On Saturday 16th January, we had inspirational storytellers in the library including Sarah Deco who sparked the interest and creativity in the children, firing their imaginations. This made it a great experience for all, including the parents. I have never seen the children more eager to listen to a story! Sarah’s storytelling reminds us that hearing stories told is so much more fun than watching them on the television. She made what we read on paper come to life.
With the help of Sandeep Ganatra who played the handpan drum, Sarah was telling her story through music which complimented the stories and gave them a perfect touch.
One particular story which the children loved was Linda Matthiesen’s story of the girl who lost her mittens. Guiding the children through the stories twists and turns, they were eager to know what was going to happen next. All children moved closer to hear Linda as they were eager to know what happened to the girl’s mittens and were relieved when she was reunited with them.
The thoughtfulness of volunteers such as Sarah Deco, Sandeep Ganatra, Linda Matthiesen has allowed us to provide one-off special events for children. We would like to thank them for their fantastic performances and wish them the best of luck in their future performances.
Don’t forget to come to our once a month story and craft session on Saturday 16th February, 2:30-3:45pm, and our special author reading from Marcel Feigel who will be reading his book Ollie’s Big Surprise on Saturday 27th February, 2:30-3:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
By Laila El-Boukilli,
SCSA at Notting Hill Gate 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 DanielJeffreys Customer Service Assistant, Chelsea Library
Well, it looks like spring has finally sprung around town. Without wishing to jinx it, let’s hope the rain stays away for a while because everything looks so much nicer in the sunshine!
On the 8th March we celebrated International Women’s Day, and made a display for it that included books by important female writers such as Mary Shelley and Margaret Atwood and non-fiction titles that explored the history of women’s rights. We also have a current display on historical fiction that will appeal to fans of Hilary Mantel, so come in and check it out!
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 (hahaha!).
Most of the time the children will select a theme for their next meeting. This month the group decided to write about favourite books/authors/characters on the paper leaves and stuck them on a paper tree. They were so enthusiastic that they drew the pictures of their favourite characters as well. Then they displayed it on the Chatterbooks wall in the children’s library.
For the next Chatterbooks session in April, the children will be bringing one friend along and discussing Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. Oh how noisy it will be? But we love it!!!! (to find out more, or to join our Chatterbooks group, please see the RBKC libraries website).
Brompton Library Reading Group
On Tuesday night (after a lively discussion about what West-End productions everyone had seen) we chatted about ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki. An author, living on a remote island in the States finds a washed-up Hello Kitty bag on the shoreline. Thinking that this must have come from the time of the tsunami, she opens it up to discover some documents and diaries inside. These include the diary of a Japanese teenager, a bright and vibrant girl whose family is really going through the ringer. Nao is very inspired however by her 106 year old great-grandmother -a Buddhist nun- and by the diaries of her great-uncle who details his training as a kamikaze pilot.
Short-listed for the Booker Prize last year, Ozeki really drew praise from the group with regards to her creativity of story-line and her prose (particularly one member remarked) of Hiroshima and her great uncles animosity to serve for his country. We all loved the character of Nao and her great-grandmother especially, we felt this was much stronger than the author and her husband (maybe this was intentional).
As gruelling as it was in parts, it was a very inspiring read and it was great to see how Nao and her family’s characters evolved, hopefully for the better. The quantum mechanics section at the end let it down slightly, however we would still highly recommend this book (to find out more about our reading groups, or to join, please see the RBKC libraries website).
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!
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.
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.
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!
Chelsea Library were delighted to welcome Wafa Tarnowska to the newly refurbished children’s library on Saturday 29 June.
Wafa was entranced by both the library and the welcome she received. She was here to read from her new translation of some of the stories from The Arabian Nights. The children themselves sat entranced as Wafa took them on a magic carpet ride to the Orient.
After a short introduction as to the origins of the stories, how they were collected from many countries, the life or death reason for their telling and of the first european translation into french three hundred years ago.Were there really one thousand and one tales?
Wafa, with much expression, began – our journey focused on the strong women characters which her own grandmother in the Lebanon had told her about.
We took off with ‘The Diamond Anklet’, which had echoes of the western fable ‘Cinderella’, the children were attentive with the promise of a follow-up quiz offering a large edition of her book as a prize for the winner.
The magic of eastern promise thrilled our listeners. A skilled story-teller she weaved in history and the traditional into the magic. She explained to the children Arabic words such as jjinn which is here translated as genie, at the same time keeping pace with the tale.
The children, and grown ups, wanted more, and Wafa weaved straight into the follow-up tale , which gives an unexpected twist to the traditional western fairy tale. The quiz worked well and Wafa was able to go amongst the children and explain and help them with the questions.
A winner was declared but everyone left feeling they had won a moment away from London – a trip through the window and into a land a thousand and one nights away.
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.
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
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.
In the series, Lucy Worsley argued that the success of kings and queens was dictated less by their strengths, than by their weaknesses.
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.
Pirates story and craft session
Ahoy, me hearties! This month’s story and crafts session was all about pirates! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 interactivetouch 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!
Lending Librarian, North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library’s Chatterbooks club
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.
Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library
New story and craft sessions at Notting Hill Gate Library
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!
Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library
What’s been happening at 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Senior Customer Services Assistant
Authors we love: 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.
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.
Senior Customer Services Assistant
A London Quiz
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.