along in their own beautiful flamenco dresses.

For the others, workshop instructor Maria brought along all manner of accessories to help them get into that Spanish spirit: flowers, hair combs, bracelets and shawls.

Picture of accessories; combs, shawls, books, fans
These colourful accessories definitely helped us embrace the spirit of the flamenco dance…

Although most of the children started off a little shy and hesitant, by the end of the session there was plenty of rhythmic footwork and ¡Olé!s coming through the walls and ceilings as the children (alongside their parents and carers!) gradually lost their inhibitions and really threw themselves into the spirit of the dance! And who wouldn’t move to the familiar sound of  Bamboleo? (Not strictly speaking a well-known flamenco song but undoubtedly Spanish!)

Workshop instructor maria teaching dance to young children
Maria, from Canela Fina! instructs the young dancers

Everyone learnt some Spanish words and were really pleased they’d come to the session.

Hasta la vista!

Free Comic Book Day in Kensington & Chelsea Libraries!

Celebrate and discover the amazing world of comics on Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day 2015

Taking place annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialist shops around the world give away comic books – and this year, for this first time, we are very pleased to have some free comics from Forbidden Planet to give away at some of our libraries.

Participating libraries will have a poster advertising they are taking part. It’s first come, first served, so if you are an avid comic fan, visit one of the participating libraries – Brompton, Kensington Central or North Kensington Library – on Saturday 2 May to pick up your special free copy.

Free Comic Book Day 2015: DC Comics Divergence
Free Comic Book Day 2015: DC Comics Divergence available at Brompton, Kensington Central and North Kensington libraries.

What are we giving away? DC Comics: Divergence
A first look at upcoming storylines, featuring three 8-page previews for the June releases of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, as well as Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s launch of the “Darkseid War” within Justice League featuring the biggest villains in the DCU – Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor, and Gene Luen Yang’s DC Comics debut with celebrated artist John Romita, Jr on Superman.

Rating: Teen

Why not join the library and check out the graphic novel collection at the same time? All of RBKC’s lending libraries have a comics section, including great Manga titles at Brompton Library. If there’s something in particular you’re looking for, check the catalogue in advance to find out where it’s in stock. Once you’ve whetted your appetite, you should know that there will soon be a whole lot more for you to enjoy, as a recent big stock buy means that what you see on Saturday is just the start…

If you’ve suggestions for future stock, we’d love to hear your views – contact Customer Services Assistant David Bushell at Brompton Library. and Happy Free Comic Book Day!

[Rachel]

“You’re a Wizard, Harry”

Leanne Bellot, CSA North Kensington Library, writes:

On Thursday 5th February 2015, North Kensington Library joined the thousands of Muggles, Witches, and Wizards that convened across the UK to celebrate the very first Harry Potter Book Night.

Magic 15Unbelievably, it has been seventeen years since the first publication of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. In that time, Harry Potter has evolved into a global phenomenon that has touched and inspired a generation. Harry Potter Book Night was a great opportunity for fans old and new to share their knowledge, learn new tid-bits, and celebrate this enchanting story. It was also a brilliant and exciting way to introduce prospective readers to the franchise. There were so many great moments, both in the planning stages and during the actual event. Here is a summary of some of the mischief managed!

Decoration Preparation

I drew inspiration from some of the most iconic scenes in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” to form ideas on how to best transform the Children’s library into a little piece of the Wizarding world.

From “Chocolate Frogs” to “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans”, we had some of the best wizarding confectionary on display in our window. Although the actual chocolate frogs were nowhere to be seen, we did remember to display our collectible wizard cards.

The handmade wands we produced were pretty impressive; they came in different colours, a variety of cores (dragon heartstring, unicorn hair and phoenix feathers), different sizes, and were at least two Galleons cheaper. Ollivander, the famed wand-maker, had better watch out!

Mirror of ErisedZvezdana Popovic, our senior customer service assistant, created a charming version of the Mirror of Erised. In the book, the mirror is described as being able to show people their hearts’ deepest desires through their reflection. For Harry, who has never known his parents, this desire manifested in a vision of a loving family with living parents. Visitors to the library were encouraged to look into the mirror and share what they saw looking back at them.

Of course, no Philosopher’s Stone celebration would be complete without a Sorting Hat. I made our Sorting Hat from newspaper, mod rock and a copious amount of glue. It took two weeks to make all the props and although it did get a bit messy, it was not only great fun but also incredible to see the faces of the children who saw everything for the first time on the day.

Hogwarts: A “New” History

If you knew anything about the architecture of Hogwarts, forget it. Ours was actually built during our January Story and Craft session. Led by Zvezdana, the attendees were invited to help design and construct their very own School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Billards, one of the families in attendance, helped to design and decorate one of the castle’s sides. I can hardly tell the difference between ours and the one used for the movies – it is just that great. Happily, the family also came along to the main event and posed for some lovely photographs in front of their hard work.

Harry Potter Book Night: Madam Malkin’s Robes and the Sorting Hat Ceremony

Zvezdana brought a chest full of wonderfully magical looking cloaks, robes and cloths that the children wasted no time in using to dress up in. Likewise, we staff members had a lot of fun dressing up for the event. Lynn Terrel (Kensington Central Library) looked the part in a very McGonagall-esque outfit that had many children exclaim excitedly upon her entrance. Silva Memic, Sophie Rose and Zvezdana all looked great in their velvety magical ensembles and I did my best impression of a Gryffindor student (although obviously, it was a bad decision as I quickly received a rather stern telling off from one young witch for failing to choose Ravenclaw as my house – maybe next year?).

Without a doubt, the best dressed of the night had to be the young wizard who came as a young Harry Potter. He looked absolutely fantastic in his Gryffindor robes and took it like a champion even when he was subsequently sorted into Slytherin.

The Sorting Hat ceremony was loud, lots of fun and a great photo opportunity. The children were invited to sit on the chair and have the hat placed upon their head before blindly selecting a house from the sorting chest. Once sorted, they were given their house sticker which they wore with pride. The completion of the Sorting Hat ceremony led into the House Cup Quiz. The quiz turned out to be a really, really, passionate affair with Gryffindor as the ultimate winners. It was amazing to watch how quickly the questions were being answered and how eager each child was to earn points for their house. Next time, we will definitely need harder questions!

Mariam El Boukilli, who came to the event, shared her thoughts on the evening “I really liked the Sorting Hat and it was fun making the crafts. I liked playing Musical Statues (Stuperfy), the quiz was good – even if we didn’t win, and the prizes and sweets were really good. I had a lot of fun!”

Klaudija Cermak

We were incredibly lucky to host the talented Klaudija Cermak for a special presentation. A specialist in visual digital effects; some of Klaudija’s credits include work on two Harry Potter films, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I”. In the “Chamber of Secrets”, Moaning Myrtle, the ghost that haunts the girls’ bathroom, was her main responsibility. Klaudija revealed that she had initially been asked to work on the digital effects for the spiders but had to decline due to her arachnophobia. In the seventh film, Klaudija was responsible for the wand fighting scene between Harry, Ron and Hermione and the Death Eaters in the café. It was interesting to hear how the director would first share his vision, resulting in different processes and techniques she would then employ in order to create a product that everyone was satisfied with. The films “Troy” and “Gladiator” also appear on Klaudija’s long credit list and when briefly mentioned, Zvezdana was quick to point out that most of the audience were still restricted to U and PG certificates, much to everyone’s amusement.

It was a brilliant experience and I’m already planning for next year!

“He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting up in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (A quote has never been truer!)