The Brompton Blog – January 2013

Hello and Happy New Year from everyone at Brompton Library!

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Fortunately the world did not end on 21 December 2012 as some had predicted (based loosely on information regarding the Mayan calendar) which meant that most of us could make those last-minute present purchases, enjoy our Christmas lunches and join hands in a jolly rendition of Auld Lang Syne at 12.oo am on New Year’s morning. It also means that we could open the doors again on 2 January and welcome 2013 with some new events, promotions and books for our library customers.

If you have made any resolutions to get fitter and healthier then check out some of our lifestyle books with exercises and diet regimes to get in shape. Or maybe you are looking for a career change and can benefit from some of our work skills books to brush up on interview techniques and help get that new job. Plus we have loads of books on learning new skills, everything from playing the guitar to using that new smart phone Father Christmas left under the tree. We also have a hand sewing workshop with Eithne Farry in our meeting room on Tuesday 22 January!

Last week it was nice to receive positive comments from a customer who visits our library every week. She told us how she really liked the displays and staff recommendations that we put out, saying that these give her a good selection of new and interesting books that she can browse and take home.

Brompton Library Reading Group in 2013

Sweet Tooth by Ian MacEwan
Sweet Tooth by Ian MacEwan

So, what’s on the cards for our reading group this year? A whole plethora of stuff. Next month we will be discussing Ian McEwan’s newest novel, Sweet Tooth, a spy story set in 1960’s Oxford. This will be closely followed by the Cityread London choice for all of our groups, which is A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. Our group usually reads newly published fiction, but this year we are branching out into historical and crime drama. This includes John Grisham’s Calico Joe, an apparently weightier tome than his other books; although I find that it does exactly what it says on the tin! Others we are looking at are The Heat of the Day (World War Two espionage) and Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate (witches and witchcraft). I don’t think we could have picked a more diverse set of books to read!

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Christmas crafts

Christmas Tree made out of green paper hands!
Christmas Tree made out of green paper hands!

We all enjoyed making Christmas crafts after school on Thursday 20 December 2012.

Sixteen children of various ages got together to make a Christmas tree picture using hands cut from green paper. We stuck on spots & made other decorations. Using hand and feet shapes we made reindeer faces. Some children coloured Christmas shapes and others drew their own pictures. We also stuck together paper chains to decorate the children’s library.

Craft and art are popular activities in the library. One child asked ‘Can we do this again tomorrow?’

We have story and craft sessions during every school holiday – look out for posters in the children’s library for the next session and on our website.

Elisabeth Brown
Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown

Senior Customer Services Assistant

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Hot Off the Press – from the Titanic to Picasso

This is the final blog post in a series of four from Nina Risoli, one of our Tri-Borough Reference Librarians about two of our online reference databases:

You can catch up with last three posts, an introduction to both databases, more about  UK Newsstand and the Times Digital Archive.

This week Nina demonstrates how two very different subjects – the Titanic and Pablo Picasso –  can be researched on the Times Digital Archive and UK Newsstand.

Sinking the Unsinkable

Titanic
The Titanic

You can experience the drama of events such as the sinking of the Titanic, for example, and follow the awful event as it was reported as the news trickled in.

Boarding Pass for the Titanic
Boarding Pass for the Titanic

This is a string of some of the results you get when you search the database inserting a single search term: Titanic.

  • Launch Of The Titanic. Vessel Successfully Takes The Water. (News) from our special correspondent
    The Times Thursday, Jun 01, 1911
  • The Largest Vessel Afloat. Maiden Voyage Of The Titanic. (News)
    The Times Thursday, Apr 11, 1912
  • The Titanic Disaster. (Editorials/Leaders)
    The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
  • Titanic Sunk. Terrible Loss Of Life Feared., Collision With An Iceberg., Official Messages. (News) (FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.).The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
  • Position Of The Titanic At The Time Of The Disaster. (Picture Gallery)
    The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
  • The Marine Insurance Market. The Disaster To The Titanic. (Shipping News)
    The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
  • The Titanic Disaster. A Death Roll Of 1,328., List Of Survivors., World-Wide Expressions Of Sympathy. (News)
    The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1912
  • New York Stock Exchange. Dull On The Loss Of The Titanic. (Stock Exchange Tables)
    The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1912
  • Help For Titanic Victims. A Mansion House Fund., Donations From The King And Queen. (Letters to the Editor) THOS. BOOR CROSBY, Lord Mayor
    The Times Thursday, Apr 18, 1912
  • The Titanic. Number Of Survivors Still Doubtful., The Supply Of Boats., Relief Fund Opened In London. (News) (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
    The Times Thursday, Apr 18, 1912
Dinner Menu on the Titanic
Dinner Menu on the Titanic

The string of newspapers headlines eloquently illustrates how the ‘unsinkable’ ship went from this:

Titanic at Night
Titanic at Night

To this in one short week:

Sunken Titanic
Sunken Titanic

 

Fall and Rise of Picasso

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso

In another example, the first article published in The Times about the artist, Pablo Picasso is dated 12 April1912 following the exhibition of his drawings in Stafford Gallery in Duke Street in London. It defends the artist from the accusations of being the ‘incompetent charlatan’ and discusses how the advent of photography ‘spooked’ artists like Picasso into exploring the abstract and moving away from representing form in the conventional way.

  

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso

268 further results reveal the bewilderment of the established critics at the developments of this new way of artistic expression. They chart the artist’s rise through countless exhibitions, record-breaking sales, stolen works, attempts at forgery of his paintings, right through to the platitudes piled on him on the occasion of his 75th birthday, on 25th October 1956, in the article which declares him ‘among the greatest draughtsman to have appeared in the history of European art.’

…and finally his death at 91 on Monday, 9th April 1973, with The Times depicting him as the ‘greatest painter of modern times’ and a national treasure of several countries. Henry Moore calls him ‘probably the most naturally gifted artist since Raphael’ and the director of Tate hails him as ‘beyond comparison and the most original genius of the century.’

 “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

It is interesting to note how the emphasis of the whole body of writing on the subject of Picasso on the Times Digital Archive is overwhelmingly his art, despite the fact that he had a very colourful private life. Out of 268 articles only a handful refer to his private life, briefly and respectfully.

The true fall-out of his manner of life and the fact that he left no will to help the family manage his gigantic legacy can be much better traced using UK Newsstand, reflecting our modern obsession with salacious detail and Picasso himself. Search for “Picasso women” yields staggering 9222 articles in UK Newsstand.

All this is interesting on its own merit, but if you are a student or a researcher or have a special interest in anything that happened or was talked about in this country in the last 200 years – Times Digital Archive can enrich your understanding and widen you research through its particular take on people and events captured in news articles as they unfolded.

If you wish to have a demonstration of the Times Digital Archive or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library on information@rbkc.gov.uk.  A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.

Nina Risoli
Nina Risoli

Nina Risoli, Tri- Borough Reference Librarian

Kensington Central Reference Library

Hot Off the Press – UK Newsstand

Latest News, newspaper caption
Latest News, newspaper caption

This is the second in a series of four blog posts from Nina Risoli, one of our Tri-Borough Reference Librarians about two of our online reference databases:

You can catch up with last Monday’s post, an introduction to both databases. This week Nina tells us about UK Newsstand.

UK Newsstand lets you access 299 regional and national newspapers and magazines (along with several trade and scholarly journals), from Aberdeen Evening Express to the Yorkshire Post. You can read broadsheets or tabloids, anything from small local newspapers such as Hackney Gazette to the big national newspapers such as The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, within 24 hours of them being pressed. You can also easily catch up with anything you might have missed.

Assorted newspapers
National newspapers
More assorted newspaper titles
Local newspapers

TIP: to gain access to the database you should always go through either the  Kensington and Chelsea’s reference page selecting the relevant database from the links on the right. Or on the Kensington and Chelsea Digital library newspaper page. Click on “View Title List” on the following page for information on publications included in the database, as well as the length of each archive.

Ed Stein cartoon 'Infrastructure' Photo: Ed STein '08 Rocky Mtn News NEA
Ed Stein cartoon ‘Infrastructure’ Photo: Ed Stein ’08 Rocky Mtn News NEA

At the moment the press itself is under scrutiny. Searching for terms such as ‘Levison’ or ‘press regulation’ using UK Newsstand is far superior than searching via a search engine. Search engines will throw up many relevant sites and articles but they will displayed haphazardly and you’ll need at least five more clicks to get to the information you want on each site (then go back and look for another source and so on). Using UK Newsstand gives you a comprehensive list of chronologically ordered results from all the selected publications. This allows you to have an extensive overview how a certain subject was reported in the press.

For serious researchers there is My Research – a place where you can save, manage, and organise the content and supporting materials you find using the database. You can include texts, articles, searches, tags, shared lists, search alerts, RSS feeds, and more.

TIP: Use quotation marks rather than brackets to obtain exact phrases.

TIP: UK Newsstand can be displayed in over 10 languages – the results will still be in English but it may be easier to navigate around the site in your own language!
UK Newsstand provides millions of documents from thousands of sources, covering research and subject areas like these:

  • The Arts 
  • Business
  • Health & Medicine
  • History
  • Literature & Language
  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences

The database offers the full range of searching options. You can use keyword search for the publications you select, you can choose the type of documents you want to view or search Obituaries and death notices to help find ancestors, relatives, and notable figures.

If you wish to have a demonstration of TDA or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library on information@rbkc.gov.uk. A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.

A young newspaper vendor at work in Fleet Street, 1894. Photo: Mary Evans Pictures Library/ Alamy
A young newspaper vendor at work in Fleet Street, 1894. Photo: Mary Evans Pictures Library/ Alamy

Nina Risoli, Tri- Borough Reference Librarian

Nina Risoli
Nina Risoli

Kensington Central Reference Library

Blog Post from Kensington Central Library – December 2012

 

Kensington Central Library in winter
Kensington Central Library

We’re starting to feel Christmassy at Kensington Central Library- hence the picture of the library in the snow!

Christmas Book Display
Christmas Book Display

The decorations are up in the library and we have Christmas books on display in the adult and children’s library. Pop in to take a look- they may help if you’re lacking in inspiration!

Christmas at Kensington Palace
Christmas at Kensington Palace

We’ve also had some Christmas events with the help of the fantastic staff from  Kensington Palace.

On Saturday 10 December there was a Christmas event for our readers at Kensington Palace in Queen Victoria’s bedroom! Everyone had an excellent time listening to some classic Christmas poems and readings whilst munching on mince pies and Christmas cake.

On Monday 10 December the palace came to our children’s library to make Victorian Christmas cards and decorations. 25 children came along and had a fantastic time with ribbons, lace and Victorian pictures!

Victorian Christmas Crafts
Victorian Christmas Crafts
A Happy Young Reader With Her Victorian Christmas Crafts!
A Happy Young Reader With Her Victorian Christmas Crafts!

We thought for this month’s blog post we’d introduce you to some more of the staff at Kensington Central Library and what they do. Before I hand over to them let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Kensington Central Library!

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian

All Change at Kensington Central Library

The recent re-opening of our children’s  library now means that our customers, young and old, are now able to fully utilise the lending library once more.

Kensington Central Children's Library- ready for business!
Kensington Central Children’s Library- ready for business!

Self service equipment has been installed across all service areas bringing us into line with all other Kensington and Chelsea libraries and it has proved a hit with the public, even self-confessed technophobes are being won round to the convenience of being able to issue and return books themselves.

The layout of the library is the most striking difference when you consider the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of the work that has gone into the refurbishment. Gone is the monolithic issue and return counter and the confusing maze of entrance and exit gates, instead Self service kiosks and a book sorter for returns are directly accessible as soon as you enter the library, flanked by attractive shelving for our new book stock as well as current displays.

Further in you can see the result of the restoration of the listed wooden shelving and pillars which literally gleam as a result of a bit much needed bit of TLC. Newer shelving snake along the middle of the library floor replacing the older, taller, metal stands used previously for our CD’s and DVD’s.

And, arguably, our pièce de résistance is the new Children’s and Young Persons space which looks so impressive! It truly is a more welcoming and brighter space for young kids and teens to enjoy.

Kensington Central Children's Library- new under 5s area
Kensington Central Children’s Library- new under 5s area

So please pass it on, we are well and truly open for business.

Mike Green
Mike Green

Mike Green, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Our Young Readers Recommend….

We have some keen young readers returning a much enjoyed book, are invited to share their choice with others by filling in a short review. The book is then displayed with their review recommending it. These recommened reads are very popular-  they fly off the display!

Recommended Reads for Teens
Recommended Reads for Teens

If you’re a teen and you’ve read a fantastic book (or you know a teen who has) then pop in and complete a card!

Penny Girling displaying new books for teens
Penny Girling displaying new books for teens

Penny Girling, Customer Services Assistant

The Biography Collection

As we’ve written about in a previous post, we’ve got an amazing collection of biography books at Kensington Central Library. One of our Customer Services Assistant, Lynn Terrell tells us why she enjoys working with these books:

I love working in the biography collection.  There are such a lot of books, and such a variety.  My own favourites are the books written by ordinary people – not politicians or celebrities, but stories about what it was like to grow up in a village during the Great War, or how it felt to have a grandmother who didn’t believe in self-indulgence (Grandma Called it Carnal by Bertha Damon). 

Part of my job includes creating displays of books from the collection, so that the public have a chance to see some of what we’ve got.  Sometimes I tie this in with other things that are going on, for example, in October, we had Black History Month, and at the moment we’ve got American Presidents, following the recent election.  I try to change the display about once a month, and Childhood Reminiscences will be coming up in March. (Hollywood stars in January, and great lovers and love letters in February.)  It will be interesting to see if others share my enthusiasm for these slightly more obscure but fascinating books.

Because a lot of the books are quite old, and difficult to replace, I have to try to make sure that they are kept in good condition, and sometimes that includes minor repairs. (Photographs in particular have a tendency to fall out, and need to be stuck back in.)  Also, it’s very important that they are all labelled correctly, or they’d end up in the wrong place, and nobody would be able to find them.  Everything that gets put in the biography collection has to be relabelled first, and that’s my job too.

Lynn Terrell
Lynn Terrell

Lynn Terrell, Customer Services Assistant

The Chelsea Blog – December 2012

Chelsea Library
Chelsea Library

Chelsea Library is no stranger to supernatural activity. A lady in crinolines has been spotted by one of the hall keepers, Patrick, floating between the stacks – she may be a normal reader but a clue to her identity is linked to the penny farthing propped up in the mind/body/spirit section. In keeping with the ghostly theme we held a Halloween craft event in the children’s library where children listened to scary stories and then made ghosts, bats and pumpkin face masks. Senior Customer Services Assistant Sue Couteux, came into her own adding straws to the models so the masks could be held up and waved in parents’ faces. The event was bustling and very well attended – twenty two adults and 37 children. It may have been 38 but I don’t think we can count the little boy in knickerbockers who was left behind. A member of staff called the number on his library card—it was only three digits— the house no longer existed.

Halloween craft
Halloween crafts

The children’s library was given an autumnal face lift with a display of tree, clouds and a particularly ferocious squirrel brilliantly designed by Customer Service Assistants, Ewis and Amy. The autumn craft event was an opportunity for children to release their inner pagan and design a green man style face mask. Sue designed plates decorated with cobwebs catching all the seasonal goodies (nuts, berries, mushrooms, squirrels – cut out, coloured in and collaged). We also made a leaf man out of leaves and twigs staff collected during their lunch hour in Battersea Park.  The Leaf Man proved very popular with both children and mums and dads. 52 people attended.

Chelsea Halloween wall
Chelsea Library’s Halloween wall

With the totem pole flashing on and off we erected an erotica display, In Between the Sheets in the main library. It has generated a lot of interest. One reader said ‘how disgusting’ and strode straight across to confirm her opinion. For some reason a book on badgers keeps appearing next to Nabokov’s Lolita notebook—no one has yet dared to check it out.

Chelsea - Between the Sheets shelf
Between the Sheets display

Rob Symmonds, Lending Librarian and Daniel Jeffreys, Customer Services Assistant

Chelsea Library

TextTribe- Our New Online Reading Group

Text Tribe logo
Text Tribe logo

Calling all readers in Kensington and Chelsea! Get involved in TextTribe, our new online reading group brought to you by us and our Triborough library partners Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster.

 Haven’t got time to go to a book group but always wanted to join one? Whether you’re at home looking after the kids or working long or unsociable hours, whether you want to discuss books with like-minded people or hear the views of a wide range of other readers – this group is for you. Once you’ve read the book we’re discussing, make your comments or join in with the discussion on out TextTribe site.

Our first book was ‘Sleepyhead’ by Mark Billingham, the first novel in his successful ‘Thorne’ series (and inspiration for the 2010 TV drama).  As part of the launch of the group, Mark discussed this book at a live event in earlier this month at Kensington Central Library.

  Don’t worry if you missed the event as videoed it especially for those who were unable to attend, and those who sent questions in via Twitter. Hope you enjoy watching them!

In the video he talks about how he became a crime fiction reader (being introduced to Sherlock Holmes at the age of 11 by a teacher), how he moved from being a TV writer and stand-up comedian to first reviewing (for the Ham & High newspaper) and then writing novels, and how Jean-Dominique Bauby’s ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ inspired the plot of ‘Sleepyhead’, his first book.

This video consists of Mark being introduced by David Ruse (Director of Libraries) and Mark’s talk. After his main talk he read a passage from ‘Sleepyhead’ (not filmed) and answered lots of questions.

Here are the four (short) videos of the Q & A sessions with Mark Billingham.

In Pt I, Mark talks about doing the research for his books, the nature of crime writing and the crime series genre, and how he is ambivalent about – and fond of – ‘Sleepyhead’, his first novel.

In Pt II, there are questions and answers about the writing process, why authors need publishers (and editors), and why Mark recommends John Connolly’s ‘The Book of Lost Things’.

In Pt III Mark Billingham talks about genre snobbery, Scandinavian crime writing, setting books in London, naming his characters and how he manages to write a book a year.

Pt IV includes his views on the common features of stand-up comedy and crime writing, how we are all capable of murder, and why he thinks that writer’s block is a myth.

Mark was an excellent guest many thanks to him.

Next Book for TextTribe?

We asked Mark to nominate the next book for the group, and he suggested ‘The Book of Lost Things’ by John Connolly, saying “It’s the last book that made me cry” and adding that it’s the sort of book that you press into friends’ hands, and if they don’t like it you don’t want to be friends with them any more! An excellent choice, and an interesting change – not a crime book, but written by a crime writer.

The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things

There will be copies of ‘The Book of Lost Things’ in all Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster Libraries, so get hold of a copy now!

Text Tribe

Sleepyhead Book
Sleepyhead Book

Well-known crime author Mark Billingham is visiting Kensington Central Library as part of the launch of Text Tribe, the online reading group for Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster Libraries.

The group has begun with Sleepyhead, the first book in Billingham’s successful ‘Thorne’ series, and inspiration for the 2010 TV series.

Mark will be discussing this book and his later publications, including recent standalone title Rush of Blood’.

 All are welcome but booking is strongly advised – visit the Text Tribe website to book your place and to join in!!

Mark Billingham
Mark Billingham