Story-time at Chelsea Library

When I first started doing the under-5s at Chelsea I had no experience at all, in fact I had come from delivering the housebound service in Hammersmith, so I was used to dealing with the very elderly who were often slow on their feet and very polite. I was in no way prepared for the chaos of pre-schoolers: the tired and distracted mothers and the nannies on their mobiles.
My God they were a tough audience!

I soon realise why so many people were reluctant to take on the responsibility. Some fellow workers were not brave enough to put on the baritone voice of the ogre in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
The Three Billy Goats Gruff

There was almost a sense that the children’s library should be free of noise and chaos.

Did we really need class visits when books were left strewn across the carpet? Well, yes we did! We needed to embrace the chaos.

I soon developed a taste for amateur theatrics and found myself thinking my way inside Mr Bear’s mind in the wonderful ‘Peace At Last’ where the adults are amused by Mr Bear’s wretched sleepless night, his snoring wife and the horrible brown letter from the Inland Revenue which appears at the end and is clearly responsible for the wiggly lines etched round his eyes.

Last month I was sent on a story-time training session in Barnet where I hoped to pick up some new tips.
Would there be some hints on puppetry?
How to throw your voice or even a magic spell to aid concentration?

The session in Barnet was led by three high octane women. They had a personal interest in all the stories and like fans of music they felt a special relationship with Lucy Cousins and Jez Alborough. They had taken ownership of the books. Their enthusiasm was a little daunting for the first timer. I both appreciated the course and squirmed with embarrassment at having to sit on a small inflatable ring in a mock-up of a farm yard. Story-time means you have to let go, become cartoonish, engage the children with eye contact and big swirling gestures.

What I learnt is that repetition in a story is great, less text too, stories that elicit a call and answer response and some of those almost silent books such as ‘Hug’ which repeat one word over and over are the best. Most important of all don’t be afraid of repeating the same story. They will soon know Jack and the Beanstalk by heart.

Hug by Jez Alborough
Hug by Jez Alborough

We had a busy Summer Reading Challenge party and began with some themed record breaker questions for the completers. No one was prepared for the weird questions quizmaster Vince Symmons prepared: the length of the longest nose hair or the greatest distance covered by a skate-boarding goat?
Answers on a postcard please.
The more absurd the question the better the children responded.

Furry Creatures
Furry Creatures

Story-craft this month was structured around monsters. Di devised some brilliantly huggable creatures with folding arms and big furry bodies – a bit like an angry sporran. Earlier we designed frogs with red woollen tongues and a squashed fly on the end.

Frogs and flies
Frogs and flies

We also had a visit from the Holland Park ecology centre. The staff brought cockroaches and millipedes to the library and they did very well with our very own two-legged mini beasts!

By Daniel Jeffreys
Customer Service Assistant, Chelsea Library

 

Happy National Libraries Day!

Today, 7 February is 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.

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 and e-audiobooks 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!

Never Lie on a Lion…

Just a quick one to brighten up your Wednesday…

Our Story & Craft session at Kensal this month had a lion theme.  We read Never Lie on a Lion by Alan James Brown and A Tinga Tinga Tale – Why Lion Roars by Claudia Lloyd.

After these fabulous stories we made equally fabulous colourful lion faces and the roaring was so loud you’d be forgiven for thinking there were real lions in residence at Kensal Library!!

Work in progress...
Work in progress…
ROOOAAARR!!
ROOOAAARR!!

The Brompton Blog – May 2013

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Hello and welcome to the May edition of the Brompton Library blog. A recap for those new to us – we are located just 7 minutes walk from Earl’s Court tube station, our medium-sized library caters for a wide variety of people and offers many learning resources:

  • Wide selection of books including fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, children’s and young adult
  • Language courses
  • Audio-books and large-print titles
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Travel guides and Ordnance Survey maps
  • Computers with scanning and printing facilities
  • Free wi-fi
  • Colour photocopier
  • Digital library
  • Children’s story-time and singing sessions
  • Fortnightly coffee mornings (age 50+)

  If you would like to join the library all you need is some identification with proof of UK address. The membership process takes only five minutes and once you are registered you will have access to all of our libraries across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

 In addition to all of these resources there are a multitude of events and groups that meet on the first floor. Our meeting room can be hired for public and corporate events and there is also a separate learning space that features a projector with screen, ten desktop computer terminals, a scanner and colour photocopier.

Here are some of the groups and activities that meet here:

  • Tai-Chi and pilates classes
  • Job seeking support and advice club for those with learning difficulties
  • Reading groups for adults and children
  • Councillor surgeries
  • ESOL classes
  • Bibliotherapy sessions
  • Housing advice sessions
  • IT for beginners classes

 There’s more  information about our meeting room on our website.

 Go outside!

'Go Outside' book display
‘Go Outside’ book display

Customer Services Assistant, artist, musician and Norwich City supporter David Bushell has created a display of books to inspire people to get outdoors and become involved in activities.

Katie’s Corner

Brompton Library’s reading group read ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes for their May meeting.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

It is about a man called Tony who is left a mysterious bequest by an ex-girlfriend’s mother. This leads him back into the days of his adolescence and university life, of four boys hanging out together, one of whom was Adrian, a dazzlingly brilliant person, destined for greatness. As Tony digs deeper into his past he uncovers more and more about the ‘missing years’ and how that compares to his rather conventional life.

Having read this book for the second time I was keen to know what the others thought about it. My first impression of Tony was that he was a rather chinless, useless character who set out to achieve great things but had quite a banal life. Reading it on the second occasion offered me the chance to change my opinion about him; I actually felt more sympathy for Tony this time round. One reader really felt that the behaviour of the young men at school and university only furnished her view that men were the cause of most of the world’s problems, so misguided and dreadful they were. Most really loathed Veronica (one of Tony’s girlfriends) and her very snobbish family, whose dad and brother did their best to make him feel uncomfortable.

What we all agreed upon was that the book started out like something from ‘The History Boys’ by Alan Bennett but then became absorbed with the Tony in later life and this slow build-up to a real bombshell, you could feel it from the few clues that were scattered about for Tony that it was going to be BIG.

I absolutely loved this book – there is a kind of philosophy running through it – and it makes you ponder – how we all view historical events and who said what can be completely blown out of the water. We are all imperfect and therefore history must be too.

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Service Assistant

World Book Night 2013

World Book Night books on display at Brompton Library
World Book Night books on display at Brompton Library

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed books in their communities to share their love of reading. World Book Night is celebrated on 23 April. In 2013 it was celebrated in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

 Before rushing up to Kensington Central Library on World Book Night, as a book-giver I had 20 copies of Rose Tremain’s The Road Home to distribute to  readers at Brompton Library.  I decided to try to give them to our customers who primarily use the library’s computers. 

At the end of the day there were only 2 copies left! And I gave these last copies to two of the teachers who came in with their classes the next day.

World Book Night is a good cause and it was great fun being involved with it.

Premier League Reading Stars

Premier League Reading Stars logo
Premier League Reading Stars logo

Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) is a partnership between the National Literacy Trust and the Premier League to support hundreds of schools and libraries during 2012 and 2013.

At the beginning of the month, Rob Symmons from Chelsea Library and I finally played host to the first “fixture” in a season of ten PLRS sessions. A local school has selected 9 pupils who they have judged will benefit from this football-themed scheme to improve their literacy skills. It was with much trepidation that we approached this project, neither of us having had any previous experience of delivering what is really a lesson to a bunch of nine year olds but, of course, it turned out to be fine. Rob and I are on a steep learning curve but, at the end of the day, we were over the moon – no yellow cards and lots of goals!

Stephanie Webb
Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Lending Librarian

Bookstart Bear Club

Bookstart Bear Club logo
Bookstart Bear Club logo

At one of our Saturday Storyland sessions this month Senior Customer Services Assistant, Katie and Customer Services Assistant, Rahima introduced the Bookstart Bear Club.

They gave out membership packs which include a booklet to collect bear paw stamps for each of the children who visit the library for story or rhyme times. For each six stamps collected the children get a certificate.

They read bear stories to the children including ‘This is the Bear’ by Sarah Hayes and ‘Copycat Bear’ by Ellie Sandall.

Our colouring pictures were from the Bookstart website, and the children made a picture by sticking on balloon shapes with the bear.

Bookstart balloon picture
Bookstart balloon picture

There will be another story and craft session on Thursday 30 May at 10.30am; we are continuing the bear theme using ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’.

Chatterbooks 

Chatterbooks
Chatterbooks

This month the theme was spies and thrillers and true to its name it was packed with thrilling espionage activities. There were code making and code breaking puzzles, ideas for spy disguises and how to tell ‘goodie’ from a ‘baddie’.

 We discussed loads of books on this theme. There was a competition on drawing a spy gadget and the best gadget which won was the DNA matching revolver. The children were very enthusiastic and it was wonderful sharing their innovative ideas.

The children also enjoyed chatting about their favourite spies and there was no confusion in choosing Mr Bond unanimously.

Our next meeting is on Monday 10 June and the theme will be comics and humour.

 Babita Sinha and Ioanna Misdrakou

Kensington Central Library – May 2013

Kensington Central Library
Kensington Central Library

Welcome to our May 2013 blog post. We’ve lots of events happening at Kensington Central Library in next few months for adults and children – check out our events page for full details.

Adult Learners' Week 2013
Adult Learners’ Week 2013

This week is Adult Learners’ Week so if you fancy trying a new skill such as creative writing or hand sewing – take a look at our taster sessions happening in Kensington Central Library. And there’s more information about this festival of learning on the Adult Learners’ Week website.

Fit to Rule – How Royal Illness Changed History

Fit to Rule book display
Fit to Rule book display

This month we have a special display of books to support the recent BBC TV series, ‘Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History’. This series was by Dr Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces.

Fit to Rule book display
Fit to Rule book display

In the series, Lucy Worsley argued that the success of kings and queens was dictated less by their strengths, than by their weaknesses.

Fit to Rule book display
Fit to Rule book display

You can use this collection to make up your own minds, not only by reading the biographies of a range of monarchs, but also by comparing how they handled their illnesses with contemporary books on the same topics.

Did you know?
William III suffered from asthma – he bought Nottingham House in the village of Kensington so that he had a residence close to London which was surrounded by fields and so had clean, fresh air – this house would eventually become Kensington Palace.
George II suffered a heart attack  – whilst having a hot chocolate as he sat on the toilet in Kensington Palace!

For more facts like this – come and see our special display.

There’s a more information about the series on the BBC website.

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green

Lending Librarian

Pirates story and craft session

Pirate time!
Pirate time!

Ahoy, me hearties! This month’s story and crafts session was all about pirates! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

My Gran is a Pirate by Val McDermid
My Gran is a Pirate by Val McDermid

We started off a lot fuller then before, with growing levels of kids and parents, after a lovely read by Gemma of “My Gran is a Pirate” by Val McDermid, we continued by making pirate hats.

Pirate hats!
Pirate hats!

Was all the mess at the end worth it? Yes! Both the kids and parents as well as myself and Gemma had a great laugh with the whole crafts section. An all round great session, with lots of smiling faces, laughter and pirate lingo!! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh me matey.

Haider Ali
Haider Ali

Haider Ali

Customer Services Assistant

The Brompton Blog – April 2013

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

The Easter holidays have ended and so (it seems) has the bitterly cold weather which refused to succumb to the golden rays of spring and appears to have finally relinquished its icy grasp of the country- hooray!  

New books at Brompton!

New books on display
New books on display

Over these last few weeks Brompton Library has been busy with students, computer users and book borrowers as well as groups from local schools, families and children who have been taking home a selection of newly received picture books, educational material and junior/teen fiction which we have added to our shelves.

More new books
More new books

In addition to this we also have new stock of non-fiction including celebrity-chef cookery books and travel guides, contemporary-fiction and classic anthologies from authors such as H.P Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, newly released albums by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Johnny Marr and DVDs including The Hobbit and Seven Psychopaths -the new film from In Bruges director Martin McDonagh and star Colin Farrell.

Story and craft sessions

During the Easter holiday period we also continued to run story and craft activities for young children overseen by our wonderful staff members, Elisabeth and Katie and with help from our lovely weekly volunteer, Lisa.

The first session was on Sat 6 April 2013 – we read a Charlie and Lola story: ‘We completely must go to London’ by Lauren Child. We looked at the map at the back of the book showing the famous places they had seen & how they got there.

Football pictures on display
Football pictures on display

At the second session we  focused on football so we read ‘Willy the Wizard’ by Anthony Browne and ‘Football Fever’ by Alan Durant. We made football pictures by sticking on a goal, a goalkeeper & other players. We also had a picture of a footballer to colour.

There was another session on Sat 13 April; this time the theme was transport, so our stories were about buses and trains.

Taxidermy at Brompton

Well, where were you all on Saturday 16 March? Well we had what must rank as one of the unlikeliest events to be held in a library (with the possible exception of pole dancing!).  Now you will never know the joy of watching someone skin and stuff a dead rat!

Seriously, this was a fascinating demonstration of the craft of taxidermy. The delicacy and skill needed to detach the skin from the membrane containing the innards was surprising and it’s not at all grisly or smelly.

The photos are more during and after than before and after. In the first you can see the skin taking shape with cotton wool inside.

Amanda putting cotton wool into a rat
Amanda putting cotton wool into a rat

In the second you have the sweetest rat ever!

The finished rat!
The finished rat!

For more information see Amanda’s website for some truly esoteric taxidermy. According to Amanda, taxidermy is the new knitting!

Stephanie Webb
Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Lending Librarian

Katie’s Corner

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

 As part of the Cityread London 2013 our reading group was asked to read ‘A Week in December’, Sebastian Faulk’s multi-character novel looking into the lives of people across London. Memorable characters include a tube train driver, a suicide bomber, a book reviewer and a financier.

I had quite a reaction to the book. Some people could not get past page 70. There were several characters which I thought were very unconvincing. However what made me re-evaluate my poor impression of the book was some marvellous viewpoint from one of my members, that Faulks deliberately made the characters more larger-than-life, because he wanted his book to have more of an impact on the reader, especially with regards to the financial gloom and doom.

Sebastian Faulks
Sebastian Faulks

Faulks goes into detail with how this financier managed and played with people’s money and it really brings home to you how vile and destructive these people were, and also how we as a populace were so ignorantly blissful to it. It was great to read Faulks’ own assessment about this in the Evening Standard this week.

Overall, I do not believe that it is Faulks’ finest piece of work and it did not have the pathos of his other books, but then again this book was not about that – it is a statement also about how we live in this cruel and brilliant London and the deep-rooted connections that binds us all.

Speaking of which, as an alternative choice to this year’s Cityread, I offered my reading group ‘The Lonely Londoners’ by Sam Selvon. Set in 1950s London, it follows the fortunes of folk who have come to the UK from the West Indies to make a new life. This, I have to say, drew fulsome praise from my reading group. They thought it was sad, funny, and poignant and the language and different words adopted for different parts of London made it a fascinating read. For two members it struck them with shame that we treated these newcomers in this way. Their harsh and lonely way of life is transcended by the beautiful and gentle prose of Selvon; this book is highly recommended by our reading group!

And finally, we recently had a visit from the BBC film crew for The One Show in which they filmed me ‘shushing’ an actor making a disturbance in the library. My performance was certainly Oscar worthy!

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Services Assistant

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 – March 2013

Kensington Central Library
Kensington Central Library

Hello and welcome to our third blog post of the year. This month we thought we’d tell you about how new monthly story and craft session for children is going, some new displays and lastly something completely different….!

Story and crafts

Story and craft sessions
Story and craft sessions

Our new monthly story and craft sessions started in February – over to Haider and Gemma to tell you more….

The first session started off with great success, after finishing the short story ‘The Rhyming Rabbit’ by Julia Donaldson, we started with the crafts section of the hour. Both parents and children seemed to be thrilled by the idea of making their own rabbit ears, some parents more than their kids.

Haider wearing his rabbit ears!
Haider wearing his rabbit ears!

Gradually as the crafts section continued we had more and more kids and parents coming along to make their own set of ears, I personally believe my rabbit ears were by far the best, but then again a certain little chap seemed to have been the next Neil Buchanan. However all petty competition aside, the first story and craft session seemed to have gone off with a bang, having gotten back some really good feedback from the participators as well as ideas of what they want from the next sessions.

Our second session in March had a football theme – we read ‘Harry and the Dinosaurs United’ by Ian Whybrow and made footballers.

Haider and Gemma at our second session
Haider and Gemma at our second session

Our sessions are the second Saturday of the month, 2 to 3pm. Check our website for dates – we’d love to see you!

Haider Ali, Customer Services Assistant

Gemma Baker, Senior Customer Services Assistant

New displays

We’re really lucky to have so much space to display our books at this library. I thought you’d like to see some of the displays we’ve had to celebrate various things such as St Patrick’s Day, International Book Week and the 150 year anniversary of the London Underground. If you’ve got an idea for a display – please let us know via the comments section below.

London Underground 150 year anniversary
London Underground 150 year anniversary
St Patrick's Day books on display
St Patrick’s Day
International Book Week, 18 to 22 March 2013
International Book Week, 18 to 22 March 2013
National Science and Engineering Week, 15 to 24 March 2013 books on display
National Science and Engineering Week, 15 to 24 March 2013

And now for something completely different….

To celebrate Red Nose Day and to support Comic Relief, Kensington and Chelsea staff were asked if they’d like to take part in a RBKC Harlem Shake. We’d thought you’d like to see what our colleagues did:

[youtube.com/watch?v=mg7xwixPY8M]

Even funnier (in my opinion) is the making of video:

[youtube.com/watch?v=4hY3yDKg7v8]

Hope you enjoy them too!

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green

Lending Librarian

The Brompton Blog March 2013

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Hello blog-fans and library enthusiasts. We hope you are well despite the recent return of the wintry conditions which seem to be the causing mass outbreaks of cold and sniffles across the capital. Fear not! Our library is well stocked with health and wellbeing books that can help you to beat these seasonal maladies.

In addition to the usual events and classes taking place at Brompton Library we have had some additional activities and recommendations that you may find interesting while our resident culture aficionado and reading group leader, Katie Collis talks about one of her favourite authors.

World Book Day at Brompton Library

World Book Day logo
World Book Day logo

Thursday 7 March was World Book Day and it started at  Brompton Library with storytime at 10am. We read ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ by Julia Donaldson and sang songs and read out other stories and rhymes.

What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson
What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson

I had put up posters in the library and I wondered whether any children would be dressing up. Then a little girl came dressed in a ladybird costume. I printed off some photos of authors and made them into masks.

The day carried on with a class visit at 2pm from a local school. I wondered if the author masks looked scary but the children laughed and some of them could match the author’s names to the faces.

Elisabeth with her author masks
Elisabeth with her author masks

Helen East was our visiting storyteller; she entertained us all very well and made the children promise to retell the story to help them remember it.

A lot of children visit Brompton Library after school; they played with the masks and told me whether they had done anything for World Book Day at school and what they were planning to buy with their World Book Day voucher. There’s more  information about this day on the World Book Day website.

Elisabeth Brown
Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Calling all film buffs!

This month we have a selection of foreign language films in the library. Included are such gems as the Hebrew/Israeli film Waltz with Bashir, a stunning animation about a man trying to understand his nightmares and experiences as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon war, and Perspolis, (also a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi), a modern cult classic telling the experiences of the author struggling with her Iranian identity in Europe. Please see the display by the entrance for these and other great films you may love but have yet to discover! All titles have English subtitles.

DVDs on display at Brompton Library
DVDs on display at Brompton Library

In addition to these world cinema titles we also have a great selection of new films to borrow. This includes Argo, Ben Affleck’s latest thriller which scooped three Oscars at this year’s award ceremony including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Picture. There’s a complete list of this year’s winners on the Oscars website.

Other less high-brow new release films on offer include Skyfall the latest James Bond adventure and Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2. In addition to these titles here are some DVD recommendations that are available within the RBKC library service:

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson’s latest quirky comedy features a fantastic cast including Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Edward Norton.

Beasts of the Southern Wild: A beautiful and poignant realist-fantasy featuring a stunning performance from Quvenzhane Wallis the nine year old girl who is the youngest person ever to be nominated for an academy award.

Christian Stevens
Christian Stevens

Christian Stevens

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Katie’s Corner

Authors we love: David Sedaris

David Sedaris
David Sedaris

Like the road trips that I alluded to last month with my husband whilst listening to audio books, the same author keeps popping into my mind – David Sedaris. I first came across this chap on Radio 4, his beguiling voice entertaining the audience with stories of his family, his childhood and his meanderings. Born in New York he had a very unconventional childhood and his writings did not provoke the interest of many until he was asked to host a radio show in Chicago. Once regular essays of his started appearing in the press the New York Times established him as a ‘minor icon’ and he started publishing his books. His 8th book, Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls is coming out in April.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

What I like about Sedaris is that he is entirely unsentimental but he writes and speaks in a way that cannot fail to touch you, he sums up relationships with his partner, parents and siblings which are hilarious and thought-provoking. Of them in particular he writes:

We were not a hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort it was our belief that no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well made cocktail.

We have a number of his books in our collection so check him out! A teensy little taster of Sedaris can also be heard currently on Radio 4’s Ramblings with Clare Balding. That can be found on the BBC Radio 4 website.

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Services Assistant

A London Quiz

A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks
A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks

Want to test your knowledge about London? To celebrate our involvement with the Cityread London campaign, library staff have put together a quiz sheet that highlights the locations which appear in A Week in December  by Sebastian Faulks (this year’s Cityread London title).

You can collect a copy of the quiz from us and our other libraries – there aren’t any prizes but we hope you enjoy testing yourself!

There’s  more information about the campaign on Cityread London’s website and we’ve lots of events happening in our libraries during April 2013 too- full details on our Cityread London webpage.

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
Chatterbooks

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.