Happy National Libraries Day!

It’s 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.

We’ve got a marathon of John Byrne Cartoon Workshops today, starting right now at North Kensington Library, then moving on to Kensington Central Library (11.30am to 12.30pm), Chelsea Library (2 to 3pm) and then Brompton Library (3.30 to 4.30pm).
Marvel, as our cartoon workshop host flies from library to library… Gasp, as John leads the group through a fast paced and fun session which will get them copying his cartoons perfectly in the first five minutes… and doing their own cartoons by the end of the session!
Contact the library to book your free place for this National Libraries Day event!

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, e-audiobooks and e-magazines 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!

“A happy and lively place to read or study”

What do you like about your library? Well, we had plenty of responses to this question on National Libraries Day, Saturday 8th February, and they were all inspiring: interesting, heart-warming and fun in equal measures! 

Books featured quite heavily:

This is where our baby got a passion for books! Thank you.

(I love) Having access to such an astonishing number of wonderful books!

A fantastic place to bring my children, great books

A whole new world of interest in places and stories found in the books.

And so did the staff: 

Enjoyable, quiet, and the staff are really helpful

I like this library because the staff are polite

We love the library, libraries have the best books & lovely staff. Keep it going.

Would hate to be without it – and thanks to the splendid librarians!

And some more thought provoking ones:

Basic human rights! To read, to learn, to use your imagination, to be entertained, to save paper…for free!

 A place to learn and feel safe and warm without fear.

Access to knowledge and to life.

Libraries have been a part of my life since childhood

Comments on particular resources:

A huge amount- great selection of all types of books together with a fashion reference library upstairs!

Access to online resources.

E-books.

Computers & Fantastic resources

And of course everyone loves Baby Rhme Time!

This Library is my daughter’s favourite place. Baby Rhyme Time is so much fun! Many thanks for everything!!

Thank you very much Adrian for all the songs & stories

We love Baby Rhyme Time keep the good work up

Great Baby Rhyme Time here at the library!

And simply:

Joy, joy, joy, joy!

There were far too many to mention all in one blog post but thank you everyone for contributing!

National Libraries Day Wordle
National Libraries Day Wordle

Bats, masks and bear-hunts…

 St Peter’s Nursery discovered the Notting Hill Gate Library when they visited us on Friday 17th January. They had a tour of the library and then an afternoon of story time. Snip Snap Alligator by Mara Bergman and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen were both part of the books read. The 3-4 year old enjoyed these immensely, they had a wonderful time!

We're going on a bear hunt!
We’re going on a bear hunt!

 Adrian, our Customer Service Assistant at Notting Hill Gate Library, really enjoyed the experience of reading to slightly older children: “I hope we can do this more often!” 

Saturday 25th January saw Carnival Mask making at the library. Two to nine year olds made fantastic colourful masks. They were then treated to an impromptu Baby Rhyme Time for the younger visitors which went down very well.

Getting crafty
Getting crafty
Making masks
Making masks

Our regular Story and Craft sessions are on the last Saturday of the month, however from April this will change to the first Saturday of the month.

 The eighth of February was National Libraries Day: Notting Hill Gate Library celebrated with a special Baby Rhyme Time, with stories, rhymes and songs with an enthusiastic audience. Then the parents and children joined in together to make paper Bat Planes and very quickly the air was full of flying bats to everyone’s amusement.

Bats!
Bats!

Last but not least…reading group news!

Two of our reading group members, Brenda Ferry and Janet Mayhew, celebrated after getting an award for Best Attendance in 2013 for the Notting Hill Gate Reading Group. Well done ladies!

Our two best attendees!
Our two best attendees!

Blog post from the North – March 2013

North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library

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

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

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

Ishwari Prince
Ishwari Prince

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

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

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

Spring books on display
Spring books on display

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

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

Gaynor Lynch
Gaynor Lynch

Gaynor Lynch

Lending Librarian, North Kensington Library

North Kensington Library’s Chatterbooks club

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

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

Adisa Behmen-Kreso

Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library

New story and craft sessions at Notting Hill Gate Library

Story and craft sessions
Story and craft sessions

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

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

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library

What’s been happening at Kensal Library?

Kensal Library
Kensal Library

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

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

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

Natasha Chaoui

Senior Customer Services Assistant,  Kensal Library

Kensington Central Library – February 2013

Kensington Central Library in winter
Kensington Central Library

We thought we’d use the picture of Kensington Central Library in the snow again as it was snowing a little last week- really it was an excuse to use this picture again!

Our Six Book Challenge display
Our Six Book Challenge display

Have you heard about the Six Book Challenge? This is taking place in all six of our libraries and is aimed at anyone who wishing to improve their reading or would like to read more. There’s more information about the challenge on The Reading Agency’s website.

If you’d like to take part you can register at any of our libraries in Kensington and Chelsea. You complete six reads and record your reading in a diary which we provide. There are incentives along the way to encourage you to keep reading, after two reads a free CD loan and three reads a free DVD loan. If you complete by 28 June 2013 you can enter the national prize draw for a trip to London with a friend to see a show and £150 spending money. We also have a local draw for completers at the end of the summer for two Sony e-readers.

Lots of exciting things have been happening here since the last time we blogged so I’ll hand over to some of the staff here to tell you more.

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green

Lending Librarian

A magical storytime

NSW_'1363
Storyteller Helen East in action!

On Monday 28 January, a magical storytime happened here with storyteller, Helen East. She guided parents and children alike though a fairy tale of Queen Mary II’s desire of a little a girl to love.

Having a go with the props
Having a go with the props

Through the use of excellent props and music Helen engaged the children’s imagination and provided a unique hands-on storytelling experience.

NSW_'1375
The children loved looking at the props

Following on from the theme of the story was a craft session making happy Queen Mary II finger puppets, with fabric feathers and felts, which the children could take home to act out their own stories.

NSW_'1386
Making finger puppets

This session was arranged with staff from Kensington Palace, Natalie Cain and Joy Drury to celebrate National Storytelling Week- there’s more information about this week on the Society for Storytelling’s website. Many thanks to them for doing this and for taking the amazing photos!

Gemma Baker
Gemma Baker

Gemma Baker

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Savage Continent

Author Keith Lowe
Author Keith Lowe

On the 31 January we had acclaimed author, Keith Lowe giving a very informative talk here around his latest novel Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II.

He showed some slides to illustrate some of the key moments in his book – such as the rampant chaos that ensued between the Second World War ending and the beginning of the Cold War. There was time after the talk for questions and the audience took the opportunity to ask questions about the war crimes trials and how the Cold War played a part in bringing these trials to an end.

To find out more, why not borrow a copy of Keith’s book from one of our libraries? There’s also more information on Keith Lowe’s website.

Savage Continent by Keith Lowe
Savage Continent by Keith Lowe

And if you’d like to attend any of events- just take a look at our what’s on page to see what’s coming up. We have events with Neil Mckenna and Jessica Fellowes coming up soon- get a ticket soon!

Mike Green
Mike Green

Mike Green

Senior Customer Services Assistant

National Libraries Day

National Libraries Day logo
National Libraries Day logo

Saturday 9 February was National Libraries Day and to celebrate we had a special children’s story and craft event based on Chinese New Year.

Amal and Emma getting the Chinese snakes ready
Amal and Emma getting the Chinese snakes ready

Since we were saying hello to the Year of the Snake we made fun spirally snakes! The children had great fun decorating their snakes with glitter, sequins, stickers and googly eyes!

A shaky snake!
A shaky snake!

We gathered a collection of stories with snakes in and Bochra (who’s doing work experience with us at the moment) read a few of these to the children. The children really enjoyed looking at the pictures in these books which inspired them when they were making their spirally snakes.

Bochra helping decorate a Chinese snake
Bochra helping decorate a Chinese snake

Amal Sakr and Emma Marsh

Senior Customer Services Assistants

The Brompton Blog – February 2013

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Welcome to the latest edition of our blog. We have been exceptionally busy since the start of the year with a range of events and activities that appeal to all ages across the community and a constant influx of new members and regulars making our library a popular hub of learning and enjoyment for the community.  

A special storytime

The week of 28 January to 2  February was National Storytelling Week (more information is available from the Society for Storytelling’s website) and to celebrate that Kensington Palace have been telling stories and giving craft sessions at some of our libraries throughout the week. Parents and children who came to any of those sessions were rewarded at Kensington Palace with a special performance of all the stories on the Saturday and reduced price entrance to the palace itself. This was all possible due to the partnership we have built up with our Outreach & Community Involvement colleagues at the palace over the last two years.

At Brompton Library we had a full house, our best turnout ever for a storytime, and that was before a local nursery turned up with 16 children!

Helen East, storyteller from Kensington Palace in full swing!
Helen East, storyteller from Kensington Palace in full swing!

Helen, the storyteller, managed not to tread on anyone while keeping the kids and adults enthralled with the help of glove and finger puppets, an African drum and some strangely coloured eggs! We’d all love to have Helen back for another special storytime. And after the story came the craft!

Children making finger puppets.
Children making finger puppets.

With a little help from their parents and carers the children then made their own finger puppets from press-out templates supplied by the palace and showed a concentration and attention span never before seen (not by me, anyway!)

Saturday Storyland

Brompton Library’s Saturday Storyland sessions have an increasing number of dads bringing and participating with their children. We started Saturday Storyland on 27 October and ten children and eight adults attended that very first session. Three of the adults were dads. More and more dads are coming along now and it’s great to see them engaging with their children.

Stephanie Webb
Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Lending Librarian

National Libraries Day

National Libraries Day logo
National Libraries Day logo

So far February has been really busy with events for adults and children. On National Libraries Day we launched our new monthly craft session (11am every first Saturday of the month following on from Saturday Storyland) and as it was the Chinese New Year we had a story about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and worked out which animal was the year we were born. We celebrated the Year of the Snake and the kids loved making Chinese lanterns with crepe paper and brilliant, curly snakes. We also coloured in Chinese New Year snake pictures.

Chinese New Year crafts
Chinese New Year crafts

We are already looking forward to next month’s craft event!

Later the same day we had a visit from the “Orbirailists” – Hilary Chittenden and Victoria Foster (from Celebrate My Library) spent National Libraries Day visiting ten libraries all accessible on the new London Overground orbital train line! We were glad they made it to Brompton Library as we were the last port of call but Senior Customer Services Assistant, Katie and myself made them very welcome and they even mentioned us on Twitter! They tweeted the picture below to their followers.

Love Libraries display at Brompton Library
Love Libraries display at Brompton Library
Elisabeth Brown
Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Chatterbooks

Babita, another of our Senior Customer Service Assistants led her February Chatterbooks group on 11 February and, as ever, found some innovative things for them to do to illustrate their enthusiasm for the books they’ve read.

Chatterbooks is a huge success with the children in Brompton library; always buzzing with creative children wanting to share their ideas. This reading club encourages them to read books, write reviews, recommend the books to each other and on top of everything chatting a lot (ha ha ha!). Most of the time the children themselves select a theme for their next meeting. This month the group decided to write about favourite books, authors and characters on paper leaves and stuck them on a paper tree. They were so enthusiastic that they drew pictures of their favourite characters as well. Then they displayed it on the Chatterbooks wall in the children’s library.

Chatterbooks display
Chatterbooks display

In our next Chatterbooks session which is on Monday 11 March the children will be bringing one friend along. We love Chatterbooks as much as the children do and it’s great for them and other customers to see their creativity displayed in the library! (We have Chatterbooks in some of other libraries- more informaion is available on our website)

Babita Sinha
Babita Sinha

Babita Sinha

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Authors We Love: Ursula Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin (Photo by Dan Tuffs/Getty Images)
Ursula Le Guin (Photo by Dan Tuffs/Getty Images)

 Last week, my husband and I were discussing audio books choices as he is taking his nephew on a long road-trip oop north. Aside from my nominations of Riordan, Morpugo and Horowitz, one author who my husband was keen to introduce to him was one from his own childhood: Ursula Le Guin, and her rather enjoyable Earthsea collection of fantasy books.

Son of a prominent anthropologist, Le Guin and her brother discovered sci-fi at the age of 11 which they both considered rather corny. It was when she was in her thirties that she came under its spell and led her to create the world of Earthsea, which begins with A Wizard of Earthsea, a motherless child who finds that he has magical powers. To my mind, it is a better imagined world than Harry Potter and a beautiful canon of work.

The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

 It was probably her interests in Greek mythology and folklore that Le Guin wrote (much later) Lavinia, a barely written character in Vergil’s Aeneid which came out as her recent adult novel. Le Guin is able to revive a real breadth of life and character into Lavinia and recreates a world in which she exists that is well drawn.

 So these are just two examples of why Ursula Le Guin is a great writer and an underrated one: for half a century she has been prolific in adult and children’s fiction, short-stories, essays and poems. To me she is up there with the likes of Margaret Atwood and Donna Tartt – female authors who are able to devise dark and powerful story-telling and who push the boundaries of creativity.

 We have plenty of Ursula Le Guin books in our libraries including the Earthsea series, so come and check them out!

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

 Katie Collis

Senior Customer Services Assistant