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…

Take a look at our minibeast visit!

Getting up close and personal with some of the creatures you could find in your garden at North Kensington Library last week. The children loved it! One of the huge cockroaches made a bid for freedom and we had to point out that the library was not interested in taking new lodgers…

With many thanks to Holland Park Ecology Centre team,Trevor Bowyer and Hannah Williams. To keep updated about our events and activities in the libraries, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook or look at our website.

Zvezdana Popovic, SCSA

 

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Ollie’s Big Surprise at Notting Hill Gate Library

Laila El-Boukilli, Senior Customer Services Assistant at Notting Hill Gate Library, writes: 

It’s been a storytelling season here at Notting Hill Gate Library- we’ve had Michelle Sami, who enlightened us with her animated, creative and charismatic stories, aimed at our younger readers; Sarah Deco, who  spooked us out with her winter storytelling, along with friends; and recently Marcel Feigel, who read his book, Ollie’s Big Surprise. Marcel delighted us with a fantastic reading and all the children met Leo the mouse and found out about his love for cheese!

 

Ollies Big Surprise
Ollie’s Big Surprise by Marcel Feigel

His enthusiasm filled the room and he encouraged everyone to participate in a competitive game of matching the cheese with the country (sounds delicious!)

MarcelFeigel

Marcel proved to be a popular man: children and parents were lining up to get a signed copy of Ollie’s Big Surprise, with their complimentary Hummingbird Bakery cupcake.

We are very grateful for Marcel taking the time to do this event and appreciate all the effort and wish him the best of luck for the future. We had a brilliant time with Ollie’s Big Surprise and we hope to see him again at Notting Hill Gate Library soon!

We would also like to thank The Hummingbird Bakery for all the cupcakes they have kindly donated to our library and for all the support they have given us for our events this year.

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Winter Storytelling at Notting Hill Gate Library

On Saturday 16th January, we had inspirational storytellers in the library including Sarah Deco who sparked the interest and creativity in the children, firing their imaginations. This made it a great experience for all, including the parents. I have never seen the children more eager to listen to a story! Sarah’s storytelling reminds us that hearing stories told is so much more fun than watching them on the television. She made what we read on paper come to life.

Sarah and Sandeep
Sarah and Sandeep, story telling and playing the handpan

 

With the help of Sandeep Ganatra who played the handpan drum, Sarah was telling her story through music which complimented the stories and gave them a perfect touch.

One particular story which the children loved was Linda Matthiesen’s story of the girl who lost her mittens. Guiding the children through the stories twists and turns, they were eager to know what was going to happen next. All children moved closer to hear Linda as they were eager to know what happened to the girl’s mittens and were relieved when she was reunited with them.

Linda Matthiesen
Linda Matthiesen, story telling

 

The thoughtfulness of volunteers such as Sarah Deco, Sandeep Ganatra, Linda Matthiesen has allowed us to provide one-off special events for children. We would like to thank them for their fantastic performances and wish them the best of luck in their future performances.

Don’t forget to come to our once a month story and craft session on Saturday 16th February, 2:30-3:45pm, and our special author reading from Marcel Feigel who will be reading his book Ollie’s Big Surprise on Saturday 27th February, 2:30-3:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

By Laila El-Boukilli,
SCSA at Notting Hill Gate Library

Christmas at Notting Hill Gate Library

Laila and SantaDuring this Christmas festive season, we wanted to celebrate the occasion in a way that it has never been done at the library. We had a very special visitor from the North Pole. Can you guess who it is? You’ve guessed right, it was Santa! The afternoon brought both children and parents together to listen to Santa’s extraordinary story.

Reading at Christmas
Reading at Christmas

The story was so inspirational that it got us into the Christmas spirit, so we started to make Christmas cards for our friends and family. The library looked like we were in Santa’s house because the children got so excited with the glitter and it ended up everywhere. But never mind that, we all had such a fantastic time.

Making Christmas Cards
Making Christmas Cards

 

Olaf the Snowman, Book tower
Olaf the Snowman, Book tower

To mark the end of the activity, Santa brought us early presents. They were cupcakes, cupcakes that were generously donated to us by The Hummingbird Bakery. They were scrumptiously tasty! As one of the little ones put it, ‘They were the best cupcakes ever!’

 

Christmas Cupcakes from the Humming Bird Bakery
Christmas Cupcakes from the Humming Bird Bakery

Humming Bird Bakery

 

As 2015 has ended, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us. We look forward to entering 2016 with a prosperous year and to begin we will have a New Year storytelling with Sarah Deco on Saturday 16th January 2016, 2:30 to 4pm.

Donated Christmas trees by The Friends of Notting Hill Gate
Donated Christmas trees by The Friends of Notting Hill Gate

Notting Hill Gate Library welcomes all readers, existing or new so don’t forget to pop in and be a part of this exciting experience!
By Laila El-Boukilli
Senior Customer Services Assistant at Notting Hill Gate Library.

Notting Hill Gate November

This month Notting Hill Gate Library has been very engaged in new activities, such as having our first ever Story Time session. We read a range of books and even had a dance when reading “Were Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen.

Chosing what to read

Our second Story and Craft session took place on Saturday 21st November. The library was transformed into every child’s dream, where everyone had the chance to become a superhero. It went with a BOOM and a BANG!

Snow visited us with a cold start to the day, however this did not stop our brave, dedicated superheroes! They forgot their masks so we made them by using all sorts of materials and quickly put them on to hide their identities from the world.

Making masks

As you can see in the picture they were all unique designs, some were inspired by their iconic superheroes for instance ‘The Incredibles’.

Everyone doing their superhero poses

Everyone doing their superhero poses

As in all parties, we celebrated by marking the event in our Superhero Photo booth of the bold Batman and dazzling Wonder Woman. The superheroes were smiling from ear to ear, exciting stuff!

Parents were supportive of their mini superheroes by generously donating fruits, which the children used to create their own superhero faces. Two of the children did not know what a Pomegranate was, but once they had tasted the delicious fruit, they were hooked.

Creating superhero fruit faces

 The day was saved when all our mini-superheroes came to the rescue by using their powers to help tidy the children’s library. It was a hard days work!

Laila El-Boukilli,
Senior Customer Services Assistant, writes:

Notting Hill Gate’s Halloween Story and Craft Event

Notting Hill Gate Library had a busy October this year, which included our Halloween display and the first Halloween Story and Craft Event on Saturday 24th October. This was a great opportunity for the children to dress up as their favourite characters and celebrate the holiday. The turn out was great and the afternoon was memorable. However, this could not have happened without the help and support from both parents and our kind volunteer Karima, who is a Primary School Teacher.

Mariam dressed as a witch
Mariam dressed as a witch

We began the afternoon with a scary story called Spooky House by Roger Priddy, in which we all participated in the reading together. After this, with the help of Karima’s teaching experience, we explained health and safety measures to the children.

Laila reading spooky story
Laila reading spooky story

With limited space in the Library, sitting on the floor worked to our advantage as it brought everyone together. The children were hooked in the making of their spider webs and loved the challenge when weaving the wool. After this, we had played a game of pass-the-parcel which engaged everyone’s attention, including the parents who also joined in.

Showing their presents
Showing their presents

To promote healthy eating, we created our very own pumpkins from oranges (the pumpkin’s body) and celery (the pumpkin’s stalk). In addition to this, we also made ghosts from bananas and raisins were used for the eyes. It proved to be a success.

Showing our spooky food
The children holding their pumpkin oranges and banana ghosts

At the end of the day everyone was sad the afternoon was over, but were cheered as each were given Halloween goody bags filled with raisins and a Halloween activity booklet.

To encourage reading I asked parents to take out a book for each child from the display, in which I had drawn inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. We all know how inspirational books can be and as it has been said ‘Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!’

Come along and join us for our next Story and Craft event on Saturday 21st November 2015 but please book early to avoid disappointment!

NHG Halloween Display
NHG Halloween Display

Record Breaking Reading at RBKC Libraries!

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Children’s Co-ordinator, Nick, writes… 

Since its launch earlier this summer, nearly 900 children have joined this year’s Summer Reading Challenge “Record Breakers” – so far! More than 300 young people have completed the challenge already, by reading 6 books and collecting stickers and other rewards along the way.

Kensal Library has been especially busy with over a quarter more children joining than last year, but not a busy as Notting Hill Gate Library, which has seen the number of children joining doubling since last year and more of these children have completed the challenge than they did over the whole of the summer last year!

It’s not too late for you to sign up to the Challenge and there is still plenty of time to read the six books – and get your medal for finishing the challenge. What a good way to finish the summer!

We’ve added some pictures above, highlighting all the record-breaking fun we’ve had over the summer.

Author event with Sangeeta Bhadra

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Nahid, writes…

Cover page of children's book, Sam's Pet Temper
Sam’s Pet Temper, illustrations by Marion Arbona

Both children and parents were delighted by a reading of “Sam’s Pet Temper” by author Sangeeta Bhadra at Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Central libraries on Saturday 30 May.

In the story Sam’s temper is initially great company, and so he decides to take it home as a pet. Before long, however, it becomes too hard to handle and he begins to wish it would leave him alone…

Author Sangeeta reading from her book
Sangeeta reads from her book

Sam’s temper in the story is a real life naughty creature adorably illustrated by Marion Arbona. At the end of the reading, the children were invited to take part in a fun creative activity where they imagined and drew their own tempers.

Sangeeta visited Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Central libraries as part of a whistle-stop libraries tour with her debut children’s book, which has been published in Canada, in English and French, and will soon be published in Italy and South Korea. Sangeeta kindly presented Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Central libraries with signed copies of the book for our readers to enjoy.

Sangeeta's signature on the inside cover of 'Sam's Pet Temper'
Sangeeta kindly gifted us signed copies of ‘Sam’s Pet Temper’

Many thanks to Sandeep, Gaynor and of course Sangeeta for a great event!

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!