Book Award round up

Sally Connew-Volpe, Triborough Stock Librarian, writes:

The Miniaturist by Jessie BurtonHave you seen our Book Awards page?

We’ve gathered all the contenders and winners of the UK’s most popular literary awards in one place! So if you’re keen to read a whole shortlist, want to know what all the fuss is about a particular winner, or are just looking for a great book to read – take a look. All our book lists link straight in to the library catalogue, so you can find out which libraries hold copies of the book you’re after and whether they’re available (you can reserve from here too).

The book awards we feature include the Man Booker, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Specsavers National Book Award and many more!

Book Awards page - part of the RBKC library catalogue
Book Awards page – part of the RBKC library catalogue

Why not try The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (above) – winner of the 2014 Waterstones Book of the Year, winner of Book of the Year and Best New Writer in the 2014 Specsavers National Book Awards. This is a wonderful read set in 1686 Amsterdam. It follows eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman as she arrives from a small village to the Amsterdam household of merchant trader Johannes Brand, her new husband. A gripping story unfolds as she is given a cabinet by her husband containing an exact replica of their house.

The Paying Guests by Sarah WatersTake a look too through the excellent shortlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, including the latest book by Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests. The winner will be announced in just a couple of weeks!

Each time a new shortlist is announced, the lists are refreshed – but we are gradually building a ’round up’ list of past prizewinners, so you can always be sure to find some great quality reading.

Borrow one today!

 

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Celebrating World Book Day with Jeremy Strong

Stephanie Webb, Lending Librarian, writes:

Now in its 17th year, World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators and books and most importantly reading. Across the Triborough area it is a major event in the school year and we at Kensington Central Library were privileged to host the multiple award-winning children’s author Jeremy Strong. His titles include the “My brother’s famous bottom” series, the “Hundred-mile-an-hour dog” series and his latest title, “Romans on the rampage” He had an audience of over 250 people roaring with laughter when he visited the library on World Book Day, Thursday 5 March.

Jeremy Strong ,by Justine Stoddart
Jeremy Strong ,by Justine Stoddart

The interactive sessions were attended by 8 school classes, teachers and volunteers from Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

Jeremy kept everyone amused with tales of his childhood and the inspirations for his bestselling books. He explained why all writers need a fridge and shared with us his very first reworking of the legend of Jason and the Argonauts (written at the age of about 8 and complete with spelling mistakes and the castle door with no handle!). He also answered a range of burning questions and signed copies of his books which were available for sale.

Jeremy Strong at Kensington Central Library for World Book Day, March 2015
Jeremy Strong at Kensington Central Library for World Book Day, March 2015

As has become traditional on World Book Day, many pupils and teachers came along dressed as their favourite book characters so we had several Matildas (Roald Dahl), several Dr. Suess’s and a Captain Underpants (but, thankfully, no characters from “50 Shades of Grey”!)

As an encore, Jeremy kindly signed two books which will be the prize for an upcoming competition. Watch this space!

A big thanks to Jeremy and everyone who turned out to see him on that breezy morning.

Come on in, the door’s open

Nicky Smith, Enquiry  Librarian, Triborough Reference Service, writes: 

‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications’. There’s a snazzy title for a document that I’m sure all of you have pored over. Or maybe you know it better as the Finch Report. Or maybe you don’t know it at all?a2r1

To be honest, it doesn’t matter – all any of us need to know is that it’s a Jolly Good Thing because it recommended that publicly funded research should be available to the people who paid for it: the public. Us, in fact. So Proquest (who some of you may know as the publishers of Ancestry, the fantastic online genealogical resource) were signed up to provide the ‘Access to Research’ front-end, which is about as user-friendly as it’s possible to be, and various publishers were brought on board. The current “offer” is impressive – 8,000 journals, many with long back files, containing 4 million freely-available articles. And these are from top academic publishers, 17 of them and counting, including big names like Oxford University Press and Wiley.

The range of subjects is extraordinary – some of the topics are obscure (Journal of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, anyone?) but there is plenty of more mainstream stuff (Journal of popular film and television for example). The point is that if you need access to research, esoteric or otherwise, and don’t belong to an academic library or have an awful lot of money at your disposal, you now have it.

So how does it work? You simply visit your local library – access is available in Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries, as well as many other participating library services across the UK. Log onto a library computer and, in Kensington & Chelsea, go to our Online Databases page (the Access to Resource link is available at the bottom of the page). The interface couldn’t be simpler. Just enter your search terms (as with Google, you can use inverted commas around the term if you want to search for an exact phrase, so “joan crawford” will return 102 results and joan crawford 1494). You will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions (don’t worry – you only have to do this once each session). Do have a look at them – the most important condition is that users can’t save documents electronically although they can print out one copy of each article. Accept the T&Cs and then look at the results.

When you click on an article, it will open up in a new tab so your results list remains open. You can read most of the articles as HTML format (like a straightforward webpage) or as a PDF (probably better if you intend to print it out ).

You don’t have to do a keyword search – you can Browse All Journals, using a drop-down menu to choose a subject. Or if you choose Advanced Search you can search by Author and narrow down your results by date.

Don’t forget to return to the original search screen to make each new search. The search results pop up on the websites of the various publishers, but if you stay there and use their own search boxes, you may find that you reach areas which are not part of the scheme, and get asked to pay unnecessarily.

This is all material that has previously not been available to The Public, only to those attached to academic institutions. So we should certainly make the most of it. Happy researching!

I believe in unicorns (and that books are magic)!

Last week, Kensington Central Library hosted a marvellous magical performance, by Wizards Present, of the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s book “I Believe in Unicorns”

Five classes, of over 150 children and their teachers, from schools in Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea were entranced by this fabulous story about how lives can be transformed by books, stories and of course libraries and librarians.

Roll up roll up...who wants to see something amazing?
Roll up roll up…who wants to see something amazing?

Not only was the script and the performance magical, but the props used were magical too! The children gasped as books opened up to become houses and villages, books within books, books used to represent mountains and lakes, and they concealed other surprises as the story unfurls as Tomas, with his newfound love of books, becomes instrumental in saving his burning library when his village is devastated by war.

The children and staff loved it. We even discussed it at our whole school assembly today

And here it is...an actual unicorn!
And here it is…an actual unicorn!

We think this is an excellent example of how libraries can work with schools to inspire and create a love of books, stories and reading!

If you’re interested in finding out more about library events for schools, keep your eye on the Schools Bulletin (for WCC), the Schools Circular (for RBKC) and the School Staff Zone (for LBHF)