Not only Dahl – the Big Friendly Read continues

Professor Lightning and his Mad Science workshop at Pimlico Library, August 2016What’s your favourite Roald Dahl story? The BFG, George’s Marvellous Medicine, or perhaps The Twits?
Whatever it is, you don’t have to read only Roald Dahl books to join in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, The Big Friendly Read. You can read anything you like from the library: joke books, information books, or story books. There is still time to join in, and it’s free – just ask at your local library. If you read 6 books before the Challenge finishes, you receive a medal!

There are also events going on all summer in our libraries, to keep children and families entertained. Here is one of our entertainers, Boo Hiccup, performing magic tricks and all round silliness at Maida Vale Library – the children LOVED it!

Boo Hiccup at Maida Vale Library, August 2016 Boo Hiccup at Maida Vale Library, August 2016

And in the style of Georges’ Marvellous Medicine, ‘Mad Science’ came along to Pimlico Library to conduct some science experiments with the children. Here (and above) is Professor Lightening making some troll bogeys… actually linked polymers. It was great fun!

Professor Lightning and his Mad Science workshop at Pimlico Library, August 2016

[Rachel]

Reading Ahead for success

Over 200 Westminster readers won special recognition for completing the Reading Ahead challenge 2016.

Reading Ahead poster 2015-16Reading Ahead (formerly The Six Book Challenge) is a nationwide challenge from The Reading Agency inviting participants to pick six reads – anything from books and magazines to website articles – and record, rate and review them in a reading diary. The programme is designed to help less confident readers improve their reading skills and is run locally by Westminster Libraries and Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES), particularly encouraging readers with English as a second language to take part. Last year, over 48,000 people took part across the UK.

In Westminster, 746 people participated in this year’s challenge, with 221 receiving the completion certificate. For the third consecutive year Church Street Library led the field with 149 completers, thanks to a great partnership with WAES and Working Men’s College who deliver their Community ESOL classes at the library.

Westminster Reading Ahead awards ceremony, July 2016

Westminster participants celebrated their success at a special event in July with author Diane Sherlock, who said:

“I was much moved and impressed by your wonderful readers. And by what you all have achieved.”

We’d like to express thanks and congratulations to everyone who took part in the challenge, including the library and WAES staff members who worked so hard at every stage from initial promotion through to the final ceremony. And thanks to Diane for her enthusiasm and support. Here’s some pictures of the happy participants receiving their certificates:

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Councillor David Harvey, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Sports and Leisure said:

“Reading is a vital skill and it’s wonderful to see so many people in Westminster take part and develop their confidence. I hope that all participants continue to build on their success and help spread the joy of reading in their communities.”

If you or someone you know are interested in taking part next year, please contact your local library. And in the meantime, why not get your children into the reading habit – it’s not too late for them to join this year’s Summer Reading Challenge!

Westminster Reading Ahead awards ceremony, July 2016

[Debora]

Chocolate Challenge!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald DahlAs part of the Summer Reading Challenge, Maida Vale Library hosted a Chocolate Challenge!

Children came along to design and make their own chocolate boxes and chocolates from salt dough and give them exciting Dahlesque names like ‘Strawberry Fizzwanglers’ and ‘Crocolate Snappetizers’.

The event was a great success with over 40 children attending and a scrumdelicious time was had by all. Real chocolate was handed out to the chocolatiers, so no one left empty handed!


Big Friendly Read - the Summer Reading Challenge 2016


We’ve got many more Big Friendly Read events in Westminster Libraries – chocolate-themed or otherwise – right through the summer holidays. Check the Big Friendly Read page or follow @WCCLibraries on Twitter for all the details.

[Simon]

The BFM: Big Friendly… Music

'Music for Giants' at Westminster Music Library, August 2016It’s the Summer Reading Challenge again, and Westminster Music Library always joins in! But what could we do to inspire our Summer Reading Challenge participants that would embrace this year’s theme – The Big Friendly Read?

We love reading, we love music, and we like to celebrate all things musical in a big and friendly way, so how about some giant-sized compositional creativity?

But first, like famous composers the world over, we needed some inspiration ourselves. There can be none better than watching some clips from that great British musical institution – The BBC Promenade concerts – better known as The Proms. Taking place every summer in The Royal Albert Hall, what proved especially appealing to our would-be Mozarts was all the fun and frivolity that happens on The Last Night:

Suitably inspired by The Sailor’s Hornpipe and Rule Britannia, our budding composers set their creative juices to work. Lots of giant-sized notes to choose from, giant-sized staves to stick them on to, and a little help from our Big Friendly Music Library Team and the Big Friendly Children’s Librarian. We definitely had some musical prodigies in the making, before long some interesting and unusual melodies had started to appear; all manner of original harmonies which would doubtless impress some of our greatest composers.

'Music for Giants' at Westminster Music Library, August 2016

'Music for Giants' at Westminster Music Library, August 2016

But no composer can be satisfied until they’ve heard their “magnum opus” performed, these Big Friendly tunes need to be played!

'Music for Giants' at Westminster Music Library, August 2016 'Music for Giants' at Westminster Music Library, August 2016

Luckily Westminster Music Library boasts a splendid piano, and even luckier, our Music Library Team has a pianist – who (fortunately) can sight read. Giant scores at the ready for our grand finale concert, this years’ Summer Reading Challenge as presented by the next generation of Big Friendly composers!


Big Friendly Read - the Summer Reading Challenge 2016


[Ruth]

Guided walks from Paddington Library

Amber the walk guide promoting her walk in Paddington Library, July 2016

Staff from City Lit have been leading free, well attended local walks for the local community, starting at the library. The most recent walks began at Paddington Library and took in places of historic and architectural interest such as Little Venice, the area around Paddington Station, Whiteleys of Bayswater and Kensington Palace.

Participants helped themselves to free refreshments at the library before embarking on the tour. Many greatly enjoyed the tour as they got some exercise, met up with people with similar interests and got plenty of fresh air on warm sunny days.

The next walk starts at Marylebone Library on 16 September. Keep an eye on the Forthcoming events page or follow @WCCLibraries on Twitter for news on any future walks and other events.

[Laurence]

This week in The Big Friendly Read

The heatwave seems to have left us (for the time being at least) – but don’t worry, even if the weather is rubbish we have lots to entertain younger customers in our libraries!


Big Friendly Read - the Summer Reading Challenge 2016


They can join in the Summer Reading Challenge, the theme of which is Roald Dahl this year. Check out the official website – it’s got suggestions for what to read next, games to play and competitions.

As well as the Challenge, we have organised a (writing) shed full of events in libraries, all free! Why not check out what’s on at your local library over the holiday?

Here is a taste of what’s been going on this week:

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[Rachel]

Mohini Kent at Paddington Library

Black Taj, by Mohini KentLast week, author Mohini Kent visited the Paddington Library readers’ group (plus guests) to talk about her recently published novel Black Taj.

The novel is set in India in 1993 and is about a Hindu woman’s relationship with a Muslim man. There are echoes of the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and this trauma hangs heavily over the story.

Mohini Kent is also a journalist, film-maker and charity worker. She has written for India Today, the Times of India, The Week magazine, and The Tablet and Asian Age.

Mohini Kent at Paddington Library, July 2016
[Laurence]