Blog post from the North – May 2013

North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library

Welcome to our May blog post from our libraries in the North.

Notting Hill Gate Library

Walk to Work Week, 13 to 17 May 2013

Notting Hill Gate Library celebrated Walk to Work Week earlier this month.

Walk to Work display at Notting Hill Gate Library
Walk to Work display at Notting Hill Gate Library

Here are some walking facts:

  • On average, every minute of walking can extend your life by 1.5 to 2 minutes
  • Longer, moderately-paced daily walks are best for losing weight
  • Shorter, faster walks are best for conditioning your heart and lungs
  • Walking burns body fat, increases energy, slows ageing, reduces the risk of cancer and elevates your mood.

For more information about this campaign, visit the Walk to Work Week website.

Crocheting Divas

Learning how to crochet
Learning how to crochet

On Saturday 18 May the Crocheting Divas came to show us how to crochet like a Diva! This was part of our Adult Learners’ Week events.

They taught us to crochet flowers, brooches and hats. Crocheting relaxes the mind and is good for the emotional wellbeing.

Crocheting flowers
Crocheting flowers

If you would like to crochet (like a diva!) they will be at Kensal Library every Monday, 1.15pm to 3pm.

The Crocheting Divas!
The Crocheting Divas!

The DIVAS provide the wool and refreshments. Bring your own crochet hooks (size 3 and 4) and a £1 donation.

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library

Kensal Library

New baby rhyme time

Baby rhyme time
Baby rhyme time

We have recently changed our storytime session to a baby rhyme time session every Friday at 10.30 to 11.00am.  We have a regular nursery group attending who are very enthusiastic and love hearing a few stories before we embark on a round of nursery rhymes ending with the very popular ‘Jumping Bean’ song.

Butterfly crowns

A beautiful butterfly!
A beautiful butterfly!

We will be having a half term craft event on Friday 31st May at 3 to 4pm.  We will be making butterfly crowns so keep a look out for any children wearing them in the north of the borough!

Chatterbooks

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

We had an interesting Chatterbooks session this month.  The group read a fairytale (Rapunzel) and then we wrote our own fairytales but we wrote one paragraph then passed it on to the person sitting to the left of us and carried on until the story was finished.  We ended up with some very wacky and funny tales!

Natasha Chaoui,

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Kensal Library

North Kensington Library

Chatterbooks 

On Thursday 25 April our Chatterbooks group met at our usual time of 4 pm in children’s library.  As this was part of our Cityread London events we chose London and the London Underground as themes for this meeting.  Nine children attended the session; most of them were eight years old. We had one participant who was only four years old but he desperately wanted to join us and with his mother’s assistance he enjoyed every minute of it!

One of our Chatterbooks members
One of our Chatterbooks members

First we read one story from ‘London Stories’ book written by Jim Eldrige.  The stories describe London through its history up to today as seen through the eyes of the city’s children.  We read the first story which gave us some facts about London in Roman times.  Four children participated in reading and then we had short discussion about the historic facts in the story we read.

Cutting out some London Underground images
Cutting out some London Underground images

The second part of the session was the most enjoyable for the children as they used their creativity and imagination in creating futuristic posters for the London Underground.  They cut some images and did drawings and at the end we got a few lovely posters for our display. 

Creating some London Underground posters
Creating some London Underground posters

After successful work they all deserved quick refreshment with Jaffa Cakes.  Before leaving the children wanted to know when the next meeting was going to be and they were told that our next Chatterbooks meeting is held on the last Thursday in a month – which is 30 May next time.  Goodbye till then!

Adisa Behmen- Kreso
Adisa Behmen- Kreso

Adisa Behmen-Kreso

Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library

 Words about the World  – travel writing book display

Words about the World book display at North Kensington Library
Words about the World book display at North Kensington Library

Summer is coming and for the adventurous and even the armchair traveller we have we have a display of travel writing and travel guides. We also have readers’ wall inviting you to recommend your favourite book about travel or holiday destination.  Contributions so far include destinations Brazil and Venice  recommended travel books  Brazil by Michael Palin, Lonely planet guide to Croatia and Eye witness travel guide to Vienna.

Readers' wall
Readers’ wall

Books on display include old favourites such as Dervla Murphy’s ‘Full tilt: Ireland to India with a bicycle’ and Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’. My favourite new titles are Tom Fort’s ‘The A303: Highway to the sun’ and John Osborne’s ‘Don’t need the sunshine’. 

Travel books
Travel books

I have many treasured memories of travelling along the A303 in the 1960s to Devon and then on to Cornwall. And was there sunshine? I remember windy days playing cricket on the beach and clambering up the rocky cliffs to retrieve the ball. We had lots of fun and we didn’t need the sun.

Gaynor Lynch
Gaynor Lynch

Gaynor Lynch

Lending Librarian, North Kensington 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’.

Chatterbooks 

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

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

Blog post from the North – April 2013

North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library

Children’s events in the frozen North

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
(Chaucer – Prologue to the Canterbury tales)

We could have done with some more gentle weather over Easter for our Cityread London story and craft session at North Kensington Library.  A handful of children braved the wind and snow to attend the session at on Thursday 8 April. Senior Customer Service Assistant, Adisa led the transport themed session.

Making buses at North Kensington Library
Making buses at North Kensington Library

Children coloured and cut out models of buses, taxis, trains etc and completed transport themed puzzles and quizzes. Eventually the snow stopped, the session ended and then scores more children were blown in through the doors so we left the craft materials out so the late arrivals could continue.

Zvezdana with her dodecahedron!
Zvezdana with her dodecahedron!

The following week, Thursday 11 April, the weather faired much better. No snow so plenty of children arrived for the football themed session led by Senior Customer Service Assistant, Zvezdena. The children coloured and cut out an ingenious dodecahedron template, demonstrated by Zvezdana, to create their own personalised footballs.

Colouring in footballs at North Kensington Library
Colouring in footballs at North Kensington Library
And yet more footballs being created at North Kensington Library
And yet more footballs being created at North Kensington Library

Gaynor Lynch

 Gaynor Lynch

Lending Librarian

Chatterbooks at Kensal Library

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

Chatterbooks is held one Thursday a month from 4 to 5pm.  The group are very lively but welcoming and often make me laugh.  We always have room for new members – so do come along!

To find out more about Chatterbooks and when our next meeting is – check out the Chatterbooks page on the library’s website.

Natasha Chaoui

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Reading Group at North Kensington Library

Reading group logo
Reading group logo

Our reading group meets every first Monday of the month at 6.30pm, in the Learning Space at North Kensington Library.  We are a small and very friendly group, always open to new members if you would like to come along and try it.

Some of the things members have said about the group are:

I like coming because it makes me read something completely different than what I normally read, and I have discovered some new authors that I love
It’s great fun to talk with other people about a book we’ve all read
I get fantastic book recommendations from other book club members

We read a broad range of fiction, a different book each month, so there is something for everyone.   Recently the group has read ‘Mary Barton’ by Elizabeth Gaskell, ‘My Name is Red’ by Orhan Pamuk, ‘This Book Will Change Your Life by A.M. Holmes and we read the Cityread London book ‘A Week in December’  by Sebastian Faulks.

The group will meet next on Monday 13 May at 6.30pm and we’ll be discussing ‘Sweet Tooth’ by Ian McEwan. If you would like more information about the reading group, or would like to join and borrow a copy of the book for next month, contact me at North Kensington Library.

Ishwari Prince
Ishwari Prince

Ishwari Prince

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Craft session at Notting Hill Gate

Father and child at Notting Hill Gate second craft session, with paper aeroplane
Father and child at Notting Hill Gate second craft session, with paper aeroplane

Today we had our second Craft session at Notting Hill Gate Library. We made and decorated paper aeroplanes, then flew them around the library!

Notting Hill Gate second craft session
Notting Hill Gate’s second craft session

We also decorated pictures of flying dragons. Parents and staff joined in on the fun, flying, collecting and trying to find aeroplanes around the library when they would land in the wrong target zone.

Join us at our next session on Saturday 25 May.

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

by Ihssan Dhimi

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Blog post from the North – March 2013

North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library

Welcome to our blog post from the north! This month we thought we’d tell you about the exciting things that have been happening at all three of the libraries in the north – Kensal, Notting Hill Gate and North Kensington, libraries.

What’s been happening at North Kensington’s Children’s Library?

This past two months we have had a very busy time in North Kensington Children’s library and it continues to be so.

Ishwari Prince
Ishwari Prince

Saturday 9 February was National Libraries Day.  To celebrate this Senior Customer Services Assistant Ishwari Prince led a children’s craft and story session with ‘create your own book’.  This involved some origami type folding and cutting to make simple books, which the children filled with their own ideas, pictures and stories.  We were all very impressed with the creative and original ideas the children came up with, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Please visit the National Libraries Day website for more information about this day.

Valentine's Day crafts on display
Valentine’s Day crafts on display

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Zvezdana Popovic launched our new after school children’s story and craft Sessions (second Thursday of every month, 4pm to 5pm) on  Valentine’s Day  with appropriately themed crafts and romantic verse.

Spring books on display
Spring books on display

We are celebrating Spring Time with a display of books including fact books about animals, urban nature trails and nature guides, festivals such as Easter and Holi and stories for children of all ages.  We have lots of picture books and board books about spring animals.  For toddlers and babies we have I love rabbits, an interactive touch and feel book full of adorable fluffy rabbits.

My favourite fact books are Wild Town: Wildlife on your doorstep by Mike Dilger  and Usborne Spotter’s Guides: Urban Wildlife. You don’t have to visit the countryside or have a garden to enjoy nature. Both of these beautifully illustrated books introduce you to the secret world of wildlife in our cities and towns. They give useful tips on where to spot birds, animals, plants and creepy-crawlies in your local park, alongside rivers and canals and even on your doorstop or under your roof!

Gaynor Lynch
Gaynor Lynch

Gaynor Lynch

Lending Librarian, North Kensington Library

North Kensington Library’s Chatterbooks club

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

North Kensington Library’s Chatterbooks club is a reading group for children aged 8 to 12 years.   The club members meet on the last Thursday of the month at 4pm in North Kensington Children’s Library.  The club gives opportunity for children to share their reading experiences, discuss books, do fun activities including writing stories and poetry, quizzes and word search.  New members are welcome, so come and join us! Check out our Chatterbooks page for more information.

Adisa Behmen-Kreso

Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library

New story and craft sessions at Notting Hill Gate Library

Story and craft sessions
Story and craft sessions

Notting Hill Gate Library will be holding monthly story and craft sessions on the last Saturday of every month. Come have fun with your children, give them a chance to explore their creativity, meet new friends and better yet it’s free!

The first session will be on Saturday 27 April, 11.30 am to 12.30pm. Hope to see you and your children there!

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library

What’s been happening at Kensal Library?

Kensal Library
Kensal Library

Come along to hear wonderful stories read by engaging friendly staff at Kensal Library at our storytime sessions every Friday from 11am to 11.30am.   One Mum commented that her son and herself thought the staff were ‘amazing’.

We have a new collection of Portuguese and Arabic titles in stock which reflect the needs of our community here in the north of the borough. There’s more information about our this collection on our books in other languages page on our website.

Our first story and craft event was well attended and the children enjoyed the theme.  We read a fictional story about sharks and then looked at some non-fiction books and talked about sharks and why people are scared of them and how we can protect endangered species before making some spectacular shark jaws! The next session will be on Saturday 13 April from 3 to 4pm and will be tied in to our Cityread London events.

Natasha Chaoui

Senior Customer Services Assistant,  Kensal Library

The Chelsea Blog – February 2013

Chelsea Library
Chelsea Library

Hello from us all at Chelsea Library! This is our third blog post and this time we wanted to tell you more about a couple of the regular events that happen here every month.

Chatterbooks at Chelsea Library

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

Chatterbooks are reading groups for children aged eight to twelve years old – there’s more information on our Chatterbooks page on our website.

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year

On Saturday 9 February the Chelsea Chatterbooks group celebrated Chinese New Year. The children could look at, play with and borrow all the books we collected for the occasion from around the libraries in the borough: Chinese martial arts, the Terracotta Army, Calligraphy, ancient emperors, Chinese cookery… it’s amazing how many fantastic things come from China!

A Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library
A Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library

 We had New Year Chinese music in the background and lucky red decorations all around the library. We found out what Chinese horoscope sign we all were: we had Monkeys, Pigs and a Rat! What a party!

Another Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library!
Another Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library!

 The kids also did some crafts and answered a quiz about China. The best entry will win a free book – he winner will be announced at our next Chatterbooks meeting.

We are holding our free Chatterbooks sessions on the second Saturday of each month, from 10am. All kids aged eight to twelve are invited – just turn up on the day. The more the merrier!

The Chelsea Library Chatterbooks Gang

Chelsea Library’s reading group

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it.   – C.S Lewis

 Enjoy reading?  Book groups are a great way to develop your critical thinking in an informal context whilst deepening your appreciation of literature.  They can be a lot of fun too.  Whether you’re a book club veteran or would just like to meet new people and try something new, please do come along to Chelsea Library’s reading group.  For those who haven’t been to the last meeting a copy of the next month’s title can be picked up at the reservations shelf.  Just ask a member of staff.  

The Long Song by Andrea Levy
The Long Song by Andrea Levy

 At our next meeting on 21 March we’ll be discussing ‘The Long Song’ by Andrea Levy.  You will have the chance to take home a free copy of Sebastien Faulks’ ‘A Week in December,’ courtesy of the London-wide Cityread project.  Cityread London is a campaign to spread a love of books and reading to the widest possible audience throughout our capital. (More information about this campaign can be found on the Cityread website).  This year’s title is set in London and if the reviews on are anything to go by it looks like being literary Marmite – or perfect fodder for a lively meeting, disputatious but always civil.  

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

 The group is welcoming with a respect and understanding that individuals will differ in how much they wish to comment and hold forth in discussions.  In depth knowledge of the text is not assumed or required, although having read the book will certainly help!  The titles for this year have been selected up ’til September and we’re doing some time travelling, exploring some classics through Hardy’s ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ and Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’.   We’re also visiting the 1970s with Ian McEwan’s latest offering ‘Sweet Tooth’, described by the author as “a way in which I can write disguised autobiography”.   One of the contemporary treats is Patrick Dewitt’s offbeat and picaresque Man Booker shortlisted adventure ‘The Sister’s Brother’s’.  

 And finally, some good news: we can now plunder the treasures of the Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster Libraries’ reading group collections. and vice versa.     

James Dunne
James Dunne

James Dunne

Customer Services Assistant

Chelsea Children’s Library – refurbishment

Just to let you know – Chelsea Children’s Library will be refurbished in March – so it’ll be closed from Monday 11 March 2013 for a couple of weeks. All regular children’s sessions such as baby rhyme time and storytime will be postponed while the children’s library is out of action. We’re really sorry about this – sessions will be taking place at our other libraries during this time so please take a look at children’s events page on our website.