Chatterbooks at Brompton library

Stephanie Webb, Lending Librarian at Brompton Library, writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Feeling Clever? Quiz Yourself at Encyclopaedia Britannica

This month we laughed at politicians getting names wrong or being scared to do their times tables on air. What about us? How do we stack up? One fun way of testing ourselves is by taking on one of these Encyclopaedia Britannica quizzes

Quizzes at Encyclopaedia Britannica
Quizzes at Encyclopaedia Britannica


How did you do? Will we vote for you at the next election?

You can always learn a little more and do even better next time by consulting the Encyclopaedia Britannica online. Find out about the things you are interested in (or feel you ought to know!).


“You’re a Wizard, Harry”

Leanne Bellot, CSA North Kensington Library, writes:

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

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

Decoration Preparation

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

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

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

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

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

Hogwarts: A “New” History

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

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

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

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

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

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

Klaudija Cermak

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

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

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

Silver Sunday 2013

Celebrate Silver Sunday 2013 in our libraries

Silver Sunday
Silver Sunday

Silver Sunday is 6 October this year, and is a day to celebrate older people by offering them free activities and events in their local areas. Activities are made available to older people on the Sunday and other days during the weeks before and after to encourage them to try new things, to keep active in body and spirit, to meet their neighbours and to overcome loneliness.

We have two events that have been organised especially for Silver Sunday but there are other activities happening across libraries all through the year – reading groups, writing groups, computer classes and so on. Ask at your local library for details of these and other things you may be interested in.

The Local History of Brompton and Earl’s Court

Earls Court Road
Earls Court Road

Wednesday 2 October, 2 to 4.45pm
Brompton Library

Want to learn more about the local history of Brompton and Earl’s Court? Then come along to meet our Local Studies Librarian, Dave Walker. He will be on hand to discuss some interesting items from the Local Studies archive relating to the Brompton and the Earl’s Court area. Come and see how the area has changed over the decades. There’s no need to book a place to this free event – just come along.

Silver Sunday Quiz

Quiz time
Quiz time

Sunday 6 October, 2 to 4pm
Chelsea Library

Come along to our Silver Sunday Quiz – a great opportunity to test your general knowledge, meet people and enjoy a cup of tea. There’s no need to book a place – just come along and it’s free!

There’s more information about this special day on the Silver Sunday website.

Sue Cornish

Adult Learning Co-ordinator

Our favourite children’s books (and a quiz!) at Kensal Library

Children's area at Kensal Library
Children’s area at Kensal Library

Here at Kensal Library we boast a colourful and friendly area for the many children that come through our doors on a daily basis. The library has a range of fiction to suit the demands of these young people, and our reservation shelves are often filled with exciting stories about pirates, fairies, spies, talking bears, crime fighting cows and more. (If you’d like to reserve a book – just speak to a member of staff).

I was thrilled at the chance to showcase some of my childhood favourites, alongside some of the most popular junior fiction in recent days. We are particularly proud of our collection and, as the Summer Reading Challenge commences, felt now was the perfect opportunity to introduce our readers to some of the best-loved characters and stories around.  Therefore we have a vibrant new display with facts and pictures introducing books to suit all tastes and ages. We’re sure any young visitor will find something to sink their teeth into in the summer sun.

Kensal Library would love to hear what your most cherished children’s stories are, so feel free to drop by and fill in one of our display cards so that other young people can read about the heroes and adventures that you hold dear.

Quiz time!

Quiz time
Quiz time

To celebrate the wealth of stories available in Kensal and local libraries across the nation I’ve compiled a quiz. Below I have included some quotes from the most well-liked children’s books of the last few centuries.

Do you recognise them?  Answers are at the bottom of the page!

  1. “We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.”
  2.  “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR G.G., CHIEF OF ORDNANCE”
  3.  “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
  4.  “Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might-have-been.”
  5.  “I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are.”
  6. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
  7. “Where’s Papa going with that axe?”
  8.  “In an old house in Paris That was covered with vines, Lived twelve little girls In two straight lines . . .”
  9. One, two! One, two! And through and through, The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.
  10. ” . . . and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.”
  11. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”
  12. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

 Quiz answers….

  1. Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  3. The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  4. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  5. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  7. Charlotte’s Webb by E.B White
  8. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  9. The Jabberwocky from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carrol
  10. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  11. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A Milne
  12. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone (Albus Dumbledore of course!)

Sophie Rose, Customer Services Assistant

Kensal Library

The Chelsea Blog – June 2013

Chelsea Library
Chelsea Library

June has been a busy month at Chelsea Library —  over to the staff there to tell us more.

Chicken Licken

Chicken Licken et al
Chicken Licken et al

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.

Quiz Time!

Quiz time
Quiz time

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 by  Standing on the Corner — a song about spending an afternoon on main street giving the girls the eye.

Vintage Guitars and Baby Rhyme Time

Danelectro guitar in vivid ‘agent orange.’
Danelectro guitar in vivid ‘agent orange.’

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

Online sessions
Online sessions

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.

The Chelsea Reference Library Staff

The Chelsea Blog – February 2013

Chelsea Library
Chelsea Library

Hello from us all at Chelsea Library! This is our third blog post and this time we wanted to tell you more about a couple of the regular events that happen here every month.

Chatterbooks at Chelsea Library


Chatterbooks are reading groups for children aged eight to twelve years old – there’s more information on our Chatterbooks page on our website.

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year

On Saturday 9 February the Chelsea Chatterbooks group celebrated Chinese New Year. The children could look at, play with and borrow all the books we collected for the occasion from around the libraries in the borough: Chinese martial arts, the Terracotta Army, Calligraphy, ancient emperors, Chinese cookery… it’s amazing how many fantastic things come from China!

A Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library
A Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library

 We had New Year Chinese music in the background and lucky red decorations all around the library. We found out what Chinese horoscope sign we all were: we had Monkeys, Pigs and a Rat! What a party!

Another Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library!
Another Chinese dragon on display at Chelsea Library!

 The kids also did some crafts and answered a quiz about China. The best entry will win a free book – he winner will be announced at our next Chatterbooks meeting.

We are holding our free Chatterbooks sessions on the second Saturday of each month, from 10am. All kids aged eight to twelve are invited – just turn up on the day. The more the merrier!

The Chelsea Library Chatterbooks Gang

Chelsea Library’s reading group

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it.   – C.S Lewis

 Enjoy reading?  Book groups are a great way to develop your critical thinking in an informal context whilst deepening your appreciation of literature.  They can be a lot of fun too.  Whether you’re a book club veteran or would just like to meet new people and try something new, please do come along to Chelsea Library’s reading group.  For those who haven’t been to the last meeting a copy of the next month’s title can be picked up at the reservations shelf.  Just ask a member of staff.  

The Long Song by Andrea Levy
The Long Song by Andrea Levy

 At our next meeting on 21 March we’ll be discussing ‘The Long Song’ by Andrea Levy.  You will have the chance to take home a free copy of Sebastien Faulks’ ‘A Week in December,’ courtesy of the London-wide Cityread project.  Cityread London is a campaign to spread a love of books and reading to the widest possible audience throughout our capital. (More information about this campaign can be found on the Cityread website).  This year’s title is set in London and if the reviews on are anything to go by it looks like being literary Marmite – or perfect fodder for a lively meeting, disputatious but always civil.  

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

 The group is welcoming with a respect and understanding that individuals will differ in how much they wish to comment and hold forth in discussions.  In depth knowledge of the text is not assumed or required, although having read the book will certainly help!  The titles for this year have been selected up ’til September and we’re doing some time travelling, exploring some classics through Hardy’s ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ and Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’.   We’re also visiting the 1970s with Ian McEwan’s latest offering ‘Sweet Tooth’, described by the author as “a way in which I can write disguised autobiography”.   One of the contemporary treats is Patrick Dewitt’s offbeat and picaresque Man Booker shortlisted adventure ‘The Sister’s Brother’s’.  

 And finally, some good news: we can now plunder the treasures of the Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster Libraries’ reading group collections. and vice versa.     

James Dunne
James Dunne

James Dunne

Customer Services Assistant

Chelsea Children’s Library – refurbishment

Just to let you know – Chelsea Children’s Library will be refurbished in March – so it’ll be closed from Monday 11 March 2013 for a couple of weeks. All regular children’s sessions such as baby rhyme time and storytime will be postponed while the children’s library is out of action. We’re really sorry about this – sessions will be taking place at our other libraries during this time so please take a look at children’s events page on our website.