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

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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.

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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.

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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