Dancing bunnies at Kensal Library

We just had to share these lovely pictures with you all – Kensal Library held a very special baby rhyme time on Friday last week to celebrate National Bookstart Week 2017.

There was lots of singing and dancing as prompted by Bookstart’s chosen book ‘Everybunny Dance’ by Ellie Sandall. Each child received a copy of the book plus a special rhyme sheet and a pair of cute bunny ears.

All the children had a fun time and loved the story followed by some great rhymes like Sleeping Bunnies and Jelly on a Plate.

Don’t worry if you missed out last week, Kensal Library’s baby rhyme time is every Friday, 10.30 to 11am – hope to see you there soon!

The staff at Kensal Library


North Kensington Children’s Library celebrates in fancy dress!

Our special Halloween session took place at the usual Baby Rhyme Time hours – 10.45am till 11.15am. The turnout was brilliant with no space left for a single extra pumpkin or bat suit, with 40 children and 36 adults jammed in our under 5’s section of the library.

Many children and two members of staff (including yours truly!)  were fancy dressed for the occasion. The children in all colours and shapes – gorgeous smiley pumpkins, a bumblebee, a batboy, princesses and even a tiny beautiful vampire dressed to kill. The staff dressed in black, with hats and all, offered a striking contrast to the colourful surroundings in the Children’s library. Our Halloween displays, prepared in the weeks leading to the event, benefited from the drawings and colouring contributions of customers as seen below!




Apart from our usual selection of songs, we also sang a few tunes suggested by parents and nannies. However, the cherry on the top of the Halloween cake was to sing a special Halloween song for the 1st time together at North Ken’s Baby Rhyme Time: the Halloween version of one of our most popular and requested classic, “The (Spooky) Wheels on the Bus”, by Elizabeth Mills.



We finished off by handing out one small bag to each child filled with some goodies to nibble at. There were smiley faces all around. We all had a party! Watch this space for more parties – it’s that time of year already!

Silvia Sousa, North Kensington Library

Brompton’s Bumper Baby Sessions

Brompton Librarian, Steph, writes….

This was a bumper week for Brompton’s toddlers! As Katie (our Rhyme Time queen) had been laid low with a chest infection, on Monday we drafted in a support act in the shape of Daniel from Chelsea who gave us an “unplugged” Electric Babyland session backed up by Ashraf on tambourine and David on tablas – a new experience for both of them – and the kids (and the adults) loved it.

Danial brings some rock n'roll to Brompton
Daniel brings Rock ‘n’Roll to Brompton

On Wednesday Monkey Music, well known in the borough, were kind enough to give us a free session and they took the children on a musical journey ending up under the sea. With their vast array of props and instruments for shaking, rattling and rolling on their tummies, again the kids had a very different and hugely enjoyable time.

Monkey Business in the library...
Monkey Business in the library…

On Thursday we were back to our own in-house Baby Rhyme Time with Elisabeth leading the singing. After two sessions of songs and movements that had been different and new the children enjoyed the familiarity of their old favourites.

And now back to your regularly scheduled storytelling
And now back to our regularly scheduled Rhyme Time!


Adult library users sometimes ask why we do events for toddlers that are so noisy and disturb the peace, but we all know that this type of stimulation is enormously beneficial to their brain function at such a formative age. They may also associate libraries with places where nice things happen. Long may it last!

Electric Babyland on tour!

Leanne Bellot and Silvia Sousa, North Kensington Library, write:

A couple of months ago, North Kensington Children’s Library had several celebrity visitors: apart from Father Christmas, we had two very special, and talented, hosts for our Baby Rhyme Time session. Dressed in matching elf jumpers (it was Christmas!), Daniel and Robert (on loan from Chelsea Library, pun intended) came to North Kensington to give us their thrilling Electric Babyland session as a festive treat.

The words “thrilling”, “loud” and “exciting” come to mind when I try and describe the experience. But even then, Electric Babyland seemed to generate a myriad of feelings, that limiting it to these three adjectives does it a disservice.

Electric Babyland!
Electric Babyland!

The amps were the focus of several curious gazes but when the iconic strums to “Wild Thing” began to play, it didn’t take long for most of the children (and the adults!) to start getting their groove on.  And if the giggles and wiggles we witnessed are any indication, we several future rock stars to look forward to! One Direction, who?

We quite enjoyed our “Route 52” rendition of “Wheels on the Bus” (we travelled all the way from Ladbroke Grove to Willesden Junction!) and let me be the first to say that there was a lot of passionate “shh, shh, shh” going on!

Things got a little bit competitive when it came to a post code-challenge “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”! Sufficient to say, Daniel and Robert were blown away with our talented children and their superior skills. Better luck next time, guys!

If after the session, we borrowed a copy of “Guitar for Dummies” and dusted off our once-used-and-quickly-abandoned-guitar, we would never tell. Guess we will have to see what our next Baby Rhyme Time sessions bring!

Find out when our Baby Rhyme Time sessions are held here!








Summer kicks off at Notting Hill Gate Library!

Notting Hill Gate Library has gone storytelling, craft making and nursery rhyming crazzzy this month!

To celebrate the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge we have offered more Baby Rhyme Times, Crafts, and Storytelling Sessions. The children have come in and had a blast! We have had lots of positive feedback from parents, especially with the Baby Rhyme Time on Saturday: a few of the parents work during the week so this was a chance for them to see their toddler getting involved- singing, dancing and meeting new friends!

Come along to our next sessions: Baby Rhyme Time- Friday 25th July, Storytelling- Saturday 26th July.

Click here for more information about our Summer Reading Challenge!

And remember….DON’T let the pigeon drive the bus!!
And remember….DON’T let the pigeon drive the bus!!

We have also had the Fab Flowers Team at Notting Hill Gate Library helping us to make our very own fabulous flowers! There was much excitement as we all got to stitching and some wonderful pieces were made: brooches were the chosen favourite and some beautiful brooches were made by some very happy (and very proud of themselves!) attendees.

Fab Flowers!
Fab Flowers!

Fab Flowers was part of Adult Learners Week.



And Finally, the Notting Hill Gate Reading Group said farewell to a much loved group member, she will be very missed as she has contributed immensely to the group and was one of the first participants when the group formed 10 years ago! We wish her good luck in the years to come…

(For more reading group details, please see our reading groups page on the library website).


Happy 50th Birthday Kensal!

We have had a wonderful start this month celebrating Kensal Library’s 50th birthday.  The day started with a special Baby Rhyme Time where we read some stories about birthdays and sung birthday themed songs and rhymes then the children were treated to milk and cookies followed by unwrapping a large birthday present containing, much to the delight of the children, Bookstart teddy bears!

Bookstart bears for all!
Bookstart bears for all!

Later on at the main event our customers came to help us celebrate with some African dancing and the children were enthralled with the face painter, Natalie, who created some marvellous designs and who, needless to say, was busy for the entire event!

African dancing...
African dancing…
...And face painting!
…And face painting!

Also popular was Ethnnie Farry who kept the children occupied with sewing some beautiful birthday badges.

Busy making birthday badges
Busy making birthday badges

A beautiful cake was made for the event by Gail’s Artisan Bakery and it really was the best carrot cake I’ve tasted!!


All three Golborne ward councillors paid a visit and showed their support for Kensal Library and Emma Dent Coad gave a short speech and helped with the cutting of the cake.

Cutting the cake
Cutting the cake

All in all it was a great event.  Thank you so much to our users for helping us celebrate and for signing our birthday card.

And thank you so much to all our staff who helped with organising the event and who helped out on the day and turned up in support and to celebrate with us.

Happy birthday to us!
Happy birthday to us!

Please take a look at our facebook page for more fab photos of our birthday party!

Gabriel D’Annunzio & Electric Babyland

Daniel, our Chelsea Library Assistant, writes: 

This month in Chelsea Library I have been engrossed in Lucy Hughes-Hallet’s biography of Gabriel D’Annunzio, The Pike: Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War . We can learn a lot about PR and customer service from D’Annunzio, a flamboyant and incendiary public speaker. He would certainly know how to increase cyber traffic! A lover of woman and bric-a-brac (although the bric-a-brac probably came first) he mingled warfare with self-promotion, managing on an early bombing raid above Trieste to drop bombs and pamphlets of his poetry.

What D’Annunzio teaches us is to make our lives into works of art. Every gesture, every pose, must be carefully thought out.  Reading his book I’ve picked up the following tips: always wear pressed white shirts, arrive by plane or on horseback for business meetings, conduct your love affairs in the public eye and, if you have a new book out, concoct rumours of your own early death to boost sales.

The book at over 600 pages is a tall order for a three week read and the hold list is growing longer. Many of our readers coming back to borrow it for a second time to get to grips with this extraordinary individual.

Beautiful pig
Beautiful pig

The coffee morning is growing and we have many regulars with interests ranging from writing poetry and jazz to painting watercolours. People  bake their own cakes so please spread the word if you know of anyone in need of a cup of coffee and slice of cake on Wednesdays at 10.30.  There are plenty of activities for all- our weekly events now include a read and create session on Saturday afternoon, in the past we have made pigs and sunflowers!

Don’t forget that we are still running our under 5’s music event, Electric Babyland (aka Baby Rhyme Time), in the children’s library. Over 150 mothers and children come to wriggle and fall over to the primitive sound of Wild Thing and The Wheels on the Bus on Thursday mornings at 11.00am.

Electric Babyland!
Electric Babyland!

Please join us! For more information about our services and activities for children, take a look at the children’s pages on our website.


“A happy and lively place to read or study”

What do you like about your library? Well, we had plenty of responses to this question on National Libraries Day, Saturday 8th February, and they were all inspiring: interesting, heart-warming and fun in equal measures! 

Books featured quite heavily:

This is where our baby got a passion for books! Thank you.

(I love) Having access to such an astonishing number of wonderful books!

A fantastic place to bring my children, great books

A whole new world of interest in places and stories found in the books.

And so did the staff: 

Enjoyable, quiet, and the staff are really helpful

I like this library because the staff are polite

We love the library, libraries have the best books & lovely staff. Keep it going.

Would hate to be without it – and thanks to the splendid librarians!

And some more thought provoking ones:

Basic human rights! To read, to learn, to use your imagination, to be entertained, to save paper…for free!

 A place to learn and feel safe and warm without fear.

Access to knowledge and to life.

Libraries have been a part of my life since childhood

Comments on particular resources:

A huge amount- great selection of all types of books together with a fashion reference library upstairs!

Access to online resources.


Computers & Fantastic resources

And of course everyone loves Baby Rhme Time!

This Library is my daughter’s favourite place. Baby Rhyme Time is so much fun! Many thanks for everything!!

Thank you very much Adrian for all the songs & stories

We love Baby Rhyme Time keep the good work up

Great Baby Rhyme Time here at the library!

And simply:

Joy, joy, joy, joy!

There were far too many to mention all in one blog post but thank you everyone for contributing!

National Libraries Day Wordle
National Libraries Day Wordle

Bats, masks and bear-hunts…

 St Peter’s Nursery discovered the Notting Hill Gate Library when they visited us on Friday 17th January. They had a tour of the library and then an afternoon of story time. Snip Snap Alligator by Mara Bergman and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen were both part of the books read. The 3-4 year old enjoyed these immensely, they had a wonderful time!

We're going on a bear hunt!
We’re going on a bear hunt!

 Adrian, our Customer Service Assistant at Notting Hill Gate Library, really enjoyed the experience of reading to slightly older children: “I hope we can do this more often!” 

Saturday 25th January saw Carnival Mask making at the library. Two to nine year olds made fantastic colourful masks. They were then treated to an impromptu Baby Rhyme Time for the younger visitors which went down very well.

Getting crafty
Getting crafty
Making masks
Making masks

Our regular Story and Craft sessions are on the last Saturday of the month, however from April this will change to the first Saturday of the month.

 The eighth of February was National Libraries Day: Notting Hill Gate Library celebrated with a special Baby Rhyme Time, with stories, rhymes and songs with an enthusiastic audience. Then the parents and children joined in together to make paper Bat Planes and very quickly the air was full of flying bats to everyone’s amusement.


Last but not least…reading group news!

Two of our reading group members, Brenda Ferry and Janet Mayhew, celebrated after getting an award for Best Attendance in 2013 for the Notting Hill Gate Reading Group. Well done ladies!

Our two best attendees!
Our two best attendees!

Kensington Central Library – December 2013

Kensington Central Library in winter
Kensington Central Library

Hello to you all from the staff at Kensington Central Library. We’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you’re planning on visiting us over the holidays please check our Christmas and New Year opening hours first.

We’ve had another busy month so read on to find out what’s been happening.

The Open University

Sandeep Dhaliwal, one of our Tri-Borough Reference Librarians blogged about The Open University coming to Kensington Central Library last week to deliver one of their Information Events.

Over to Sandeep to tell us more…..

The Open University Information Event on Monday 9 December at Kensington Central Reference Library

The Open University at Kensington Central Reference Library
The Open University at Kensington Central Reference Library

I am pleased to say that we had 43 visitors to this event with over two-thirds attendees from West London.

Two of the very helpful members of staff from The Open University
Two of the very helpful members of staff from The Open University

The diverse age range of the attendees highlighted that learning is a life-long exercise – people aged in their early 20s to the over 60s came along.

Receiving advice from The Open University
Receiving advice from The Open University

If you missed this event, there is another in the new year at Chelsea Library which will take place in March 2014.

For more information please visit The Open University’s website.

To see what other events we have check out our What’s On page on our website.

Sandeep Dhaliwal

Tri-borough Reference Librarian

New signage at Kensington Central Library

It’s been a long time coming but we finally have some new signage in the adult lending and children’s libraries. I really enjoyed working with the borough’s designer and the graphics company to ensure we got the signage we needed. It was fascinating learning about fonts, types of signs and even staying late to supervise the installation. We really hope our customers find the library easier to use.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..

The staff have done an excellent job at decorating the library for this special time – hope you like our decorations!

We also had a very special visitor on Friday 20 December – Father Christmas made time in his busy schedule to attend our baby rhyme time. Kids and adults alike very pleased to see him and he felt like a celebrity with all the photos that were taken!

Father Christmas at Kensington Central Library!
Father Christmas at Kensington Central Library!

At our last story and craft session on Saturday 21 December – the children had great fun making Christmas wreaths using paper plates, green paper and red glitter.

So Happy Christmas from us all!

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green

Lending Librarian