Our colleague, Hiru at Kensington Central Library has taken a good look at one of our eResources.
Access our eResource, Naxos Music Library online for free, with your Kensington and Chelsea library card.
You can check out online music streaming with Naxos Music Library and much more. Whether it’s orchestral, ballet, opera, vocal, world, rock, jazz and even your favourite film music, you can listen in peace at home, in a crowded tube, among friends or at work.
Naxos Music Library is the world´s largest online classical music library. Stream over two and half million tracks, with 600 titles being added each month.
Learn about your favourite music, listen to samples of works to learn about a composer or genre. Try the different playlists or create your own. If you are a music student, try out the resources page, where you find aural training exercises and work analysis of different composers.
You will be amazed on what you can find on the Naxos Music Library. Just by typing Swan Lake in the keyword search on the Categories tab, you would find 492 recording to listen to:
Introduce children to classical music and stories from ballet:
Delve into world music, music of different countries, including the English Country Garden:
Immerse yourself into opera. There are 821 recordings of the Barber of Seville:
The Costume and Fashion Special Collection at Chelsea Library celebrates Black History Month this October.
Chelsea Library is home to the Costume and Fashion Collection, a treasure trove of books and magazines chronicling the history of Costume and Fashion. This also includes an archive of British Vogue dating from 1923 to the present.
For this year’s Black History Month, we are featuring the work of two designers: Willi Smith (1948-1987), whose important legacy has often been overlooked and Duro Olowu, the Nigerian born, British designer, who in 2003 opened his first boutique in the North Kensington. Both featured in major exhibitions in 2020.
It has been over thirty years since Willi Smith’s death and last year saw the first retrospective of his work – Willi Smith: Street Couture at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York.
Willi Smith was born in Philadelphia in 1948. Initially he studied fashion illustration but later went on to study Fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York. Early in his career he worked for Arnold Stassi, a designer known for his high society ball gowns. He then worked for Digit Inc. Sportswear, where he quickly made name for himself and was nominated for the prestigious Coty Award in 1972. After Digits Inc. went bankrupt in 1973, he unsuccessfully set up a company with his sister Toukie Smith and then in 1976 while in India, inspired by the cotton fabrics and street fashion, he and his friend Laurie Mallet came up with the idea of setting up WilliWear Ltd and by the time they return he had designed a capsule collection that was ready to go.
WilliWear quickly captured the interest of the fashion industry. His designs crossed over from sportswear to couture. His clothes were oversized, colourful and gender fluid. He was the first designer to unite womenswear and menswear under the same label. This is echoed in his unisex patterns for Butterwick and McCall’s, which still seem radical today.
Willi Smith’s design ethos was that his clothes should be functional, fun, affordable and cross boundaries of race, gender and social status. He was inspired by how people on the street dressed. He called it Street Couture for his seminal Fall 1983 Collection. It was urban not ballroom. He famously said, ‘Being black has a lot to do with being a good designer. My eye will go quicker to what the pimp is wearing than to someone in a gray suit and tie…Most of these designers who run to Paris for color and fabric combinations should go to church on Sunday in Harlem. It’s all right there’. (Vogue online July 2020)
Willi Smith was one of the few successful ‘non-white’ designers at the time to navigate the fashion industry on his own terms and by the time of his death in 1987, aged thirty-nine from an AIDS related illness, he had become the most successful black designer in history with annual sales of over twenty-five million dollars and selling in five hundred stores worldwide.
Willi Smith pioneered Streetwear which has influenced generations of designers. Throughout his career he worked creatively with artists, architects, filmmakers and dancers. Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer were amongst the artists who he worked with on his ground-breaking artist t-shirts in 1984 – now ubiquitous in the industry. He started collaborating with Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1967 and in 1985 designed the worker’s uniforms for the wrapping of the Pont Neuf in Paris. The radical architects SITE created his urban street vision for his show rooms and with artists Nam June Pak and Juan Downey his fashion shows became more performance than catwalk.
So, it seems strange that his legacy has largely been overlooked. Perhaps it was because his career was cut short, maybe it was also due to ‘the negativity associated with AIDS at the time’ (James Wines, SITE, Surface Magazine Jan 2020). But it is also true, as Kim Jenkins, founder of the Fashion and Race Database says ‘…fashion history for the most part, has been white history. On the whole, we have designers of color missing from our textbooks’ (WMagazine Jan 2020).
Duro Olowu is a Nigerian born British designer. In 1998 he opened his first boutique off the Ledbury Road in Notting Hill with Elaine Golding, called Olowu Golding, where he showcased his early designs and Elaine Golding’s shoes. Then in 2004 he launched his womenswear label. His Spring-Summer 2005 Collection was an instant success and he was named New Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, the only designer to receive the award prior to their first runway show. His empire line dress with flowing sleeves, dubbed the ‘Duro’ became a sensation, hailed ‘Dress of the Year’ by both American and British Vogue.
Duro Olowu punctuates designing with curating. He moves with ease between Fashion and the Art worlds. Last year he guest curated Seeing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where he brought together over 300 works of art selected from public and private collections from around the Chicago area arranging them in thematic groups.
Previously in 2016 he curated ‘Making and Unmaking’ at the Camden Arts Centre in London. Mixing and placing works which included photographs, paintings, sculpture and fabrics. The exhibition was like wandering through his stream of consciousness. There was a sense of freedom, where seemingly unconnected work flowed from room to room in a kind of beautiful choreography. In the interview with Glen Ligon for the exhibition he explained, ‘…the process of discovery and experimentation is very empowering and that is what ‘Making and Unmaking’ is ultimately about’ .
Duro Olowu’s designs are a sophisticated play of pattern, colour and cut, suffused with the influence of African textiles, with their symbolism and how they translate to the street fashion of a continent and then melded seamlessly with western couture to create designs that are both powerful and subtle at the same time.
The exhibition publications: Willi Smith: Street Couture, Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, Rizzoli Electa, 2020 and Duro Olowu: Seeing, Naomi Beckwith, Prestel, 2020 are on display in Chelsea Library during the month of October in the Costume and Fashion Collection.
For further information on Willi Smith, the Willi Smith Community Archive created inconjunction with Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum gives personal accounts and insights into the designer by people who knew and worked with him. https://willismitharchive.cargo.site/
You can also listen to Duro Olowu in conversation with Valerie Steele, fashion historian, who also curates Bloomsbury Fashion Central’s fashion photograhphy archive. The conversation is from the Series: at home: Artists in Conversation, Yale Centre for British Art. https://youtu.be/71ZdF_YVVbQ
We understand that research can be a daunting and difficult task, here at Westminster Reference Library, we’ve teamed up with the specialists at London South Bank University to give you some tips, tricks and advice on how to undertake your research and how to best utilise your online software!
An introductory digital skills session into Microsoft Office: including Word, PowerPoint and Excel!
Literature hunting – What is a journal article? How to use Google Scholar & learning how to evaluate information!
IT Security – Protecting your device and your files, avoiding dangerous sites and documents!
These workshops are designed for students, researchers or anyone working on a project that involves searching the internet for information. Whether you’re just starting or a more advanced researcher, we’ve got something for everyone!
Janice Johnson is the Digital Skills Training Manager at the Digital Skills Centre, London South Bank University. She has over 16 years’ experience teaching digital skills to staff, students and professional organisations.
Emma Perry is an Information Skills Librarian within the library at London South Bank University. Having worked there for over 8 years, her main role is to teach students in classes and one-to-ones about research, evaluating information and referencing.
Please note, this will be a Microsoft Teams meeting/Teams Broadcast, and, although you do not have to have Microsoft Teams downloaded to your device, you will get a better experience if you have the app.
***Please avoid using Safari – we have had reports that Safari users have issues accessing Teams live broadcasts. Please try using Chrome or any other browser – most people who experience problems when signing in find them resolved if they try using a different browser. We are really sorry for the inconvenience this may cause and are working on finding a solution.
This year, Safer Internet Day will be celebrated on Tuesday 9th of February, aiming to explore reliability online- in conjunction with saferinternet.org.uk
There are lots of fun and interesting information you can find online such as blogs, clothing websites, social media outlets- just to name a couple. But it’s important to separate the accurate information form counterfeit materials. As parents, especially, we want our children to explore the digital world, encouraging them to do so through the correct resources.
Below you can find some tips on how to help your children being safe online:
1: Never share personal information
This applies both to parents and children. Parents should think before they share posts, photos and links. They perform as role models for their children, so they should be responsible of what they are sharing online. Parents also, need to explain to their children what it means “personal information”, such as your last name, your local address, pictures or posts on social media and why they should be cautious about sharing. Finally, they should explain to their children that they can change the settings to make their account private so just people they know can see their activity.
2: Monitor their online activities
Parents should be aware of what their children are looking for on the internet. Ask your children to show you which are their favourite websites, applications and games. This will help you to understand better their activity online and to possibly talk to them about any concerns you might have. You can also use parental controls software, which can give you a pretty good picture of your child’s internet activity and can alert you to problems. But it can also inform you about your children’s new interests.
3: Talk and listen your children
Become friends with your children, so they may not hide anything from you. Talk regularly with your children about how they use technology and where are they looking for the information, they need. Explain them that the internet offers a huge range of information, but not all of them are accurate. Having conversations with your children is the best way to support them.
4: Set an example
Talk to your child about your own experience of the online world. Show them sites and apps that you like to explore and explain why you like them. Show them how to use the internet in a positive way – to research things, to do homework, to talk to family, and to find out about the world. This helps them to have a critical eye. Share with them your own less positive experience online and what you have learnt from this.
5: Check the online content with your child
It is important to reassure them that they can always talk to you if they accidently come across with an upsetting content. Parents should stay calm and to do not overreact if their children have seen something that made them feel worried or upset. They should help them to learn how to avoid similar content in the future and to report any content they find disturbing.
I have recently been making the most of my time by using the very popular library edition of Ancestry, as a library member, via the RBKC libraries website. In Ancestry, censuses from different years are widely used as a tool for researching a particular address or person. It’s possible to find out more about how they lived, who they lived with, names, ages, occupations and so on. It’s a great resource if you are interested in your family history, or even the history of the house you live in. Continue reading “Census from Punch Historical Archive”→
How would you feel if all of a sudden you are told by authorities that are you an illegal immigrant, that you can no longer have a job and that you will be deported to a country you have not lived in before? Amelia Gentleman’s The Windrush Betrayal and the BBC’s Sitting in Limbo cover some of the stories and facts involved in the biggest UK political scandal of the century so far.Continue reading “The Windrush Betrayal and Sitting in Limbo”→
A post from our Service Development Manager, Angela Goreham – about what RBKC Libraries have to offer.
R Research for a project that interests you B Booking a PC, a place at an event K Knowledge as we all need this C Connect (to others in the community and the wide world)
L Lending items for your pleasure or information I Information that will help you with your day to day or forward planning B Baby activities and information to help new parents R Reading – a core skill and past time in any format A Access us at any time and from anywhere R Resources – varied and plentiful, in different formats to suit different needs
Y Young and old – we’re here for everyone
Are you 1 in 840,344? Or maybe you are 1 in 515,004? They’re odd numbers you might say, but the first one is the number of times the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s libraries were visited between April 2017 and March 2018 and the second is how many items were borrowed during the same period – how many did you account for?
104 people from our local communities supported the Library Service by volunteering with us and over 40,000 people came to one of the events that we held.
They are huge numbers but we always want to beat our previous year’s figures so please come along to one of our libraries, find out what we can do for you and you can help us pass last year’s numbers.
There are six libraries within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – find out more about them and what we offer by either visiting us in person or our website or you can call us on 020 7361 3010.
This month’s display of books from the Biography Collection at Kensington Central Library showcases musicians with significant anniversaries in 2018. Those we have most books on in the collection are Leonard Bernstein (born 1918), Claude Debussy (died 1918), and Gioachino Rossini (died 1868), but we include many others.
Other hard copy resources for music in our libraries are:
• Scores in at Kensington Central Library’s store
• CDs at Kensington Central Library
• DVDs of operas, shows etc and books on music, across all all our libraries
• A special collection of music reference books at Kensington Central Library
Mistletoe is a parasite that grows on around the tops of broad leave trees, mainly hawthorn, blackthorn, willow, oak and rowan.
You can hardly ever find it on oak trees. It’s so rare to find it on oak trees that ancient druids thought that mistletoe on oak was sacred.
Mistletoe bushes can grow up to 1m wide when they can look like baskets and are sometimes called Witches’ Brooms.
Birds eat the leaves and berries but don’t eat them yourself because they are poisonous to humans.
In Norse times, after Loki killed Baldur with a mistletoe spear, it became a symbol of love and friendship and anyone passing under the mistletoe would exchange a kiss.
Other names for mistletoe are birdlime, all-heal, golden bough and devil’s fuge.
The Greek word for mistletoe is “Phoradendron” which means “thief of the tree” because it feeds on trees and can kill them.
During the Medieval times, mistletoe was used during the to ward off evil spirits and protect from the devil. It was then burnt when Christmas was over.
The name “mistletoe” comes from the Anglo-Saxon words “mistle” and “tan” which mean “dung twig”. This is because mistletoe spreads its seeds via bird droppings! Birds eat the seeds and spread them when they do droppings in other places.
Mistletoe was used for leprosy, hypertension, pain and intestinal worms in the past.
Mistletoe is now being researched as a cure for colon cancer.
Kissing under the mistletoe started again in Victorian times when servants played a game where any girl caught standing under the mistletoe was allowed to be kissed.
In modern times people still like to kiss under this mistletoe, but nowadays we ask before we kiss!
We hope you enjoyed this; do look out for more festive posts coming soon.
This month’s display from the Biography Collection display, in the foyer of Kensington Central Library, commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution with a selection from our enormously wide range of books on the key figures of that event.
Finding books for this display was one of those occasions which reminds us how rich and diverse our biography collection is – scholarly biographies analyse the minutiae of developments in political thought amongst revolutionaries, while collections of deeply personal letters highlight the intimate relationships of those caught up in this epic drama of history.
We can get a sense of the eccentricities and excesses of the Imperial elite by reading the memoirs of Prince Felix Yussoupoff, best known for murdering Rasputin, which we have in an opulent violet covered hardback produced by the Folio Society in the nineties. Frances Welch’s Rasputin: A Short Life is a compulsively readable and at times very funny profile of one of the most bizarre and controversial figures of the period, and proves that fact can indeed be a lot stranger than fiction.
How did Trotsky choose to remember Lenin? We can find out by reading his famous essay from 1926. What was the 28 year old Joseph Stalin’s role in the revolution? Simon Sebag Montefiore’s scrupulously detailed Young Stalin answers this and numerous other fascinating questions that afford glimpses of alternative histories. Robert H. McNeal’s Bride of the Revolution: Krupskaya and Lenin reveals the intertwining of personal relationships and political imperatives.
Also from the collection, When Miss Emmie was in Russia by Harvey Pitcher allows us to glimpse the revolution through the eyes of English governesses working for aristocratic families as their world collapsed – often very young women whose previously narrow, parochial lives had not prepared them for front row seats in an arena of earth-shaking change.
These titles are just a tiny sample of what our collection holds, and we thought the range of our Russian Revolution-related books was so impressive that we would make them the subject of an event. If this is a topic that interests you, come along to Biographies and the Russian Revolution, on Wednesday 15 November, 2 to 3pm at Kensington Central Library. After a brief introduction to our Biography Collection, we will be seeking to answer the question “Is there such a thing as an unbiased biography of any prominent figure in the Russian Revolution?”, by looking at biographies written throughout the last century, and asking how their view of their subjects was influenced by their authors’ time, place and political standpoint. We’ll also be showing you how our online resources can enrich your knowledge of this period, and what the British journalists and cartoonists of 1917 made of events.