Animal Magic at Queen’s Park Library

Elmer the Elephant

A team of children and parents got together to bring back Elmer the patchwork elephant’s colours with amazing results – Elmer is grateful and we are proud. Everyone went a bit mad with the glitter, putting some spark back into a moody London day.

elmer

In Disguise

There were lots of creative, colourful and expressive badges made at our “In Disguise” event. By the end of the session children were proudly wearing their designs; animals, stars, names, emojis and slogans.

We particularly liked “Reading is Great”.

In between making badges several participants chose their animal face paint design and managed not to wriggle too much during their transformation.

There were tigers, dinosaurs, butterflies, pandas and a Dalmatian. Plus one Batman by special request. A bat is an animal we were told, firmly.

ZooLab!

The fantastic ZooLab held a crowd of children spellbound this week. Ranger Lillian told the tale of the stolen seed with a cast of creepy-crawlies including Mike the millipede and Thelma the tarantula. The children learned lots of interesting facts about the creatures and got to hold or stroke them too.

There are more events coming up at Queen’s Park Library as part of the Summer Reading Challenge including “Fabulous Fish”, “Beastly Super Sleuths” and “Canine Culture”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The making of mayamada – journey into manga

We’ve got an amazing event on Saturday 5 August, 1.30pm at Westminster Reference Library : ‘The making of mayamada – journey into manga’.  More info on our website

mayamanda founders, Nigel and Lao have written a guest blog post to tell us more –

The story of mayamada starts with failure, also known as a “learning experience”. We’ve had a few of those along the way…

mayamada founders Nigel and Lao

In the beginning, there was just an idea between a group of friends with a love of Japanese culture. We wanted to make cool t-shirts and sell them to an adoring fan base.

Unfortunately, the cool t-shirts never came, and neither did the fan base!

So once we admitted our plan was working we had a rethink. The group became a duo and me along with co-founder Lao set about working on a real brand to build.

As well as an interest in anime, manga, and cartoons, we also had a passion for storytelling. So after a brainstorming session (or two) we put those things together and came up with a whole universe of characters and stories. A brand was born.

mayamada became a universe; a television network with an all star cast of anthropomorphic characters. We started designing characters and writing manga-style comics to tell the story of the shows on the mayamada network.

mayamada manga

Even with the idea sorted, it still took a while to get our first title released. Two years. In 2013, we were able to self-publish Samurai Chef Volume 1 thanks to a successful Indiegogo crowd funding campaign.

Samurai Chef

Since then we’ve released the complete edition of Samurai Chef along with Hot Lunch: The Outer Circle and Serious Volume 1.

mayamada manga titles

We even managed to create some cool t-shirts featuring our characters. The fan base started to come too. It’s been great to see people respond positively to our stories, characters, and clothing.

mayamada clothing

We’ve been able to take our brand to comic conventions across the country where we get to meet new fans and people who have been supporting us for years now.  The support has allowed us to build the mayamada universe through new characters and stories.

Hyper Japan Summer 2016

But it hasn’t stopped there. We’ve also been able to launch our own social gaming event, GamePad. With the aim of making gaming more inclusive, we work with gaming companies including Ubisoft and Nintendo to put on a fun day of gaming for everyone. We’re glad for that initial failure, we never would be here without it.

mayamada GamePad Highlights

This is still at the beginning of our story though. There are lots more mayamada stories to write and characters to meet. No doubt there’ll be more learning experiences too as we keep building our brand – it’s all part of the journey!

mayamada brand

 

Many thanks to Nigel and Lao for sharing their story with us; don’t forget if you’d like to meet them on Saturday 5 August – book your free place on Eventbrite

French Culture Day at Church Street Library

Drama, music, suspense, storytelling and so much more were on offer on Tuesday 4 July at Church Street Library for French Culture Day.

And the pirates’ treasure was found!

French Culture Day kicked off in the morning with Institut français’ Anna Orford and her wonderfully eclectic under 5s storytelling session (in French and English) with songs, suspense and French book prizes (and the treasure was made of chocolate!).

There was a treasure hunt, later on in the day, for children aged 5-10, followed by a French class for adults. Altogether, more than 135 people joined us on the day.

I would like to say a  massive heartfelt thank you to our irreplaceable French Club tutors/volunteers Elodie and Tissam. They prepared the treasure hunt (clues, images, prizes etc) and adult lesson plan for the French class.

Most importantly, Elodie established a partnerships with King Solomon Academy’s French teacher, that was a great help as the teacher and two of her Year 13 pupils helped with running  the treasure hunt. This will hopefully lead to further joint events. I honestly couldn’t have done this without them!

Last but not least, Emmanuelle from Institut français kindly donated boxes of French books (which we also used as treasure hunt prizes) for the French book sale and the books sold very well. Oh and she said, let’s do this again around Christmas time!

Debora, Church Street Library

Summer Reading Challenge 2017: Animal Agents

 

Are you ready to sign up to this year’s Summer Reading  Challenge, read six books over the holidays AND solve a mystery? If you are, then visit your local Westminster library at the start of the summer holidays to register!

All you have to do to take part in Animal Agents, Summer Reading Challenge 2017 is read six library books over the holidays, collecting stickers, rewards and clues along the way. If you read six library books, you’ll receive a certificate and might solve the mystery too. The Summer Reading Challenge is free and children of all ages can take part.

We have a fun programme of free events across our libraries this summer –

Charing Cross Library

Church Street Library

Maida Vale Library

Marylebone Library

Mayfair Library

Paddington Children’s Library

Pimlico Library

Queen’s Park Library

St John’s Wood Library

Victoria Library


Charing Cross Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Tuesday 25th July, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Boo Hiccup Tuesday 1st August, 10.30-11.30am
Boo Hiccup will excite and entertain with magic and puppets in a delightful Animal Agents themed show for young children and their parents.

Animal Party Tuesday 8th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and games for the little ones. Come to celebrate our animal friends at the library this summer.

Animal Party Tuesday 15th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and games for the little ones. Come to celebrate our animal friends at the library this summer.

Animal Party Tuesday 22nd August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and games for the little ones. Come to celebrate our animal friends at the library this summer.

Animal Party Tuesday 29th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and games for the little ones. Come to celebrate our animal friends at the library this summer


Church Street Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Thursday 27th July, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Five Little Monkeys Thursday 3rd August, 10.30-11.30am
Fun songs and action rhymes for pre-school children.

Along Came Mr Crocodile Thursday 10th August, 10.30-11.30am
Rhymes and songs for little ones.

Wake Up Bunnies! Thursday 17th August, 10.30-11.30am
Join in our fun singing session for younger children and their grown-ups.

Incy Wincy Spider Thursday 24th August, 10.30-11.30am
Learn some new songs and enjoy familiar ones at our weekly rhyme time.

The Mouse Ran up the Clock Thursday 31st August, 10.30-11.30am
Songs and stories for babies and toddlers.

For the over 5s

Jeremy Strong’s ‘100 Mile an hour Dog’ Wednesday 26th July, 3.30-4.15pm
Can Trevor train Streaker the dog before the end of the holidays, or will he lose his bet with Charlie Smugg? Interactive drama show with actor John Kirk.
For ages 6+.

Cool Cats Friday 28th July, 2-4pm
Family craft workshop with Learning Unlimited. Come and make cat masks, take part in a quiz and make a cat game to take home. Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Creature Workshop Wednesday 2nd August, 2.30-3.30pm
Invent some fantastic creatures and colourful bugs using different craft materials.

We’re Going to the Zoo Wednesday 9th August, 2.30-3.30pm
An animal themed craft activity. Get busy with recycled materials, scissors and glue and build some amazing animals.

Amazing Animal Agents Monday 14th August, 2.30-4pm
Come and discover some of the amazing animals from the Wallace Collection, then make a marvellous animal mask to disguise yourself! What will you be?

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Wednesday 23rd August, 2.30-4pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

The Summer Reading Challenge Party Wednesday 30th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge and join us for some fun party games.


Maida Vale Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Friday 28th July, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Going to the Zoo Friday 4th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and a story, followed by a simple craft activity.

Beware of the Bear! Friday 11th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and a story, followed by a simple craft activity.

Farmyard Fun Friday 18th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and a story, followed by a simple craft activity.

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs Friday 25th August, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and a story, followed by a simple craft activity.

Party Animals Friday 1st September, 10.30-11am
Songs, rhymes and a story, followed by a simple craft activity.

For the over 5s

Dinosaur Fun Monday 24th July, 2-4pm
Family craft workshop with Learning Unlimited, including a dino quiz. Find out some fun facts and make a dino board game to take home. Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Amazing Animal Agents Monday 31st July, 2.30-4pm
Come and discover some of the amazing animals from the Wallace Collection, then make a marvellous animal mask to disguise yourself! What will you be?

Real Animal Agents Wednesday 2nd August, 2.30-3.30pm
Come and meet some real life animals and find out some cool animal facts with this hands-on workshop from Wild Science!

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Wednesday 9th August, 2.30- 3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

Puppet Pets Thursday 17th August, 2.30-4pm
Make a felt animal puppet to take home. Please note adult help may be needed for younger children.

Marvellous Masks Thursday 24th August, 2.30-4pm
Fierce or friendly, what animal mask will you make?

For all ages

Animal Agents Party Thursday 31st August, 2.30-4pm
Celebrate this year’s Summer Reading Challenge with games, quizzes, food and fun! Booking essential. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.


Marylebone Library

For the under 5s
Cool Cats Tuesday 25th July, 10.30-11am
Come along for songs, rhymes, stories and a cool cat craft.

Five Little Ducks Tuesday 1st August, 10.30-11am
Join us for musical fun, stories, and the making of your very own little ducks.

Down on the Farm Tuesday 8th August, 10.30-11am
Enjoy animal songs, stories and a fun farmyard craft activity.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear Tuesday 15th August, 10.30-11am
Come along to make a pretty polar bear and to hear your favourite songs, rhymes and stories.

Walking through the Jungle Tuesday 22nd August, 10.30-11am
Join us for songs aplenty and a special jungle animal craft.

How much is that Doggy? Tuesday 29th August, 10.30-11am
Enjoy songs, stories, rhymes and a playful puppy dog craft

For the over 5s

Amazing Animal Agents Monday 24th July, 2.30-4pm
Come and discover some of the amazing animals from the Wallace Collection, then make a marvellous animal mask to disguise yourself! What will you be?

Dinosaur Fun Tuesday 25th July, 2-4pm
Family craft workshop with Learning Unlimited including a dino quiz. Find out some fun facts and make a dino board game to take home. Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Friday 28th July, 2.30-3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

ZooLab presents Animal Detectives! Friday 4th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Join ZooLab for an animal handling workshop full of mystery and intrigue designed to fire children’s imagination, confidence and love of the written word.
Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Learn and Play Tuesday 8th August, 2-4pm
Inspirational craft for kids and grown-ups. Easy and fun sensory art with Georgia Vossou from the Westminster Archives Centre.

Hermelin’s Mystery Hunt Thursday 17th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Be a detective for the afternoon and join us for a fun mystery hunt, based on the book by Mini Grey. Solve the clues to win a prize!

Secret Book Safe Thursday 24th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Come along and make your own secret storage safe, disguised as a book on your shelf!

For all ages

Summer Reading Party! Thursday 31st August, 10.30-11.30am
Come along to celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Challenge with party
games and prizes!


Mayfair Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Wednesday 9th August, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Boo Hiccup Tuesday 22nd August, 10.30-11.30am
Boo Hiccup will excite and entertain with magic and puppets in a delightful Animal Agents themed show for young children and their parents

For the over 5s

ZooLab presents Animal Detectives! Tuesday 19th September, 4-5pm
Join ZooLab for an animal handling workshop full of mystery and intrigue designed to fire children’s imagination, confidence and love of the written word.
Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.


Paddington Children’s Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Wednesday 26th July, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Animal Agents Toddler Time Friday 28th July, 10.30-11am
A time to meet for toy time and animal colouring sheets.

Crafty Cats Baby Rhyme Time Wednesday 2nd August, 10.30-11am
Rhymes, songs and stories.

Crafty Cats Toddler Time Friday 4th August, 10.30-11am
Sharing toys and cat themed colouring.

Up in the Sky Baby Rhyme Time Wednesday 9th August, 10.30-11am
Rhymes, songs and stories.

Up in the Sky Toddler Time Friday 11th August, 10.30-11am
Explore and have fun with things that fly.

Furry Things Baby Rhyme Time Wednesday 16th August, 10.30-11am
Rhymes, songs and stories.

Furry Things Toddler Time Friday 18th August, 10.30-11am
Come and play and colour creatures.

Under the Sea Baby Rhyme Time Wednesday 23rd August, 10.30-11am
Rhymes, songs and stories.

Under the Sea Toddler Time Friday 25th August, 10.30-11am
Who lives here? Toys and colouring.

Top Dogs Baby Rhyme Time Wednesday 30th August, 10.30-11am
Rhymes, songs and stories.

Top Dogs Toddler Time Friday 1st September, 10.30-11am
Dogs, toys and colours to explore.

For the over 5s

‘100 Mile and Hour Dog’ Wednesday 26th July, 1-2.15pm
Can Trevor train Streaker the Dog before the end of the holidays, or will he lose his bet with Charlie Smugg? Interactive drama show with actor John Kirk.
For ages 6+.

Animal Rap and Rhyme Monday 31st July, 2.30-3.30pm
Celebrate the Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge by having fun with words courtesy of award-winning children’s poet, author and entertainer, Neal Zetter.

I Spy Animals Thursday 3rd August, 2-3.30pm
Come along and make crafty animals.

Learn and Play Monday 7th August, 2-4pm
Inspirational craft for kids and grown-ups.
Easy and fun sensory art with Georgia Vossou from the Westminster Archives Centre.

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Wednesday 16th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

Mouse Mats Thursday 24th August, 2-3.30pm
Use amazing mice to make your own colourful mouse mats.

Animal Papercraft Tuesday 29th August, 2-3.30pm
Use your imagination to create amazing animal agents at our paper craft session


Pimlico Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Monday 31st July, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Safari Stories with Slivery Craft Monday 7th August, 10.30-11.30am
Stories and snake craft.

Music for Little Monkeys Monday 14th August, 10.30-11am
Songs and rhymes.

Mischievous Music Monday 21st August, 10.30-11am
Songs and rhymes.

For the over 5s

Cool Cats Wednesday 26th July, 2-4pm
Family craft workshop with Learning Unlimited. Come and make cat masks, take part in a quiz and make a cat game to take home.

Learn and Play Tuesday 1st August, 2-4pm
Inspirational craft for kids and grown-ups. Easy and fun sensory art with Georgia Vossou from the Westminster Archives Centre.

ZooLab presents Animal Detectives! Thursday 3rd August, 2.30-3.30pm
Join ZooLab for an animal handling workshop full of mystery and intrigue designed to fire children’s imagination, confidence and love of the written word.
Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Friday 4th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

Make your own Animal Comic Book Thursday 10th August, 10.30-11.30am
Create your own animal inspired comic book.

Amazing Animal Agents Tuesday 15th August, 2.30-4pm
Come and discover some of the amazing animals from the Wallace Collection, then make a marvellous animal mask to disguise yourself! What will you be?

Lego Club Saturday 26th August, 10.30-11.30am
Lego Club with the theme of Animal Agents.

For all ages

End of Summer Party Tuesday 29th August, 10.30-11.30am
Animal fancy dress party with games.


Queen’s Park Library

For the under 5s

Down in the Jungle Monday 24th July, 10.30-11.30am
Learn some jungle songs and rhymes, and then make a super snake.

Tiny Tunes Friday 4th August, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Bonkers for Bears Monday 7th August, 10.30-11.30am
Join us for a bear hunt in this interactive story session, followed by your favourite songs and rhymes.

Fabulous Fish Monday 14th August, 10.30-11.30am
Stories and songs from under the sea!

Big and Small Monday 21st August, 10.30-11.30am
Enjoy all kinds of animal songs and rhymes, from elephants to spiders!

Party Time! Friday 1st September, 10.30-11.30am
Simple games, songs and some yummy party snacks.

For the over 5s

Cool Cats Friday 28th July, 2-4pm
Family craft workshop with Learning Unlimited. Come and make cat masks, take part in a quiz and make a cat game to take home. Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

ZooLab presents Animal Detectives! Wednesday 2nd August, 2.30-3.30pm
Join ZooLab for an animal handling workshop full of mystery and intrigue designed to fire children’s imagination, confidence and love of the written word.
Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Beastly Super Sleuths Tuesday 8th August, 2.30-4pm
Are you smart enough to be an Animal Agent? Answer our beastly questions, find the hidden clues and win a prize!

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Tuesday 15th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

Funny Furry Faces Thursday 17th August, 2.30-4pm
What’s your favourite animal? Use collage and colouring to make your animal’s face on a paper plate.

Canine Culture Tuesday 22nd August, 2.30-4pm
Meet beautiful rescue dog Kalecka and find out how to care for canines, plus puzzles and crafts. Perfect if you’re nervous around dogs.

Jungle-O-Rama Thursday 24th August, 2.30-4pm
Tear, cut and stick paper to make a jungle scene based on Rousseau’s paintings.

Party Animals Wednesday 30th August, 2.30-4pm
Join us for our end of summer party with games, fun and food.

For all ages

In Disguise Wednesday 26th July, 2.30-4pm
Design and make your own Animal Agent badge, plus animal themed face painting!

Nature Explorers Thursday 10th August, 2.30-4pm
Journey outside the library to explore local nature and find out about animals that live around us. This activity involves a short walk.


St John’s Wood Library

For the under 5s

Tiny Tunes Thursday 3rd August, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Walking the Jungle Path Tuesday 8th August, 10.30-11.30am
Songs and stories as you walk the jungle path.

Bear Picnic Thursday 17th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Have tea with your bear and go on a bear hunt.

Seashore Fun Thursday 24th August, 10.30-11.30am
Let’s see what’s in the sea with stories and songs.

Farm Fun Thursday 31st August, 10.30-11.30am
Songs and stories about the farm animals.

End of Summer Party Tuesday 5th September, 10.30am-12 midday
Party with games and fun.

For the over 5s

Animal Detectives! Tuesday 25th July, 2.30-3.30pm
Join ZooLab for an animal handling workshop full of mystery and intrigue designed to fire children’s imagination, confidence and love of the written word.
Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Dinosaur Fun Thursday 27th July, 2-4pm
Family craft workshop with Learning Unlimited, including a dino quiz, fun facts and make a dino board game to take home. Booking required. Call 020 7641 6200 to book.

Amazing Animal Agents Tuesday 1st August, 2.30-4pm
Come and discover some of the amazing animals from the Wallace Collection, then make a marvellous animal mask to disguise yourself! What will you be?

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Wednesday 2nd August, 2.30-3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

Learn and Play Wednesday 9th August, 2-4pm
Inspirational craft for kids and grown-ups. Easy and fun sensory art with Georgia Vossou from the Westminster Archives Centre.

Mixed-up Animal Wednesday 16th August, 2.30-4pm
Design your mixed-up animal.

Animal Faces Wednesday 23rd August, 2.30-4pm
Make an animal mask.

End of Summer Party Thursday 7th September, 2.30-4pm
Party with games and fun.

For all ages

Animal Puppet Show Tuesday 29th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Play with puppet animals.


Victoria Library

For the under 5s

Animal Craft Wednesday 26th July, 10.30-11.30am
Join us for an extended rhyme time with animal craft.

Tiny Tunes Wednesday 2nd August, 10.30-11am
Come and enjoy singing, using shakers and dancing with pom-poms for this fun musical session with Tiny Tunes!

Parachute Adventure Wednesday 9th August, 10.30-11.30am
Join us for an extended rhyme time with a parachute adventure.

Spy Face Painting Wednesday 16th August, 10.30-11.30am
Join us for an extended rhyme time with spy themed face painting.

Treasure Chests Wednesday 23rd August, 10.30-11.30am
Join us for an extended rhyme time with a treasure chest to find.

Summer Party Rhyme Time Wednesday 30th August, 10.30-11.30am
Join us for an extended rhyme time with party games and food

For the over 5s

Amazing Animal Agents Tuesday 25th July, 2.30-4pm
Come and discover some of the amazing animals from the Wallace
Collection, then make a marvellous animal mask to disguise yourself!
What will you be?

Animal Rap and Rhyme Tuesday 1st August, 2.30-3.30pm
Have fun with words courtesy of award winning children’s poet, author and entertainer, Neal Zetter.

Learn and Play Thursday 3rd August, 2-4pm
Inspirational craft for kids and grown-ups. Easy and fun sensory art with Georgia Vossou from the Westminster Archives Centre.

Feline Facts and Cat Crafts Friday 11th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Find out about how to look after cats, then take part in a cat themed craft activity with the charity Cats Protection.

Animal Masks Tuesday 15th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Create the ultimate disguise by making a with a fun mask of your favourite animal.

Animal Mix-Up Book Making Tuesday 22nd August, 2.30-3.30pm
Cow’s head, chicken tummy, rabbit legs? Create your own new animals and take home your own book.

Spy Hunt Tuesday 29th August, 2.30-3.30pm
Can you find the clues around the library
to claim your prize?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer with us this summer

Looking for something to do this summer? We are looking for volunteers to help deliver the Summer Reading Challenge in our libraries. Young people (14 to 25 year olds) are especially welcome to apply to volunteer.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national reading initiative which encourages children to read for fun over the summer holidays.

The combination of fun, freedom, and creativity impacts significantly on children’s reading levels and confidence. Taking part in the challenge helps prevent the ‘summer reading dip’ which can occur when children are at home over the long summer break and, without reading opportunities, lose confidence in their reading.

 

We’ve had some fantastic volunteers, who’ve really helped make a difference and had some fun too. Here’s what a couple of them had to say –

If I had to sum up my volunteering as a Summer Reading Challenge Mentor, I would say the experience definitely made my summer! During the holidays, there’s a lot of time but not much to do. So what did I do? I took on the opportunity to be a Mentor and I loved it so much I volunteered at the same library again for 2 summers! Being a Reading Challenge Mentor is huge fun – you get to interact with young kids and really get a understanding of what books they enjoy. From science fiction to books about jam sandwiches (yes, there’s a book on that!), reading can be extremely exciting if you find the right book! I had a truly great time meeting with  young readers but also working alongside the friendliest staff around! The library staff are so welcoming and I truly enjoyed my volunteering . If you love reading and want to make a difference – this is the opportunity for you!

I had the pleasure of spending two summers in libraries around West London supporting the summer reading challenge. I loved interacting with all of the children and helping them to explore new genres and authors. Assisting with the planning and facilitation of arts and crafts sessions was definitely a highlight of mine. I also enjoyed helping to create in library displays to showcase the children’s work. I have always been passionate about helping children and young people. My work with the challenge inspired me to pursue a career within the education and charity sectors.  I would encourage anybody to take part in this programme, it was an amazing experience and has been an asset to my CV.

You can download a profile and apply to voulnteer on our website.

Nick, Tri-borough Libraries Children’s Services Manager

Making music at Westminster Music Library

Make Music Day UK

It all started 35 years ago in France…

In 1982, staff at the Ministry of Culture dreamed up an idea for a new kind of musical holiday. They imagined a day where free, live music would be everywhere: street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, store fronts and mountaintops.
And, unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone would be invited to join and play music, or host performances. The event would take place on the summer solstice, June 21, and would be called Fête De La Musique. In French, the name means both “festival of music” and “make music”

Amazingly enough, this dream came true. The Fête has turned into a true national holiday; France shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over. Almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique. Today, Make Music Day takes place in over 120 countries and 750 cities across the world.

It was about time that the UK joined the party. In 2016 I was invited to meet with a group of people representing music making across the country, our job was to organise an annual UK wide, free day of music held in public spaces, from squares to libraries, bandstands to school halls and arts centres, held on the summer solstice, 21 June. Make Music Day UK aimed to turn the country into a stage, and offer a full spectrum of performers the opportunity to display their musical skills.

Naturally Westminster Music Library would be holding some sort of event, but we just cannot do things by halves. So it was that on the hottest day of the year, 25 would-be musicians joined our “Learn to play day” to learn the basics of playing a musical instrument for the very first time. Guided by a workshop leader and professional tutors, our fledgling orchestra learnt a surprising amount in such a short time. They delighted our invited audience with a grand finale concert featuring well known classics from Handel to the The Kinks, and clearly the particpants enjoyed it just as much:

“Inspirational, a fantastic opportunity for all to learn to play an instrument and enjoy music”

With the mercury rising ever higher and our budding musicians heading for home with dreams of performing at the Albert Hall, we had a swift turn-around for an evening recital featuring a talented oboe trio – Oboi. A tremendous performance by students at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, who played repertoire from Beethoven to Mendelssohn arranged for oboe trio. They played brilliantly and even managed to look cool, we could only marvel at their professionalism. Our audience loved it:

“It was brilliant. Well arranged and an excellent opportunity to be aware that this is a fantastic Music Library and supports the enjoyment and education of music for all interested.”

And from the Director of Make Music Day UK:

“Yesterday was the first Make Music Day UK and there were nearly 140 events taking place all over the UK, from Aberdeen to Swanage, Swansea to Norwich, and everywhere in between. Thank you very much everybody for getting together on this, we certainly feel we’ve made a good start!”

Edited at add – we have a video of the event we can share with you. Hope you enjoy it:

Roll on Make Music Day 2018.

Ruth, Westminster Music Library

Generation Z: what do we know about young audiences?

We are very fortunate to have two Cultural Partnerships Officers within our service. Their role is to support the  library service, but they have a wider remit too  – to support the arts and culture sector in the city and increase access for residents, particularly the most vulnerable, to cultural events.

They do this by brokering between different partners and community groups or council services, facilitation of events, providing advice and signposting, sharing information, supporting fundraising and giving opportunities for professional development at Culture Network Westminster.

So, what’s the Culture Network Westminster..?

It was set up nine years ago, has around 500 individual members representing about 200 different arts organisations, cultural institutions, community groups, teachers, social workers and council officers. We hold two large scale networking events each year, with a professional speaker talking about an area relevant to arts and culture professionals. Each event is normally attended by around 40-70 network members. Previous events have covered volunteering, digital marketing and fundraising – and have been held in venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Somerset House and Tate Britain.

Over to Debora and Charlotte to tell us about the most recent Culture Network Westminster event –

Our last Culture Network Westminster (CNW) event was held at The House of St Barnabas, a Grade I listed Georgian town house in the heart of Soho. It began with introduction to the charity whose unique model, of a social business and integrated employment academy, aims to break the cycle of homelessness.

The event took off in the charming Chapel of St Barnabas followed by light refreshments in the dramatic 18th century Rococo Drawing Room where our CNW members networked and relaxed in the elegant historical setting.

Members also enjoyed exploring the House and The Collective, a contemporary art programme of rotating exhibitions and permanent collection.

Our main speaker Lucie Fitton, Head of Learning and Participation at The Audience Agency, shared some of the company’s latest work and insight about young audiences – with a particular focus on teenagers and young adults.  What do we know about the needs, interests, digital habits and characteristics of young people and how this impacts on this audience’s engagement with the arts, culture and creativity?

We had some lovely feedback from two of our members:

“I would like to thank you and the team for running another excellent event. We have found these events invaluable for our organisation as we have the opportunity to network with other people in the local area.”  Nadia Holland, Learning Coordinator, Royal Collection Trust

“It was such a great space and was a really interesting and ingenious mixture of people and organisations. Well done!”  Lucy Foster, Community Heritage Programme Manager, Paddington Development Trust

We would also like to share the following supporting material related to our main speaker and project pitching session:

  1. Westminster presentation What we know about young people
  2. ST MARY MAGS INFO
  3. Time Credits in Arts and Culture LONDON
  4. Neighbourhood Keepers Proposal Guidelines
  5. Westminster Business Information Point

Debora Gambera and Charlotte Fergusson

WCC Culture Partnerships Office