Comic Fun at Brompton Library!

An intrepid and curious band of children and adults rocked up to Brompton Library to discover the ins and outs of designing cartoons from scratch! We were guided by cartoon artist John Byrne who in next to no time got us recreating and producing our very own masterpieces.

Continue reading “Comic Fun at Brompton Library!”


Harry Potter Moving Portraits at North Kensington Library

On Wednesday, 1st February and Saturday, 4th February North Kensington Library opened its doors to Harry Potter fans of all ages and invited them to take part in a series of special Harry Potter Book Night craft workshops.
Continue reading “Harry Potter Moving Portraits at North Kensington Library”

Harry Potter Book Night at Brompton and Chelsea Libraries!

“Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Who could resist Potter madness?

Brompton and Chelsea libraries certainly couldn’t and fully embraced the Harry Potter Book Night madness with magical craft sessions of their own.

We captured a few pictures from the events, take a look at the ‘mischief managed’!

Continue reading “Harry Potter Book Night at Brompton and Chelsea Libraries!”

Kensington Central Library – January 2014

Hello to you all from the staff at Kensington Central Library and if it’s not too late to wish this on the last day of January- Happy New Year from us all! Despite January being a bit of a grim month – we’ve been busy and February will be even busier!

 From Princess Louise to smart cookery to stopping smoking

We’ve had some amazing events for adults and children this month. On a very cold night Lucinda Hawksley gave a very entertaining and informative talk about one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, Princess Louise. She was a remarkable woman who seemed to be ahead of her time. Lucinda is an excellent writer and speaker – we’re always happy to have her at the library as her events are excellent – entertaining, amusing and educational.

The Mystery of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley
The Mystery of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley
Lucinda Hawksley
Lucinda Hawksley

It’s been a healthy month for us too – Ooberkids Republic came to speak to a group of children about healthy eating, cooking, recipes and where our food comes from. Smokefree, the stop smoking service also had a stall in the library this month – a perfect time to help people keep their New Year’s Resolution perhaps?

Stop Smoking Service
Stop Smoking Service

From martial arts to fashion to Health Trainers

Don’t worry if you missed any of these events – we’ve got lots to offer you in February too!

On Tuesday 4 February at 6.30pm we’ve Spirit of the Martial Arts with Goran Powell. Goran is a martial arts author who holds a 5th Dan in karate. His first book Waking Dragons tells of his own mental, physical and spiritual preparation for the brutal 30 Man Kumite, one of karate’s toughest tests. His award-winning novels A Sudden Dawn and Chojun revolve around Zen and the traditional martial arts of Kung Fu and Karate. He will talk about and read from his new novel Matryoshka which touches on the fascinating link between Christianity and the newly-popular Russian martial arts. There are still a few tickets left so come along if you can.

Matryoshka by Goran Powell
Matryoshka by Goran Powell
Goran Powell
Goran Powell

To celebrate London Fashion Week in February for the Autumn /Winter 2014 collections, expert fashion management consultant David Jones and guest speakers will be speaking about the fashion industry. This is ideal for those that are thinking of starting a fashion business as a designer, retailer, importer or exporter. David Jones has worked in the clothing and fashion industry for 40 years and for the last 15 years has run his own consultancy, David Jones Fashion Management Services, specialising in fashion. This session is in partnership with Colin Rutt, Consultant and Business Advisor from Portobello Business Centre. This will take place on Thursday 27 February, 6 to 8pm, tickets are £10 and can be booked on Eventbrite.

London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week

We’re really pleased to announce that we’ll have Health Trainers at the library once a month. So whether you’d like to be fitter, change your eating habits, give up smoking or just feel a bit better about yourself, the Health Trainers can offer you guidance and information, in private, in person and for free. These drop-in sessions are the first Wednesday of every month, 11am to 1pm and the first session will be this Wednesday 5 February.

Health Trainers
Health Trainers

…And not forgetting the kids!

It’ll be half term in February so we’ve planned lots of exciting events to keep the kids entertained!

On Monday 17 February, 2 to 4pm we have a Fashion Design Workshop for children aged 10+. This workshop delivers a unique experience for budding fashionistas.

  • Take a crash course in the fashion design process
  • Experiment with drawing
  • Develop a colour palette 
  • Select fabrics for your designs
  • Formulate ideas through illustration

Sessions are led by Jennifer Sturrock, a graduate of London College of Fashion, who has worked in London-based fashion studios, gained experience in knitwear design with DKNY in New York City and developed sample designs for a luxury Parisian label. All materials will be provided. Places are free but strictly limited so do book a place soon so you’re not disappointed!

Are you a budding fashionista?
Are you a budding fashionista?

For younger kids (4 to 10) we’ll have a half term story and craft session Thursday 20 February, 3 to 4pm. These are great sessions – a chance to listen to a good story & then get crafty. No need to book a place – just turn up!

Oh and last but not least we’re really lucky to have Chickenshed Kensington and Chelsea at the library on Wednesday 19 February, 1 to 1.30pm.  This will be a fun interactive performing arts session which will include storytelling, puppetry, singing and movement. It’ll be suitable for children 0 to 7 years.

Chickenshed Theatre at Kensington & Chelsea
Chickenshed Theatre at Kensington & Chelsea

Something for everyone – we hope to see you soon!

Adult Learners’ Week 2013

Adult Learners’ Week – 18 to 24 May 2013

Adult Learners' Week 2013
Adult Learners’ Week 2013

Adult Learners’ Week is the UK’s largest annual festival of learning, inspiring thousands of people to discover how learning can change their lives.

It is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits learning can bring, and to inspire adults of all ages to try something new. We have events in five of our libraries during Adult Learners’ Week -we hope to see you there!

What makes people happy?

Birkbeck University of London
Birkbeck University of London

Sharing the practical lessons from well-being research – Birkbeck academics have put together a series free of workshops which unpack cutting-edge research from a range of disciplines to help you better understand the science behind the smile, as well as giving you practical tips to increase your well-being.

  • Please book your free place for these sessions on Eventbrite.

 How to be happy: some quick wins (and losses)

  • Saturday 18 May, 10 to 11.30am, Brompton Library

This workshop will focus on what psychologists have learnt about the science of happiness, in particular the characteristics that allow people to remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of challenging and busy lives. We will also explore how this knowledge has been translated into practical interventions that increase hope and optimism. Participants should leave with ideas around how to translate this information into small and meaningful improvements to their own levels of hope and optimism and those in their care.

Using positive psychology to stay healthy and happy in your work

  • Monday 20 May, 10 to 11.30am, Brompton Library

Find out how to safeguard and improve your happiness and well-being in professional settings. This workshop will help you better understand the science behind the smile, as well as giving you practical tips and strategies to increase your well-being.

Crocheting Divas

  • Saturday 18 May, 10.30am to 1pm, Notting Hill Gate Library
  • Friday 24 May, 12 noon to 1.30pm, Brompton Library

Learn, chat and make with the Crocheting Divas. All materials and equipment will be provided – all you need to bring is your enthusiasm and creativity. There’s no need to book a place – just come along.

Online taster sessions

Computer training sessions
Computer training sessions

Want to do more online? Please book your free place for any of these sessions at Chelsea Reference Library.

Social media: how to make the most of Facebook, Twitter and more

  • Tuesday 21 May, 2 to 4pm, Chelsea Reference Library

Beyond Google: high quality learning materials available free from your library

  • Wednesday 22 May, 10am to 12 noon, Chelsea Reference Library

Career information online: finding the best career and training information for you

  • Thursday 23 May, 12 noon to 2pm, Chelsea Reference Library

Colville Community History slideshow and talk

Tom Vague
Tom Vague
  • Tuesday 21 May, 5.30 to 7.30pm, North Kensington Library

Colville Community History Project’s Tom Vague presents a slideshow and talk about the history of the area. Come along to join in the discussion, share your experiences and find out more about the Colville Community History Project. Please book a free place for this event at North Kensington Library.

Writing Creatively in Kensington – a creative writing workshop

Creative writing
Creative writing
  • Wednesday 22 May, 1.30 to 4.30pm, Kensington Central Library

Using photos and other artefacts from our Local Studies Library to inspire creativity participants will be encouraged to write their own pieces. Please book a free place for this event at Kensington Central Library.

Deep Recording Studios – information stall

Deep Recording Studios
Deep Recording Studios
  • Wednesday 22 May, 12 noon to 4.30pm, Chelsea Library

Want to find out more about music technology or sound engineering? Then come along to our information stall run by Deep Recording Studios in West London. They run Levels 1,2 and 3 City and Guilds accredited Music Technology and Sound Engineering Courses (no qualifications required). Deep has a fully operational recording studio facility near Ladbroke Grove tube station in West London, running Logic Pro and Pro Tools music software .

Hand Sewing Workshop – make a felt badge with Eithne Farry

Eithne Farry
Eithne Farry
  • Thursday 23 May, 2 to 4pm, Kensington Central Library

Are you passionate about clothes and accessories? Would love to create something of your own, but are unsure of how to get started? Then come along to our hand sewing workshop with Eithne Farry, where you will create your own badge out of felt.
Please book your free place for this workshop at Kensington Central Library.

How to Use Skype – over 50s session with Open Age

Open Age
Open Age
  • Friday 24 May, 10am to 12 noon, North Kensington Library

Are you over 50? Have you heard about Skype? Skype allows people to talk for free to friends and family around the world via a computer using the internet. Come along to this session to learn how to use Skype. Places are strictly limited for this class, so please book your place early at North Kensington Library.

More information

The Brompton Blog – December 2012

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Welcome to our fourth blog post from Brompton Library!

Reading Aloud


A Little Loud book cover
A Little Loud

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.

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

Katie Collis

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).

Brompton Chatterbooks


 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

Bitter Truths author event at Brompton
Bitter Truths author event at Brompton

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.

Stephanie Webb
Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Lending Librarian

Christmas in London For Kids

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!

Keep Calm logo

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.

Christmas festive fun at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.
More information click to download a PDF of the event.

Meet Father Christmas!

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 for more information.

Ice Skating!

Ice Skating
Ice Skating

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, Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

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.

Kensington Mums Christmas

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.

Blog Post from Kensington Central Library – December 2012


Kensington Central Library in winter
Kensington Central Library

We’re starting to feel Christmassy at Kensington Central Library- hence the picture of the library in the snow!

Christmas Book Display
Christmas Book Display

The decorations are up in the library and we have Christmas books on display in the adult and children’s library. Pop in to take a look- they may help if you’re lacking in inspiration!

Christmas at Kensington Palace
Christmas at Kensington Palace

We’ve also had some Christmas events with the help of the fantastic staff from  Kensington Palace.

On Saturday 10 December there was a Christmas event for our readers at Kensington Palace in Queen Victoria’s bedroom! Everyone had an excellent time listening to some classic Christmas poems and readings whilst munching on mince pies and Christmas cake.

On Monday 10 December the palace came to our children’s library to make Victorian Christmas cards and decorations. 25 children came along and had a fantastic time with ribbons, lace and Victorian pictures!

Victorian Christmas Crafts
Victorian Christmas Crafts
A Happy Young Reader With Her Victorian Christmas Crafts!
A Happy Young Reader With Her Victorian Christmas Crafts!

We thought for this month’s blog post we’d introduce you to some more of the staff at Kensington Central Library and what they do. Before I hand over to them let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Kensington Central Library!

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian

All Change at Kensington Central Library

The recent re-opening of our children’s  library now means that our customers, young and old, are now able to fully utilise the lending library once more.

Kensington Central Children's Library- ready for business!
Kensington Central Children’s Library- ready for business!

Self service equipment has been installed across all service areas bringing us into line with all other Kensington and Chelsea libraries and it has proved a hit with the public, even self-confessed technophobes are being won round to the convenience of being able to issue and return books themselves.

The layout of the library is the most striking difference when you consider the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of the work that has gone into the refurbishment. Gone is the monolithic issue and return counter and the confusing maze of entrance and exit gates, instead Self service kiosks and a book sorter for returns are directly accessible as soon as you enter the library, flanked by attractive shelving for our new book stock as well as current displays.

Further in you can see the result of the restoration of the listed wooden shelving and pillars which literally gleam as a result of a bit much needed bit of TLC. Newer shelving snake along the middle of the library floor replacing the older, taller, metal stands used previously for our CD’s and DVD’s.

And, arguably, our pièce de résistance is the new Children’s and Young Persons space which looks so impressive! It truly is a more welcoming and brighter space for young kids and teens to enjoy.

Kensington Central Children's Library- new under 5s area
Kensington Central Children’s Library- new under 5s area

So please pass it on, we are well and truly open for business.

Mike Green
Mike Green

Mike Green, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Our Young Readers Recommend….

We have some keen young readers returning a much enjoyed book, are invited to share their choice with others by filling in a short review. The book is then displayed with their review recommending it. These recommened reads are very popular-  they fly off the display!

Recommended Reads for Teens
Recommended Reads for Teens

If you’re a teen and you’ve read a fantastic book (or you know a teen who has) then pop in and complete a card!

Penny Girling displaying new books for teens
Penny Girling displaying new books for teens

Penny Girling, Customer Services Assistant

The Biography Collection

As we’ve written about in a previous post, we’ve got an amazing collection of biography books at Kensington Central Library. One of our Customer Services Assistant, Lynn Terrell tells us why she enjoys working with these books:

I love working in the biography collection.  There are such a lot of books, and such a variety.  My own favourites are the books written by ordinary people – not politicians or celebrities, but stories about what it was like to grow up in a village during the Great War, or how it felt to have a grandmother who didn’t believe in self-indulgence (Grandma Called it Carnal by Bertha Damon). 

Part of my job includes creating displays of books from the collection, so that the public have a chance to see some of what we’ve got.  Sometimes I tie this in with other things that are going on, for example, in October, we had Black History Month, and at the moment we’ve got American Presidents, following the recent election.  I try to change the display about once a month, and Childhood Reminiscences will be coming up in March. (Hollywood stars in January, and great lovers and love letters in February.)  It will be interesting to see if others share my enthusiasm for these slightly more obscure but fascinating books.

Because a lot of the books are quite old, and difficult to replace, I have to try to make sure that they are kept in good condition, and sometimes that includes minor repairs. (Photographs in particular have a tendency to fall out, and need to be stuck back in.)  Also, it’s very important that they are all labelled correctly, or they’d end up in the wrong place, and nobody would be able to find them.  Everything that gets put in the biography collection has to be relabelled first, and that’s my job too.

Lynn Terrell
Lynn Terrell

Lynn Terrell, Customer Services Assistant

Blog Post From the North – November 2012

North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library

Each month we’ll tell you about the fantastic library services on offer at the three libraries in the north of  the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:

  • North Kensington Library
  • Notting Hill Gate Library
  • Kensal Library

As with the blog posts from our other branches we’ll tell you about any special events we’ll be holding and we’ll also introduce you to the staff. We hope you’ll enjoy finding out more about our libraries in the north but please do let us know via the comments section if you’d like us to cover anything else.

News From the North by North Kensington Library’s Lending Librarian

Autumn has brought a flurry of activity to the north of the borough.

On Friday 2 November a bumper crowd of 32 children plus their carers attended an Autumn/Halloween themed story and craft session in North Kensington’s Children’s Library led by Customer Services Assistant, Ellen Pankhurst and myself. The children helped create a magnificent, frieze with autumnal trees, witches and spooky houses. It is amazing how children let their imaginations run wild with a few bits of coloured paper, glue and pencils. There is even a Nemo up a tree! If you don’t know who Nemo is you will have to come and take a look.

Halloween and Autumn Crafts
Halloween and Autumn Crafts on display at North Kensington Library

If you are ever stuck for ideas of what to do with your children on a horrible wet weekend, all the libraries have plenty of fun activity books which you can borrow. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive craft materials. Often old boxes, packaging and pictures cut out from magazines and a little imagination is all you need for hours of fun activity.

Strictly Come Dancing visited  North Kensington Library on  Wednesday 14 November  to film for a broadcast on  Saturday 17 November. Fans were treated to a view of Flavia Cacace looking at the book shelves while Louis Smith (yes an Olympic medalist was in our library!) performed press-ups on the floor.  If you’ve been inspired by Strictly Come Dancing – books, CDs and DVDs on ball room dancing and dancercise can be borrowed from our libraries.

On Thursday 15 November, as part of the Nour Festival of Arts (celebrating contemporary art, design, film and music from the Middle East and North Africa), North Kensington Library saw the launch of a new book collection comprising books in Arabic; works in translation and Arabic children’s books.

New Arabic Books at North Kensington Library
New Arabic Books at North Kensington Library

Some of the titles included are:

  • The now classic ‘Cairo trilogy’ by Naghuib Mahfouz; ‘The Art of Forgetting’ by Ahlem Mosteghanemi who is one of the best-selling female authors in the Arab world.
  • Children’s picture books ‘Hamda wa Fisaikra’- The tale of Hamda, or the Gulf Cinderella (Arabic edition) by Kaltham Al-Ghanem and ‘Al Intissar Ala Abu Derya – Victory Over Abu Derya’ by Mohamed Salem
  • ‘Raweyat Al Aflam -the Movie-maker’ (Arabic Edition)  by Hernán Letelier; ‘Asrar Sagheera – Little Secrets’ (Arabic edition) by Lebanese producer and TV host Rita Khoury
  • ‘Islamic Art in Detail’ by Sheila Canby.

Gaynor Lynch

Gaynor Lynch, Lending Librarian

Baby Rhyme Time at Notting Hill Gate Library

Baby rhyme time at Notting Hill Gate Library
Adrian Lewis doing baby rhyme time at Notting Hill Gate Library

 Notting Hill Gate Library’s Baby Rhyme Time  is going from strength to strength and has been getting bigger and better. Parents and carers bring their babies and toddlers for a fun session of storytelling, singing and rhymes. One parent said:

“We love coming in and listening to all the lovely stories and songs”

We recently had our biggest session yet, with the highest number of visitors in more than 6 years thanks to Adrian Lewis who runs them. Adrian joined the library in November last year , he worked previously for  Hammersmith and Fulham’s  Library Service who are now one of our Tri-Borough partners. He starts the sessions with stories, mainly ones where the children can interact with, using puppets and props to make it more exciting and ends with popular songs and rhymes.  He said:

“I have been doing the session for a year now, I am amazed at how popular it has become. We all have a really good time and I love seeing the smiles it puts on their faces”

Favourites stories include

  •  The Gruffalo  by Julia Donaldson
  • Very Hungary Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Baby Rhyme Time  takes place every Friday at 10.30am at Notting Hill Gate Library.

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Introduce a Friend to the Library and Get a Free DVD Loan!

From 15 November to 1 December 2012 Kensal, Notting Hill Gate and North Kensington libraries are running a special promotion to encourage you to get a friend to join the library. You both will then get a free DVD loan. To take advantage of this offer one of you must already be a member and the other either a new or ‘lapsed’ member (membership expired). The offer is open to adults and children and must be taken on the day that the new member joins.

Blog post from Kensington Central Library- November 2012

Kensington Central Library
Kensington Central Library

We were so impressed with the monthly blog post from our colleagues at Brompton Library that the staff at Kensington Central Library decided we just had to join in!

Each month we’ll tell you about the fantastic services on offer at the central library for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, such as any special events we’ll be holding and we’ll also introduce you to the staff. We hope you’ll enjoy finding out more about Kensington Central Library but please do let us know via the comments section if you’d like us to cover anything else.

Kensington Central Library’s New Lending Librarian

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

As part of the new Tri-Borough structure Kensington Central Library has a Lending Librarian, Jodie Green.

I look after all lending stock at Kensington Central Library – this means all the items you can borrow from the library such as books, CDs, DVDs, audio books and even eBooks! If we don’t have an item which you think we ought to have in stock, we have stock suggestion books in the adult and children’s libraries- please just speak to a member of staff & they’ll jot it down. Looking for something to read in a hurry? We always have a display of books recommended by our staff, it’s right by the new enquiry desk near the library entrance.

Staff suggestions display at Kensington Central Library in November 2012
Staff suggestions display at Kensington Central Library

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian

Kensington Central Library’s Reading Group

Our group at Kensington Central Library meets in the evening, on the third Monday of each month to discuss their latest read. At the moment, the group benefits from private use of the Local Studies area after it closes, where they can freely enjoy a round table discussion. Attendance averages between 8-11 members, with a good mix of age and gender, which makes for lively debate. It’s sometimes a shame that I have to remind them when the library is closing – whereas I’m sure they’d happily continue into the night! Each month, at the end of the session, the group hand me a list of titles that they wish to read. It’s my job to source as many copies as possible of their preference, in time for the group’s next meeting.

Kensington Central Library’s Reading Group is open to all and welcomes new members. This month (November) the group are reading ‘Cider with Rosie’, by Laurie Lee. It’s not necessary to register – so if you like to talk about books, why not pop along and join in?

Amal Sakr, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Halloween Story and Craft session- Thursday 1st November 2012

Although Halloween was the previous day, the children’s area in Kensington Central Library was home to spider-webs and spooky goings on for the half term story and craft session. A story about a witch’s cat grabbed the attention and imagination of the twenty or so children who attended, inspiring them to decorate a simple cat-shaped mask with spangles, fluff and colours of their choice. A great time was had by all, and with the promise of another story and craft session over the Christmas holidays many will be back again to hear a tale and make something lovely to take home! I was the storyteller and I was helped by 3 other members of library staff and various parents and guardians!

A witch reading a story at Kensington Central Library!
A witch reading a story at Kensington Central Library!

Gemma Baker, Senior Customer Services Assistant

Kensington Central Reference Library: Information Event

I will introduce myself and what I do at Kensington Central Reference Library in the next blog post but I wanted to tell you about a brilliant event that will be happening next week.

On Monday 12th November, 11.00am-6.30pm the Open University will be here. If you haven’t studied with The Open University before, or you have had a few years away from study, this event is for you! Come along for an informal conversation to get answers to your questions about qualifications and modules, study methods and other aspects of learning with The Open University. No appointment necessary- just drop in.

Nina Risoli, Reference Librarian

And a final word from the Customer Services Manager at Kensington Central Library:

I have been involved in the training of the library staff in using the self service kiosks that have recently been installed in the library. This means that staff are able to confidently support customers with the new technology. The new sorter machine which is used to return library items is proving particularly popular with children who are enjoying returning their books, CDs and DVDs this way. We have had lots of positive comments from customers about our new look lending library. The children’s and young people’s library is currently undergoing building works and both our customers and our staff are looking forward to the reopening of it before Christmas. Whilst this space is being made brighter and better, we are still offering a range of children’s stock in our temporary children’s area and continuing with our extremely popular baby rhyme time and storytime sessions.

Amanda Southern, Customer Services Manager
Amanda Southern, Customer Services Manager

Amanda Southern, Customer Services Manager