Heavy snowfall in December led to scores of schools closing across the country, bringing Christmas holidays closer for some happy children. Snowy and icy conditions caused widespread travel disruption. Nevertheless, if you were lucky to be on Primrose Hill or in Hyde Park, while it was snowing, you probably had a wonderful time!
Our Christmas art and craft activities at Chelsea Library skilfully avoided snowy showers, plummeting temperatures and icy winds and offered a great fun to children and adults. We created Christmas decorations – baubles, wreaths, lolly stick decorations and paper-plate angels. In fact, we have two more sessions before Christmas – more info here.
Our guest from Belgrade, Ana Milovanovic, faced bigger problems than a few inches of snow and wasn’t able to be with us to run her Azbuka Puppets’ Workshop.
So, we created another activity – ‘Let it snow’. Snowflakes in numerous designs, shapes and sizes and named in a variety of languages generated quite a joyful snowstorm for our display. In two hours we had representatives of English, French, German, Serbian, Macedonian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese speakers. When at 4.20pm a bunch of new people arrived, they could not understand why we all cheered when I discovered that they were from Malta! Snow – or borra – is not a frequent occurrence in Malta, but it made a fantastic contribution to our display!
Naturally, whoever comes to Chelsea Children’s Library, has been asked to give their own input and make their language-snowflake. So, it continues to snow at Chelsea Library!
Here at Brompton we’ve had our first Summer Reading Challenge craft event presented by our ever-popular creative genius, Eithne Farry.
Whatever theme we throw at her, Eithne always manages to come up with something new that the kids love to make. Record Breakers (this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme) was a bit puzzling at first from a craft point of view but when Eithne arrived with examples of rosettes and medals the kids were hooked, and the mums and the grandmums, too! With day-glo coloured ribbons, wool and lots of glitter the children went away bedecked in eye-catching self-made medals.
Eithne will be visiting all the Kensington and Chelsea libraries over the course of the summer holiday, so look out for more opportunities to create your own record breaking crafts!
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!
Hello to you all from our three libraries in the north.
Everyone’s a winner at North Kensington Library
The Summer Reading Challenge came to an end 14 September 2013 and this was our most successful challenge yet. Between the three libraries of Kensal, North Kensington and Notting Hill Gate we had nearly 150 children complete the challenge. To do this they had to read 6 books over the summer holiday period. To celebrate the children’s success we organised a party at North Kensington Library on Saturday 5 October. 47 children and 21 adults attended.
We opened the party with a Creepy House Story and spooky music. There were some warm up games and then the children completed a Creepy House Treasure Hunt where they had to find all the Creepy House characters which were hidden all around the library. To make it more interesting I had one over my ID card. It took a long time before anyone noticed and then I was swamped by children as the message got out.
Ishwari, one of our Senior Customer Services Assistants led a pairs game where the children were given the name of a famous personality or character and then had to introduce themselves to the other children until they found their partner – e.g. Wallace & Grommit, Batman & Robin, Dennis the Menace and Gnasher. It was great fun.
All the children received prizes, sweets and refreshments were presented with a signed Creepy House completers certificate. I’m not sure who had the most fun, whether it was the children or the staff who threw themselves into the party with much energy and enthusiasm. Even some of the parents joined in the fun.
Messy but fun at Notting Hill Gate Library!
The Notting Hill Gate Library’s story and craft session this month was fun and messy. The kids dressed up in their favourite characters and then had loads of fun playing with our games. We had a cowboy who wasn’t feeling very well and had to pay a visit to the nurse…
The kids then made some super flying aeroplanes which they flew all over the library, A few times we had to duck so we didn’t get hit :$
Fancy dress and games are available at Notting Hill Gate Library every school holiday where the kids can come in and let their imagination lead them.
Senior Customer Services Assistant
October has been a busy month for Kensal. We celebrated Black History Month and had some great displays as well as lots of customer interest.
Scary spiders at Kensal Library
I had prepared a wonderful Halloween session for our Chatterbooks reading group (for kids aged 8 to 12. The children who came loved the spooky stories and activities and there were plenty of treats to go around, I think I might play some tricks on the children who missed this months meeting!
We have some spooky displays around the library for Halloween and already lots of books have gone from them, we are constantly topping up!
On Thursday 31st October we are having a half term event and I have prepared a great activity to go with our story. We will be attempting to make pom pom spiders and younger members can make their own scary pumpkin faces. So be warned…there will be lots of scary spiders in the North Kensington area!
Hello to you all from the staff at Kensington Central Library! Autumn seems to have started but don’t worry – we have plenty of events happening that’ll keep you out of the wind and rain…..
Events past and coming up
On Saturday 21 September, some scary monsters appeared in Kensington Central Children’s Library, the scariest was the Gruffalo himself! Everyone gathered round for the story of a little mouse who plays a big trick on his fellow animals. Then we made masks to disguise ourselves as all the different animals. There were lots of animal noises to be heard for a while afterwards!
We are now holding a story and craft session every Saturday in the children’s library at 2pm, until 3pm. Come and join us, for more creative fun!
Senior Customer Services Assistant
We’re extremley to lucky to have some great authors speaking at Kensington Central LIbrary this month –
John McHugo talks about his latest book, Sophie Parkin explores bohemian Soho, and Lucinda Hawksley marches with the Suffragettes.
John McHugo will be appearing this evening Tuesday 15 October, 6.30 to 8pm, Sophie Parkin will be here on Thursday 17 October, 6.30 to 8pm and Lucinda Hawksley on Tuesday 29 October, 6.30 to 8pm. Tickets will be available on the door.
Like to learn more about Facebook and Twitter? We’ve a free training session at Kensington Central Reference Library on Friday 25 October, 10am to 12 noon. Places are limited so book your place soon at the library.
Half term fun!
Half term in the Royal Borough is week commencing Monday 28 October and we’ve plenty of events to keep your kids of all ages busy.
They’ll be a Halloween story and craft session on Wednesday 30 October, 2 to 3pm for four to ten year olds.
Also we two Persian themed workshops – Persian dance on Tuesday 29 October, 2 to 4pm for eight to fourteen year olds and Persian art on Thursday 31 October, 2 to 4pm for five to eleven year olds. Both these events are part of the Nour Festival of Arts and can be booked on www.nourfestival.eventbrite.co.uk
We’ve some new book displays this month that have been put together by our creative staff – pop in and take a look!
Hello to you all from the staff at Kensington Central Library – we hope you’ve had an enjoyable summer. We’ve got that ‘back to school’ feeling with lots of new things happening at our library – from new events to new displays.
Bye bye to the Summer Reading Challenge
It’s been a fantastic summer for the kids at Kensington Central Library – along with our normal regular events for our youngest library members we had a weekly story and craft session on Thursday afternoons to support this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. During the last session – the kids made some great creepy houses out of a tissue paper which they really enjoyed.
We’re really proud of the children who’ve taken part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – at the last count over 250 children took part and just over 100 of them completed. That mean’s they read six or more books each – in fact we’ve worked out that over 660 books have been read!
As our story and craft sessions are so popular – we’ll now be having a regular weekly session every Saturday. So if your kids enjoy listening to stories and like to get creative – bring them along on Saturdays at 2pm!
We’ve got some new and diverse books on display at the moment – right by the library entrance so they’re easy to find:
A new series of The Great British Bake Off has recently started on BBC 2 so we have an amazing display of books for anyone who’s been inspired to bake. (there’s more information about The Great British Bake Off on the BBC website)
To carry on the food theme – we’ve a healthy eating book display. We’ve included Jamie Oliver’s latest book which is to do with healthy eating on a budget – just perfect timing for students off to university.
We were very sad to hear about the death of Seamus Heaney so it was important for us to pay tribute to this important poet.
And finally some more treasures from our biography collection – this time we have some unpleasant characters for you to find out about.
We have two new events programmes that can be collected from the library – events for all ages in September to December and the London History Festival. All of the events are also listed on our news and events page. Here’s a quick summary of what’s happening at Kensington Central Library in the next month or so:
Arthritis Care talk
Thursday 19 September, 1 to 2pm
Do you suffer with arthritis? Arthritis Care will give a talk on arthritis and pain – why you get pain and how to cope with it. There will also be a chance to ask questions.
Fashion – Press the Fast Forward Button
Tuesday 24 September, 6.30 to 8pm
Are you interested in the fashion industry? Thinking of starting a fashion business as a designer, retailer, importer or exporter? Then don’t miss this opportunity to hear from expert fashion management consultant David Jones and successful designer and entrepreneur Francesca Marcenaro. This session is in partnership with Colin Rutt from Portobello Business Centre.
Business information: professional resources made available for free from your library Thursday 26 September, 2 to 4pm at Kensington Central Reference Library
At this session we will guide you through how to use two great business research websites which are available free through your library: Mint UK and also Cobra. Mint UK provides access to a wealth of company information including company data, directors, news and market research. Cobra is a continually updated information resource for anyone who is running a small business or thinking of setting up a business. Here you will find practical information and advice such as start-up business ideas and profiles, guides to business support in different areas of the UK and much more.
You can book a FREE place to any of these events at Kensington Central Library in person, by calling 020 7361 3010 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello from us all at Kensington Central Library! Our blog post this month has a pieces from our lending and reference libraries which perfectly illustrates we have something for everyone.
A wizard and ghosts in the children’s library!
As the school holidays are in full swing we’ve had some amazing events for kids in our children’s library to support this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.
Mr Wiz the Wizard came to see us last week – he needed help building his creepy house in the children’s library. He had plenty of dinosaur eggs (Haribo eggs thankfully!) and balloon animals which he gave out to the children that helped him. The children had a great time as they also had the chance to spin plates, burst bubbles and sing songs.
We’ve been having a story and craft session every Thursday afternoon at 2pm since the start of the summer holidays. We’ve been reading some scary stories and creating some scary things which the children have loved. Last Thursday the children made ghosts by drawing round their hands and spiders from fingerprints. They also came up with some great names for their spiders – Vegeta and Ushar being two of them!
We’ve another story and craft session this Thursday (15 August) & we’ll be making witches – bring the kids along!
Headlines and back issues
Did you know that we keep a range of current newspapers and magazines in our libraries? We also have a treasure trove in our historical and special collections of back issues of not only current titles but also newspapers and magazines that have long since gone out of print.
Our most popular titles include:
Illustrated London News – going back to 1842
Microfiche of The Times – 1785 – 1997
Punch – going back to 1841
Harpers Bazaar – going back to 1950
Vanity Fair – going back to 1956
Vogue – going back to 1923
A full list of all the newspapers and magazines that we have and how far back we keep them can be found on our ‘Reference and information and special collections’ web page. If you want to check we have issue – do phone us on 020 7361 3010 so we can confirm that the newspaper or magazine you need is available.
Did you know we have newspapers and magazines for children and young adults too? We have reorganised the young adult magazines in the young adult library at Kensington Central Library so that the current issues are in some sturdy green folders and the back issues are now kept in box files on the shelves just behind where the current issues are. They now look a lot tidier and more importantly are more accessible.
June has been a busy month at Chelsea Library — over to the staff there to tell us more.
There hasn’t been a spare chair to sit on especially in the refurbished children’s library with its cool blue walls and sparkling windows. We held a story and craft event at the beginning of the month with a chicken theme. Chicken Licken went down well (nearly as well as that unfortunate chicken). It might be an idea to reread the stories beforehand and prepare for the sudden ending when the entire cast of animals are eaten by a fox in a waistcoat with a voice like Leslie Phillips. Diane designed some brilliant custard yellow chickens that rocked backwards and forwards. We had so many requests that we read the story again.
Last Thursday we hosted the first of our quiz afternoons in the Walker Room. We had a great turn out – lots of old friends and some new faces with hidden talents. The five teams slugged it out between bouts of tea, fruit juice and bread pudding. The A Team won with an impressive 30 out of a possible 35, even tackling the difficult trick question:
Has the United States of America ever had a King and , if so, who was he?
Answers in the comments section at the bottom of this piece please!
After the quiz there was a raffle and a sing song. We started the singing off with a rendition of The Lambeth Walk and it was followed byStanding on the Corner — a song about spending an afternoon on main street giving the girls the eye.
Vintage Guitars and Baby Rhyme Time
Baby rhyme time has been drawing big crowds; part of its popularity is the game of musical statues at the end giving carers and mothers the chance to dance as well as the children.
We’re now using a vintage guitar – a Danelectro in vivid ‘agent orange’ during the sessions. The children like the traditional songs but really respond to rock and roll – it gives them a great opportunity to stagger, dance and fall over. One little girl with a hearing aid enjoys the event because she can hear it quite clearly.
Diane Day, Senior Customer Services Assistant
Daniel Jeffreys, Customer Services Assistant
Great facts about Chelsea Reference Library
#3: The Walker Room
Behind the scenes of Chelsea Reference Library is the Walker Room, which is not only home to our archived magazines and newspapers, but is also where our expert staff run classes on how to find out about just about anything using our online databases – from Berg Fashion Library to Ancestry to business start-up information.
Check out the events page for the next classes and you can find full details of Berg Fashion Library, Ancestry and business information on our online databases page.