Are you ready to read?

Join the Record Breakers Summer Reading Challenge!

Schools have well and truly broken up for the summer and several more weeks of long holiday lie ahead… what will your children be doing? Visit your local library this summer to see all the events and activities for children which are on offer. There are events on throughout the holidays, so there is lots to choose from!

Record Breakers logo

If your children like a Challenge, why not bring them to join this year’s Record Breakers? All they need to do is read 6 library books over the holidays, and they’ll receive stickers and rewards for telling us about them.

It’s free to join, just visit your nearest library to sign up – all that’s needed is a library card. There’s a medal for everyone who reads 6 books!

What weird, wonderful or wacky records will you and your kids discover?

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!

Chatterbooks at Brompton library

Stephanie Webb, Lending Librarian at Brompton Library, writes:

The Chatterbooks session on Monday 9 March was both a happy and a sad occasion as it was the last one led by Babita Sinha. Babita is leaving at the end of March and has led Chatterbooks here at Brompton for five years and before that at Chelsea for three years. She has a devoted following of children who will be very sad to see her go.

Babita's last Chatterbooks session at Brompton Library, March 2015
Babita’s last Chatterbooks session at Brompton Library, March 2015

However, she went out in style with a (slightly premature) Shakespeare Week event which had the kids searching the children’s area for Shakespearean clues, followed by word searches and other quizzes and some readings from the bard. All this was helped along with some naughty nibbles to mark Babita’s last session.

So, Babita is leaving (Boo-hoo!) but Katie Collis will be taking over (Hurrah!) in May.

Chatterbooks session at Brompton Library, March 2015
Chatterbooks session at Brompton Library, March 2015

There’s still room for a few more at our Chatterbooks reading group which is on the third Monday of each month at 3.45pm

“You’re a Wizard, Harry”

Leanne Bellot, CSA North Kensington Library, writes:

On Thursday 5th February 2015, North Kensington Library joined the thousands of Muggles, Witches, and Wizards that convened across the UK to celebrate the very first Harry Potter Book Night.

Magic 15Unbelievably, it has been seventeen years since the first publication of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. In that time, Harry Potter has evolved into a global phenomenon that has touched and inspired a generation. Harry Potter Book Night was a great opportunity for fans old and new to share their knowledge, learn new tid-bits, and celebrate this enchanting story. It was also a brilliant and exciting way to introduce prospective readers to the franchise. There were so many great moments, both in the planning stages and during the actual event. Here is a summary of some of the mischief managed!

Decoration Preparation

I drew inspiration from some of the most iconic scenes in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” to form ideas on how to best transform the Children’s library into a little piece of the Wizarding world.

From “Chocolate Frogs” to “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans”, we had some of the best wizarding confectionary on display in our window. Although the actual chocolate frogs were nowhere to be seen, we did remember to display our collectible wizard cards.

The handmade wands we produced were pretty impressive; they came in different colours, a variety of cores (dragon heartstring, unicorn hair and phoenix feathers), different sizes, and were at least two Galleons cheaper. Ollivander, the famed wand-maker, had better watch out!

Mirror of ErisedZvezdana Popovic, our senior customer service assistant, created a charming version of the Mirror of Erised. In the book, the mirror is described as being able to show people their hearts’ deepest desires through their reflection. For Harry, who has never known his parents, this desire manifested in a vision of a loving family with living parents. Visitors to the library were encouraged to look into the mirror and share what they saw looking back at them.

Of course, no Philosopher’s Stone celebration would be complete without a Sorting Hat. I made our Sorting Hat from newspaper, mod rock and a copious amount of glue. It took two weeks to make all the props and although it did get a bit messy, it was not only great fun but also incredible to see the faces of the children who saw everything for the first time on the day.

Hogwarts: A “New” History

If you knew anything about the architecture of Hogwarts, forget it. Ours was actually built during our January Story and Craft session. Led by Zvezdana, the attendees were invited to help design and construct their very own School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Billards, one of the families in attendance, helped to design and decorate one of the castle’s sides. I can hardly tell the difference between ours and the one used for the movies – it is just that great. Happily, the family also came along to the main event and posed for some lovely photographs in front of their hard work.

Harry Potter Book Night: Madam Malkin’s Robes and the Sorting Hat Ceremony

Zvezdana brought a chest full of wonderfully magical looking cloaks, robes and cloths that the children wasted no time in using to dress up in. Likewise, we staff members had a lot of fun dressing up for the event. Lynn Terrel (Kensington Central Library) looked the part in a very McGonagall-esque outfit that had many children exclaim excitedly upon her entrance. Silva Memic, Sophie Rose and Zvezdana all looked great in their velvety magical ensembles and I did my best impression of a Gryffindor student (although obviously, it was a bad decision as I quickly received a rather stern telling off from one young witch for failing to choose Ravenclaw as my house – maybe next year?).

Without a doubt, the best dressed of the night had to be the young wizard who came as a young Harry Potter. He looked absolutely fantastic in his Gryffindor robes and took it like a champion even when he was subsequently sorted into Slytherin.

The Sorting Hat ceremony was loud, lots of fun and a great photo opportunity. The children were invited to sit on the chair and have the hat placed upon their head before blindly selecting a house from the sorting chest. Once sorted, they were given their house sticker which they wore with pride. The completion of the Sorting Hat ceremony led into the House Cup Quiz. The quiz turned out to be a really, really, passionate affair with Gryffindor as the ultimate winners. It was amazing to watch how quickly the questions were being answered and how eager each child was to earn points for their house. Next time, we will definitely need harder questions!

Mariam El Boukilli, who came to the event, shared her thoughts on the evening “I really liked the Sorting Hat and it was fun making the crafts. I liked playing Musical Statues (Stuperfy), the quiz was good – even if we didn’t win, and the prizes and sweets were really good. I had a lot of fun!”

Klaudija Cermak

We were incredibly lucky to host the talented Klaudija Cermak for a special presentation. A specialist in visual digital effects; some of Klaudija’s credits include work on two Harry Potter films, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I”. In the “Chamber of Secrets”, Moaning Myrtle, the ghost that haunts the girls’ bathroom, was her main responsibility. Klaudija revealed that she had initially been asked to work on the digital effects for the spiders but had to decline due to her arachnophobia. In the seventh film, Klaudija was responsible for the wand fighting scene between Harry, Ron and Hermione and the Death Eaters in the café. It was interesting to hear how the director would first share his vision, resulting in different processes and techniques she would then employ in order to create a product that everyone was satisfied with. The films “Troy” and “Gladiator” also appear on Klaudija’s long credit list and when briefly mentioned, Zvezdana was quick to point out that most of the audience were still restricted to U and PG certificates, much to everyone’s amusement.

It was a brilliant experience and I’m already planning for next year!

“He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting up in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (A quote has never been truer!)

Happy National Libraries Day!

Today, 7 February is National Libraries Day – are you coming to the library today? We’d love to see you.

National Libraries DayIf you haven’t been to the library for a while, pick your nearest one and come and find out what we have to offer.

Just come in and have a look at our wide range of books for both adults and children, use the library computers, ask a question, borrow a DVD or CD, find out about local history at the Local Studies Collection, or use the study space we offer.

On Saturdays in Kensington and Chelsea Libraries you can find a range of story times for children and IT help sessions. There are regular events every day that we’re open, with a brilliant programme of special events throughout the year.

If you can’t get to the library today, have a look at our brilliant online resources – you can download e-books and e-audiobooks for free, and use the Times newspaper archives and Berg Fashion Library (and more) from home too.

There are loads of reasons to love libraries this National Libraries Day. Come and find out why!

Christmas has arrived at Brompton Library!

Steph, Librarian at Brompton Library, writes: 

Brompton has now swung into full Christmas mode! We had our first Christmas craft session last Saturday and the youngsters decorated little card Christmas trees with glitter and all manner of sticky things. Their parents and carers were delighted!

Glue, sequins, paper...Christmas fun!
Glue, sequins, paper…Christmas fun!

Elisabeth has created an Advent Christmas tree and adds a new box to it every day for the children to decorate (I don’t know where she gets all her great ideas for the kids!)

Advent tree
Advent tree

For the grown-ups we have our terribly tasteful Christmas tree complete with presents (library stock) underneath for the taking plus our hand-picked display of Christmassy books, CDs and films.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

 

Christmas music, books and more!
Christmas music, books and more!

For the rest of this month we have another Christmas craft session for children this Friday– please join us!

From Monday 15th December onwards the staff will be initiating the public who may be giving or receiving tablets and e-book readers into how to download our new, improved collection.

Party!

Babita Sinha, SCSA at Brompton library, writes:

Just like last year, the kids at Brompton Library performed very well in the Summer Reading Challenge this year too. We had an extra special party for all those who completed the Summer Reading Challenge and read six books over the summer – A huge well done to them all.

We combined the Finishers Party on 15th September with the re-launch of Chatterbooks, our monthly reading group for children.

There were 30 children who joined us for the party. We had loads of fun, food and music. They played musical chairs and statues, coloured their favourite characters from the Mythical Maze and took part in a Mythical Hunt. They loved the theme this year very much. They had their favourite monsters: Ben’s favourite monster was the Minotaur, whereas Nessie was Stephanie’s favourite.

Musical statues!
Musical statues!

They enjoyed the party very much and are waiting for the next one….

We had lots of enthusiatic comments about reading:

From Lana
From Lana
From Estelle
From Estelle

As if that wasn’t enough our special guest Mike Clarke, Director-TriBorough Libraries and Archives, rolled up his sleeves and joined in the fun! (Sadly, no photos available…)

If you want to find out more about Chatterbooks, or any of our children’s activities, look on our website or ask in a library!

Summer Reading Challenge success!

The summer holidays drew to a close last week and with it ended this year’s summer reading challenge…and what a challenge it was! We had Medusas at Chelsea, sea monsters at Brompton, yetis and unicorns all over the place:  all kinds of weird and wonderful fantasy creatures appearing across the borough.

 

Mermaid Madness!
Mermaid Madness!

This year saw hundreds of children taking part, and almost all completing the challenge and triumphantly taking home their SRC certificates. A huge well done to them all…and what have our staff got to say about their Mythical maze experiences?

This is my third year of being involved in the Summer Reading Challenge and feel like an old hand now! The Mythical Maze theme was really popular with the kids and they loved their own Maze and getting the stickers. The rewards were better this year and, for those who knew how to fold them, the fortune tellers went down very well – I think all the staff were accosted by children wanting to tell their fortunes! We’ve been helped this year (as in previous years) by some really great volunteers, 3 of whom have been with us at least once before and our newbies have done really well at engaging the kids – we’d have been really hard pressed without them! Here at Brompton we were all a bit worried that we’d set the bar quite high last year and wouldn’t get the same level of participation this year but so far we have even more starters and finishers than last year, and we’re still counting! Our finishers are now looking forward to the party later in the month.

Medusa
Medusa

Yes, don’t forget the summer reading challenge finisher’s party- coming soon to a library near you!

And from a volunteer…

I was extremely impressed by the new iPad sessions that were introduced this summer. It is great to promote new technology in libraries and in turn see it become more modernised. The children very visibly enjoyed exploring the library with the iPads, trying to scan all of the characters and discovering the challenging games in the app.

As I have been volunteering for a couple of summers, people often ask me why do I keep coming back. The answer is simple. I do it to promote reading skills, I do it for the joy on children’s faces and I do it for all the lovely librarians. And I hope to keep doing it for many more summers to come!

one of our brilliant volunteers
One of our brilliant volunteers

The Mythical Maze app was a great bonus this year- it (literally!) brought the monsters alive!

And from Chelsea library:

Dozens of volunteers signed up before the beginning of summer to help out in the borough’s libraries. They were here for one specific purpose – the summer reading challenge! Once accepting the challenge, and receiving a maze poster, there were prizes for entrants to win along the way. For each book there was the chance to win scratch and sniff stickers (thankfully not as smelly as last year!), wristbands, keychains and a maze puzzle – which folds into a chatterbox. On completing 6 books, challengers received a gold medal and certificate!

Alongside the challenge, there have been numerous activities and craft sessions held, based around the ‘Mythical Maze’; including pop-up cards, mask making and model building…

Yeti
Yeti

So, as the summer holidays draw to a end, the challenge is nearly over, and with it hundreds of prizes won and numerous challenges completed! This reflects the success of last year and hopefully shows to be a sign that next year will build upon this…

We’re sure it will!

Staff, volunteers, and of course the children all had great fun with the summer reading challenge this year- it’s been creative, exciting, and, well, monstrous and mythical!

Nessie!
Nessie!

…and mythical monsters take over Brompton!

Well, as you can see from the photo, the Summer Reading Challenge has really kicked off here at Brompton Library. We love the Mythical Maze theme this year and so does everyone taking part!

Last week we packed out the Learning Space with busy children making monster pop-up cards: it soon turned into an impromptu design session with World Cup football players, penguins and the odd Medusa or two!

Mythical Maze activities at Brompton Library
Mythical Maze activities at Brompton Library

So far, so very good: we have had over 170 children joining the challenge – so lots and lots of reading as well as craft activities taking place here over the summer holidays!

If you’re interested in joining our Summer Reading Challenge, and taking part in our Summer Reading Challenge activities,  you can find out more on our website here, or ask a member of staff at your local library!

Matisse meets Pharrell at North Kensington Children’s library

Zvezdana Popovic, North Kensington Senior Customer Services Assistant, writes…

Come and see the amazing display created by the children of North Kensington Library.

Matisse meets Pharrell – Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth!
Matisse meets Pharrell – Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth!

It all began with just five pieces of art produced at our June Art and Craft session inspired by Matisse’s Cut-outs exhibition at Tate Modern. Soon everybody wanted to make and add their own pieces. Suddenly we had cut outs of hands all over the place – and if you have more hands, the natural thing to do is to CLAP!

So we clapped and the idea was born …

Matisse display (2) Matisse display (3) Matisse display (6) Matisse display (7)

We named our display: Matisse meets Pharrell – Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.

Matisse meets Pharrell!
Matisse meets Pharrell!