Blog post from the North – July 2013

A very warm welcome (to match the weather!) from our three libraries in the North.

Gingerbread men, crime and creepy houses at Kensal Library

National Bookstart Week at Kensal Library
National Bookstart Week at Kensal Library

We celebrated National Bookstart Week with a special baby rhyme time at Kensal Library.  After reading ‘The Ugly Duckling’ we read ‘The Gingerbread Man’, sang a few songs and then had a craft session where the children coloured in little gingerbread men cut them out and stuck them onto lolly sticks. Then the children made the gingerbread men run as fast as they could. Also we handed out the gingerbread man recipe from Bookstart and we’re hoping to try any that baked! If you’d like the recipe it’s on the Bookstart website.

Malorie Blackman display at Kensal Library
Malorie Blackman display at Kensal Library

As Malorie Blackman has been named as the Children’s Laureate for 2013-2015 we decided to display our lovely new copies of some of her titles.  Leanne Bellot our Customer Services Assistant at Kensal Library helped put together the display.

We love the Creepy House theme for the Summer Reading Challenge and Ruth and I have set up the dump bin in readiness.  We are putting aside lots of great titles and are gearing up for the expected rush of children!

Natasha Chaoui, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Kensal Library

Crime and creepy houses at North Kensington Library

Crime on display at North Kensington Library
Crime on display at North Kensington Library

This month we celebrated the National Crime Writing Month with displays of crime fiction in all our libraries. Pictured here is the crime book display at North Kensington Library complied by Customer Services Assistant, Irani Singh. We have excellent crime fiction collections which include:

  • Classic crime e.g. Agatha Christie mysteries
  • Modern European crime and nordic Noir e.g. Henning Mankell’s Wallender and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series
  • Spooky crime e.g. Ben Aaronovitch’s  Peter Grant Series
  • Celtic crime and tartan noir e.g. Ian Rankin’s inspector Rebus
  • Medieval crime e.g. Ellis Peters’ Cadfael mysteries
  • Light humorous crime e.g.  M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody Series

In fact we have something to suit all tastes. Even if you are not a hard core crime aficionado you will find something that will interest you. For more information visit the Crime Writing Month website

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge got off to a sprint start in our libraries and already we have lots of names on our progression boards. Enroll your children now  and pick up a leaflet about  our programme of Creepy Craft activities and events at your local library.

Children get prizes for reading library books and can engage in lots of fun activities and games on the Creepy House website. There is even an amazing, interactive book sorter to help your child choose books to read. If you don’t have a computer at home they can book time on one of the library computers.

Gaynor Lynch
Gaynor Lynch

Gaynor Lynch, Lending Librarian

North Kensington Library

Bookstart Bear Club at Notting Hill Gate Library

Notting Hill Gate Library's first Bookstart Bear Club completer!
Notting Hill Gate Library’s first Bookstart Bear Club completer!
A big congratulations to our first Bookstart Bear Club Completer!!
Bookstart Bear Club is a free membership scheme for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that opens up an exciting world for parent and child to explore stories, books and rhymes together.
Bookstart Bear Club logo
Bookstart Bear Club logo
Children will receive a free membership pack when they are registered at the library, the pack will contain a membership certificate, bookmark, door hanger and a Bookstart Bear Club passport.
Every time a child visits the library to attend a baby rhyme time, storytime or borrow books, they will get rewarded. Some of the rewards are stickers, stamps, certificates and exclusive to Notting Hill Gate Library, three different teddy bears.
Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Notting Hill Gate Library


The Brompton Blog – May 2013

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Hello and welcome to the May edition of the Brompton Library blog. A recap for those new to us – we are located just 7 minutes walk from Earl’s Court tube station, our medium-sized library caters for a wide variety of people and offers many learning resources:

  • Wide selection of books including fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, children’s and young adult
  • Language courses
  • Audio-books and large-print titles
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Travel guides and Ordnance Survey maps
  • Computers with scanning and printing facilities
  • Free wi-fi
  • Colour photocopier
  • Digital library
  • Children’s story-time and singing sessions
  • Fortnightly coffee mornings (age 50+)

  If you would like to join the library all you need is some identification with proof of UK address. The membership process takes only five minutes and once you are registered you will have access to all of our libraries across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

 In addition to all of these resources there are a multitude of events and groups that meet on the first floor. Our meeting room can be hired for public and corporate events and there is also a separate learning space that features a projector with screen, ten desktop computer terminals, a scanner and colour photocopier.

Here are some of the groups and activities that meet here:

  • Tai-Chi and pilates classes
  • Job seeking support and advice club for those with learning difficulties
  • Reading groups for adults and children
  • Councillor surgeries
  • ESOL classes
  • Bibliotherapy sessions
  • Housing advice sessions
  • IT for beginners classes

 There’s more  information about our meeting room on our website.

 Go outside!

'Go Outside' book display
‘Go Outside’ book display

Customer Services Assistant, artist, musician and Norwich City supporter David Bushell has created a display of books to inspire people to get outdoors and become involved in activities.

Katie’s Corner

Brompton Library’s reading group read ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes for their May meeting.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

It is about a man called Tony who is left a mysterious bequest by an ex-girlfriend’s mother. This leads him back into the days of his adolescence and university life, of four boys hanging out together, one of whom was Adrian, a dazzlingly brilliant person, destined for greatness. As Tony digs deeper into his past he uncovers more and more about the ‘missing years’ and how that compares to his rather conventional life.

Having read this book for the second time I was keen to know what the others thought about it. My first impression of Tony was that he was a rather chinless, useless character who set out to achieve great things but had quite a banal life. Reading it on the second occasion offered me the chance to change my opinion about him; I actually felt more sympathy for Tony this time round. One reader really felt that the behaviour of the young men at school and university only furnished her view that men were the cause of most of the world’s problems, so misguided and dreadful they were. Most really loathed Veronica (one of Tony’s girlfriends) and her very snobbish family, whose dad and brother did their best to make him feel uncomfortable.

What we all agreed upon was that the book started out like something from ‘The History Boys’ by Alan Bennett but then became absorbed with the Tony in later life and this slow build-up to a real bombshell, you could feel it from the few clues that were scattered about for Tony that it was going to be BIG.

I absolutely loved this book – there is a kind of philosophy running through it – and it makes you ponder – how we all view historical events and who said what can be completely blown out of the water. We are all imperfect and therefore history must be too.

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Service Assistant

World Book Night 2013

World Book Night books on display at Brompton Library
World Book Night books on display at Brompton Library

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed books in their communities to share their love of reading. World Book Night is celebrated on 23 April. In 2013 it was celebrated in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

 Before rushing up to Kensington Central Library on World Book Night, as a book-giver I had 20 copies of Rose Tremain’s The Road Home to distribute to  readers at Brompton Library.  I decided to try to give them to our customers who primarily use the library’s computers. 

At the end of the day there were only 2 copies left! And I gave these last copies to two of the teachers who came in with their classes the next day.

World Book Night is a good cause and it was great fun being involved with it.

Premier League Reading Stars

Premier League Reading Stars logo
Premier League Reading Stars logo

Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) is a partnership between the National Literacy Trust and the Premier League to support hundreds of schools and libraries during 2012 and 2013.

At the beginning of the month, Rob Symmons from Chelsea Library and I finally played host to the first “fixture” in a season of ten PLRS sessions. A local school has selected 9 pupils who they have judged will benefit from this football-themed scheme to improve their literacy skills. It was with much trepidation that we approached this project, neither of us having had any previous experience of delivering what is really a lesson to a bunch of nine year olds but, of course, it turned out to be fine. Rob and I are on a steep learning curve but, at the end of the day, we were over the moon – no yellow cards and lots of goals!

Stephanie Webb
Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Lending Librarian

Bookstart Bear Club

Bookstart Bear Club logo
Bookstart Bear Club logo

At one of our Saturday Storyland sessions this month Senior Customer Services Assistant, Katie and Customer Services Assistant, Rahima introduced the Bookstart Bear Club.

They gave out membership packs which include a booklet to collect bear paw stamps for each of the children who visit the library for story or rhyme times. For each six stamps collected the children get a certificate.

They read bear stories to the children including ‘This is the Bear’ by Sarah Hayes and ‘Copycat Bear’ by Ellie Sandall.

Our colouring pictures were from the Bookstart website, and the children made a picture by sticking on balloon shapes with the bear.

Bookstart balloon picture
Bookstart balloon picture

There will be another story and craft session on Thursday 30 May at 10.30am; we are continuing the bear theme using ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’.



This month the theme was spies and thrillers and true to its name it was packed with thrilling espionage activities. There were code making and code breaking puzzles, ideas for spy disguises and how to tell ‘goodie’ from a ‘baddie’.

 We discussed loads of books on this theme. There was a competition on drawing a spy gadget and the best gadget which won was the DNA matching revolver. The children were very enthusiastic and it was wonderful sharing their innovative ideas.

The children also enjoyed chatting about their favourite spies and there was no confusion in choosing Mr Bond unanimously.

Our next meeting is on Monday 10 June and the theme will be comics and humour.

 Babita Sinha and Ioanna Misdrakou