Escape the tinsel, mince pies and mulled wine madness with a good book- tell the family you’re off to wrap some presents, disappear into the spare room with a cup of tea (or g&t) for a couple of hours, and let them get on with Christmas while you lose yourself in a bit of reading…
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
To see what other events we have check out our What’s On page on our website.
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!
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.
Kensal Library is looking very festive: we have our tree and snowflakes up and some wonderful winter displays for our stock (which we have had to top up several times!). A Westminster resident who came into the library commented that Kensal was lovely, bright and fresh (thanks!).
Leanne Bellot, one of our Kensal CSA’s, has created a very cosy looking winter fireplace design to showcase some of our favourite festive reads. Thanks to Laryssa, one of our regulars, who helped Leanne with the display.
Last Friday saw our special Winter Baby Rhyme Time party: we read some Christmas stories, sang some classics like ‘When Santa got stuck up the chimney’ and ‘Christmas Pudding’ (accompanied by noisy rattles and bells!) and had a craft session making Santa beards. All the children went home with a colouring book, a puzzle and a big smile.
Our last Crochet Diva session was on Monday 16 December. The ladies who come regularly to this event really enjoy the session and the company and have produced some lovely pieces of work. For a couple of sessions they made jewellery and this proved to be very popular so watch this space for future sessions of jewellery making – perfect if you want to learn a new skill in 2014! The next Crochet Diva session will be on Monday 6 January at the usual time of 1.15 to 3.15pm.
All the staff at Kensal wish our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
It has been a busy month at Brompton library. We have noted a surge in new members and our books seem to be flying off the shelves as the frosty weather convinces borrowers to stock up on reading material for the festive period. Whether you need some ideas for Christmas recipes or fancy browsing through our brand new crime and romantic fiction titles, sports and celebrity biographies or a fantastic selection of new cookery books we have something for everyone. Why not browse some of our stock through the online catalogue?
Elisabeth impressed us all by making an Advent calendar which stands in the toddlers’ corner of the Children’s area. As someone who can’t cut a straight line, let alone a circle, I’m in awe of people who can do crafts!
On the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30 our story and craft sessions allow young children to participate in reading and small art projects. With just over a week until Christmas, Brompton library has been getting into the spirit with a seasonal craft and story session. Library assistant Rahima and Lisa, our Saturday volunteer, had the kids making lots of Rockin’ Robins! They loved it, and for the tiny tots there are always colouring-in sheets.
The theme of our monthly craft session was based on a story about a generous robin who gave away his seven vests to keep all the other animals he met warm. This story inspired the children to create their own robin. Using paper plates which were folded in half to create a rocking robin; the children sat around the table, colouring pens poised on paper ready to colour. The choice of colour varied as one child confidently says to the other children, “maybe a thousand years ago, there were multicoloured robins”, so with those words of encouragement the children chose their favourite colours. When the power of imagination lets loose our creativity, the end results are that we produce things that are unique; this was evident in this craft session as there were multicoloured, stripy and flowery rocking robins.
Intergenerational project at Brompton
After the success of Brompton’s collaboration with Celebrate My Library on the “Creepy Library” book I‘m very pleased to be working with them again on a project called “Our Community, Our Stories”. This will bring together young people from our Chatterbooks group and older residents from the Kensington and Chelsea Older Residents Forum to explore the differences between life as a child now and life for a child as it was when our older volunteers were young. The children will then do some creative writing around the conversations they’ve had and this will be brought together in book form, again with everyone’s name in print. To get this going, Celebrate my Library (Hilary and Vicky) and I were an agenda item at the forum’s AGM where we explained the project.
The happy result was that we signed up at least half a dozen volunteers!
Mingling with residents over coffee and cakes – it’s a hard life!
We will keep you posted in January on how the project is going.
Library Volunteers Event at Kensington Town Hall – Tuesday 26 November
Volunteers and volunteer mentors met at the Mayor’s Parlour in the Town Hall to recognise and celebrate the wonderful people who help us across our library service. These types of volunteer roles are varied – IT sessions, homework club, summer reading challenge and story-time classes – to name but a few.
Sue Cornish, our Adult Learning Coordinator, did a sterling job in organising the whole event whilst two volunteers (Celia and Mark) and I were invited up to say a few words. Mark was one of the first volunteers to join us – his time with us stems from when he turned 40 and realised that he wanted to give something back to the community. Just as inspiring was Celia – like so many of us as a child spent many happy hours in the library and has for three years been helping us with our summer Reading Challenge at Brompton and Chelsea.
It was clear from everyone how much of a privilege it is to work with our volunteers and that they too get so much from volunteering their time and effort.
I would like to dedicate our blog to all of our wonderful volunteers: Celia, Jane, Lisa, Raed, Srishti, Megan, Gunjan and Mathilde – we at Brompton all love working with you!
Happy New Year to you from us all at Chelsea. Welcome to our second blog post – hope you don’t think we’re crazy to write about Christmas in January but we wanted to share with you some amazing pictures.
Christmas at Chelsea Library
We had a very successful Christmas baby rhyme time with the children anticipating a special visitor.
We played jingle bells, with the children helping, by shaking their sleigh harness bells, all the while getting more and more excited. It looked as if the special vistor was delayed. When finally a staff member received a mobile call from his toboggan and told the waiting children that Father Christmas was stranded in traffic near Fulham Broadway. While the gathered crowd, which included nannies and carers were anxiously looking at watches, the double doors from the Walker Room were burst open and in came Father Christmas with a huge white beard and a sack of gifts! The children were delighted and were handed small gifts wrapped in red tissue paper. Many thanks to Senior Customer Services Assistant, Huriy Ghirmai for dressing up!
The Christmas craft event combined story telling with making Christmas cards decorated with cut out collaged shapes and sequins. My colleague, Sue Couteux organized some fantastic shapes, Christmas trees, snowmen, fairies, stars, ginger bread men, reindeer……
We began the event by telling the Hans Christian Anderson story The Little Fir Tree about the tree’s endless desire to look towards a brighter future rather than live in the moment. I felt a bit uprooted after the story’s ending, waiting for the next big thing. Thank goodness we had the crafts to get stuck into, with glue flying everywhere, sticky fingers, children laughing, excited gleams in their eyes.
Some of the adults listening to the story had tears in their eyes – maybe The Little Fir Tree had reminded them of what Christmas is all about? Simple pleasures, snow, cold walks in the forest, log fires, log cabins, mothers at home baking, wolves. A world away from the hubbub of the Kings Road, running for buses and runny noses.
We are now planning our next events for children both with a Chinese New Year theme. On Saturday 9 February we have:
A craft event for younger children, 11am to 12 noon
What do ladybirds eat?
I was working in the library during Christmas and New Year. A little voice piped up behind the audio books: ‘Young man, I have been adopted by a ladybird.’ An elderly lady had spent her Christmas feeding a ladybird, black with red spots, discovered on her living room floor. ‘It has taken up with me and I want to know what to feed it. Her mouth is much too small for cake crumbs.’ There we were studying a book on greenfly, making meaningful human contact, talking about bug feeding habits on this wintry afternoon.
We often get suggestions from members of the public about how to improve our service. One interesting idea was about how to best harness the power of the totem display. Would it be possible with the heat and light being emitted from the mighty monolith that it could double up as a vertical tanning station?
Hello and Happy New Year from everyone at 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
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 AWeek 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!
Senior Customer Services Assistant
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.
Welcome to our fourth blog post from Brompton Library!
On Sunday I was preparing supper and listening to Radio 4. This group of Irish poets were reading out their poetry and discussing it amongst themselves. It immediately brought me into their environment, their history and above all, their imagination. I do hope that our display does offer something a little bit different to our reader’s here at Brompton Library.
Senior Customer Services Assistant
Christmas plans at Brompton Library
With only a few days till Christmas you would think that the amount of people using the service would be reducing, but our lovely library is still full of users borrowing books for the Christmas holiday period (including Christmas themed cookbooks, fiction and audio books to curl up with on the cold winter evenings, Christmas themed children’s books and our selection of festive audio CDs and DVDs for all the family). There are also lots of people making use of our computer and study area, completing end of term coursework assignments, booking flights, and exchanging seasonal greetings with friends and family members via social networking sites and email.
So we will be running a full service until Christmas Eve when we will close for three days and open again the day after Boxing Day (27 December).
Chatterbooks is a very popular reading group for children in Brompton Library. It is fun and free. The group focuses on reading and talking about books, but some sessions include word games, quizzes, plays or other book related activities. The children love reading and it is an ideal opportunity for them to enjoy books. The group meets once a month after school on Mondays. There are eight regular members of the group. There is generally a theme for each month. This month the group met on 17 December and the theme was Christmas.
Chatterbooks is an ideal way to promote a love of reading. Sessions are designed to give children confidence in speaking, writing and reading in a group, choosing books for themselves, and talking about what they like to read. It is fabulous to hear them enthusing over their reading and recommending books to other children.
Bitter Truths – Author Event
On a bitterly cold evening on 29 November Brompton hosted its first author event (in my living memory, anyway!). One of our reading group members has published her first trilogy of novels, collectively called the Samurai Revival, and gave a very professional presentation relating to the first in the series – Bitter Truths.
We had an audience of ten who were very appreciative and I think for our first venture into author events which was great.
Chelsea Library has copies of Vogue Magazine, going back to the mid 1920s. Vogue not only gives an idea of the fashions at the time, but also reflects society. The Christmas issue of Vogue in 1939 gives a picture of glamour in war-time Britain.
Vogue Christmas stocking ideas for the woman who has everything. Christmas gift ideas for ‘a glamour girl’ include brands still familiar today, such as Coty, Yardley, Bronnley and Innoxa.
Gifts of beauty, suggestions by Elizabeth Arden.
Auxiliary Red, by Cyclax, is the lipstick for Service Women.
Elegance and glamour does not have to be limited to outside the house. The coat below is desctibed as bright as a brazier and as warm, Balenciaga’s resounding red broadcloth coat buttoned down the front to a cossetted waist, spreading to a voluminous skirt (superb as a housecoat too). Match it with Cylax’s new make-up, “Auxillary Red”.
Debenhams and Freebody are advertising their fur sale.
‘In Paris Now’ women might go shopping wearing Schiaprarelli but they still have to ‘travel in crowded carriages’.
From Books to Beat the Black-out: There is a tendency to regard all evacuee tots as problem children. Possibly they would prove less problematic if given some of the books listed here. Titles include Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Chin Pao and the Giant Pandas by Chiang Lee and Joseph Haydn: The Merry Little Peasant by Wheeler and Deucher. Old Possum by T S Eliot is still a favourite, but I’m not sure how the others would be received these days.
We hope you enjoyed these images but nothing beats looking at the originals! So pop into Chelsea Library to slip back in time via the Vogue time-portal, each edition is bound in a very chic blue.
This is a guest blog post from Kensington Mums – they’ve put together a list of some fantastic things you can do with your kids in London this festive season. Many thanks to them! They’ll be blogging for us again in the New Year – all about themselves and how they use our libraries.
A quick reminder about the free Christmas children’s activities we have in our libraries:
Making Christmas Cards and Tree Decorations, Thursday 13 December, 3 to 5pm at Chelsea Children’s Library.
Christmas Crafts, Thursday 20th December, 3.45 to 5pm at Brompton Library.
Winter Story Telling, Tuesday 2 January, 2 to 3pm at Kensington Central Children’s Library.
What’s on this Christmas for you and your little ones
If you are staying in the capital this Christmas, you will find loads of things to keep little and older ones entertained and happy this festive season. Just wrap up warm and enjoy the fun! Here is a run down on what’s on. Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Christmas with the animals!
Meet Santa and London’s reindeer herd at London Zoo.
Running until 24 Dec 2012. Come and visit Santa at his winter lodge, a custom-designed grotto built in the fairytale setting of London Zoo’s memorial gardens –and also visit London’s very own reindeer herd! Suitable for children 10 years and under.
Visit the London Zoo website for more information.
Santa’s Grotto at the Duke of York Square, SW3. 23 December 2012. FREE
Meet Santa at Whole Foods Kensington The grotto is open Saturdays 11am to 7pm and Sundays 10am to 6pm. There are only six family slots per hour so book early!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you and your kids fancy ice skating- there are lots of rinks in the capital for Christmas:
Westfield London (Shepherds Bush) and Westfield Stratford City both have ice rinks and Santa’s Grotto.
Hampton Court Palace ice rink opens Saturday 1 December 2012 – until Sunday 13 January 2013. Great for a festive family gathering.
Skate at Somerset House. Celebrate the festive season in style at London’s most glamorous ice rink.
Natural History Museum’s Ice Rink is now open. Embrace winter in their 950-square-metre ice rink.
The Tower of London Ice Rink. London’s most dramatic open-air ice rink returns to this spectacular setting. Located in the moat, the ice rink is set against the magnificent fortress battlements!
Head to Canary Wharf for their ice rink and during the festive season. They also have free festive activities for kids all weekends in December and Christmas Eve throughout Canary Wharf’s malls including art and craft workshops, festive face painting and a magical treasure hunt. There’s also Santa’s Grotto.
Christmas in the Museums!
Winter Wonderland workshops at the National Gallery, Friday 14 December. For more information visit the National Gallery website.
Horrible Histories Christmas Special at the National Portrait Gallery, Saturday 15 December. Come and celebrate the festive season in Tudor style. Pop into the theatre to meet cast members from Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain and find out all about Tudor life. For more information visit the Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain website.
Christmas workshops at Lauderdale House, Saturdays 15, 18 20 and 21 December. Booking essential.
Visit the Lauderdale House website for more information.
Mirror Mirror’s Christmas Magic Lantern Show at the Museum of Childhood, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 December 2012. Join Victorian sisters Anna and Bea for their annual family magic lantern show – an atmospheric tale of mystery and adventure!
More information visit the Museum of Childhood website.
Jigsaw Japes at Bank of England Museum, 17 to 21, 24, 27, 28 and 31 December and 2 to 4 January.
Children of all ages can draw their favourite Museum object on a pre-cut jigsaw to take home. More information visit the Jigsaw Jape and the Bank of England website.
Santa vs. the Snowman 3D (U) at the IMAX, Science Museum.
Showing every weekend in December. For only £5 your little one will enjoy watching duck snowballs, elves and jet-propelled reindeers as Santa takes on a lonely snowman who wants nothing more than to take over Christmas and become the world’s most beloved festive character. For more information visit the Science Museum website.
Kids’ Zone at the National Army Museum.
Kids Zone is great for children aged 0-8 with forest and arctic themed climbing frames for kids to scale, slide and run through. There is also a soft play area for babies, toys, and arts and crafts. For only £2.50 per child this is a great way for little ones to let off some steam. Please note the Museum is not open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Adults are FREE. For more information visit the National Army Museum website.
Christmas Crafts and Seasonal Stories at Museum of Childhood, Saturdays 15, 22 December, Sundays 16, 23 December. Thursday 27 December to Sunday 6 January Excluding New Years Day 10.30am to 4pm. FREE Find out how families celebrated Christmas 100 years ago! Enjoy a creative re-telling of The Nutcracker and create seasonal crackers, baubles, retro decorations and cards with help from the Retired and Senior Service Volunteers. For more information visit the Museum of Childhood website.
Festive Performance at Victoria and Albert Museum, Saturday 29 December 2012 to Sunday 6 January 2013. Watch the dance of ‘The Nutcracker’ on weekends or see a fun gallery play during the week. Create imaginative Victorian Christmas decorations. Suitable for ages 4+. For more information visit the Victoria and Albert Museum website.
Christmas Storytime at the Museum of London Docklands, Thursday 27 December, 10.30 to 11am, 11.30am to 12 noon and 2 to 2.30pm. FREE. Enjoy a festive story together, told using puppets, museum objects and music – then come and play in the Mudlarks children’s gallery if you have energy to spare! For more information visit the Museum of London Docklands website.
And the rest….!
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This is probably one of my favourite winter events. It is absolutely wonderful, its got everything from roller coaster rides, circus, Santa’s land, Magical Ice Kingdom to name just a few and one of the best Christmas markets I have been to. This year’s ice ring is Ice Age 4. Just make sure you wrap up warm! Winter Wonderland is free to enter. However you will need to buy tickets for the attractions & rides. For more information visit the Winter Wonderland website.
Christmas at Kensington Palace, 1 to 23 December 2012. Prepare to be spellbound as Kensington Palace is transformed into a unique palace-sized Advent Calendar this December. For more information visit the Kensington Palace website.
LEGO’s countdown to Christmas with the LEGO advent calendar.
This is really impressive work. Head to South Hall of Covent Garden at 4 pm every day until Christmas to witness a special guest opening a door of the giant LEGO advent calendar. While you are there, don’t forget to Meet a real life Rudolph every Saturday at Covent Garden Piazza from 12pm to 4pm. Kids will love to hand-feed and pet them.
London New Year’s Day Parade
This will be taking place on the 1st January 2013. The Parade starts at 11.45am on Piccadilly at the junction with Berkeley Street outside the Ritz Hotel and finishes around 3pm at Parliament Street. For more information visit the New Year’s Day Parade website.
To be kept in the loop with the local scoop with the latest in children activities, playgroup and family outings, join Kensington Mums where you get free updates with what’s on for you and your little one(s). You are welcome to connect with other Mums to share your tips and recommendation and capture all those invaluable word of mouth recommendations. It’s a fantastic support network! Kensington Mums also organises Mummy and baby outings as well as Mums Night out and pamper events! Visit The Kensington Mums website for more information.