Category Archives: Church Street Library

Soar through the air at Church Street this April!

At Church Street Library, we’re very lucky to have an apprentice, Alex, working with us on a new play-based project called PACS – Play at Church Street. This is a new project made up of fun activities for kids in the library.

As part of this, Alex has organised a Rocket League tournament next month. Over to Alex to tell us more…

On Saturday 14 April from 10am to 5pm, Church Street Library will host a Rocket League tournament that will be part of the London Games Festival Fringe. The Fringe is a series of events across London that will complement the main Festival, happening from 5 to 15 April. The library’s event is unique in that it’s the only tournament on the schedule, and the only one being hosted at a library.

Rocket League  is an exciting mix of football and cars, combining them to create a game with current global player-base of over 40 million players and rising. Just like football, two teams try to score more goals than their opponents; but the cars are able to soar through the air, drive on (and jump off) the arena walls, and boost to breakneck speeds, all trying to get that ball in the back of the net. It’s a lot of fun even for those who don’t usually like football!

The Church Street tournament will be a 2v2 team event for kids aged 9 to 16, and will be played on PlayStation 4 consoles. 16 places (8 teams) are available, and if you (or your kids) want to play then be sure to book today at the library front desk, by phone on 020 7641 6200, or by emailing churchstreetlibrary@westminster.gov.uk

We plan to do more PS4 events at Church Street over the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for those!

Alex, Church Street Library

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Make money, save money and stay competitive in 2018!

Next month, David Taylor, Digital Management Consultant, will be at Church Street Library running a free workshop about how to navigate today’s digital marketplace. Over to David to tell us more…

Like it or not we are in a predominantly digital age. Technology has moved so fast that it is affecting almost every part of our lives. Social media, data security, virtual reality, Blockchain, artificial intelligence, Big Data – the list goes on.

Unfortunately, many small businesses – indeed a large amount of organisations both large and small – are woefully unprepared to meet the challenges of this new landscape.

A report out last year by Lloyds found that 1.6 million small business lack even basic digital skills. That’s thousands of businesses who are potentially at risk of going bust or at the very least, not being able to compete.

However, no one should be surprised by this. Most human beings don’t like change – including business owners – especially when it is as potentially life-changing as the one we’re all experiencing as a result of technological advances.

Doing nothing is really not an option though and hoping that tried and trusted methods of marketing, sales, HR, IT etc. will somehow carry on working is a fantasy.

The key thing is to have a proper digital strategy for your business. One which takes into account the changing business landscape and helps you plan for the future, as best you can.

At a free event at 6pm on Wednesday 11 April, held at Westminster’s Church Street Library, I will be talking about how you can take advantage of this new digital world, reach out to today’s tech-savvy customers and ultimately future-proof your business.

As well as speaking inside the library, we will also be live streaming the event as a simulcast via the Westminster Business Information Point Facebook page and via my Twitter account – links below

The 45-minute talk can be distilled down to doing three things really well:

Innovating – small businesses should be looking to disrupt, challenge and find new ways of reaching out to customers. Don’t just wait for all your rivals to gain competitive advantage over you because you are too scared of ‘doing something different’!

Educating – nothing stands still and the pace of change is actually speeding up. So it is vital that you constantly upskill, learn new ways of doing business and bring in bright people to work around you. There is no excuse for failing to learn new skills. Never before have we had so many free resources at our fingertips.

Relating – business is all about your customer. Who are they, where are they, what do they want and how can you reach them in the most efficient manner possible. This is particularly true in today’s multi-channel, digitally powered world. So it’s vital that you strive to relate to your customers, employees, suppliers and advocates.

I look forward to seeing you on 11th!

David Taylor

Sign up to attend in person here 

Watch on Facebook Live here

Watch on Twitter here

Never too young

You’re never too young to enjoy a good story, and at your local library children are welcome to join from birth. It’s absolutely free and for children there aren’t any fines for returning books late.

Did you know that all families with babies aged 0-12 months are eligible for a free Bookstart baby pack?  Each pack contains two books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing stories with your child. Pop into your local library to pick yours up today.

If you’re interested in getting involved in your local reading community, check out the fun under-fives activities on offer at your local library.

And remember, we understand that children can be noisy (and sometimes messy!) so don’t worry too much about being quiet; we love to see young children enjoying our libraries and welcome their enthusiasm!

By taking out books and reading with your child every day you can help their physical, mental and emotional development as well as language and listening skills. Plus, you get to enjoy some fantastic stories!

“A love of reading is more important in academic achievement than a child’s social or economic background.” –Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ‘Reading for change’ 2001

Happy reading!

Harriet Skinner

Libraries Children’s Officer

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

Impro For Elders – back by popular demand!

 

Back by popular demand, Impro For Elders is starting again at Church Street Library! The project is a 8-week pilot programme starting tomorrow, Wednesday 17 May, 3.45pm to 5.15pm (ask at the library for more details).

This grew out of a project delivered by Improbable Theatre in partnership with Church Street Library between November and December last year. It was funded by a local community fund, Create and Arts Council England. Directors Andre Pink and Caroline Williams worked with over twenty 60+ people local to the Church Street Ward to explore improvisation and storytelling, aiming to give older people from the local area access to the uplifting shared experience of improvising together. You can read about what happened last year on a previous blog post, Improbable Impro.

Impro For Elders appeared at The Cockpit in a double bill with Improbable’s improvised show Lifegame on 30 November and 1 December 2016. In a special version of Lifegame, one of the Impro For Elders participants was the on-stage guest each night.

We received some fantastic feedback from both participants and audience members:

“What I have gained out of it is immense and given me positive energy which I was certainly lacking before taking part in the project.”

“I actually feel years younger! I was surprised at how much energy I had and how my body could do things I thought I could no longer do.”

“I thought it was the best theatre experience I’ve seen and felt this year. Inclusive, moving, funny, full of possibilities” 

“A thoroughly enjoyable evening – both shows were filled with joy, humour and passion. I always enjoy Improbable performances, and the Impro For Elders concept is a fantastic one.”

Given the extraordinarily successful outcome and subsequent demand from local older residents, Andre Pink from Dende Collective has offered to continue on a voluntary basis whilst Improbable will be sponsoring him to make it more sustainable.

The project will work again with the same group along with new participants. Visit the Dende Collective’s website  for more information about them and their upcoming events.

‘As a company rooted in improvisation, we believe that it is a deeply democratic art form that fosters a sense of community and empowerment amongst its participants and audiences alike. In an age of increasing digital complexity it is determinedly live, and about the people who take part, their energy and what they offer.’ Ben Monks, Improbable Executive Director.

Visit Improbable’s website for more information about them and and their upcoming events.

Debora Gambera (Church Street Library)

Ben Monks (Improbable Executive Director)

Dementia Awareness Week 2017

AlzheimersSociety

Hot on the winged heels of Mental Health Awareness week (thank you to all colleagues and partners who helped get that information out there) we are promoting Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 21 May 2017), an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, in our libraries.  There are so many myths around Dementia and that is why we recommend the Reading Well books on prescription dementia list.

Dementia display QP Library

Book display at Queen’s Park Library

This is a varied carefully chosen collection consisting of evidenced and researched information books, alongside fascinating and moving personal histories. It also includes a children’s picture book to help younger readers understand beloved members of their families who have been diagnosed with one of 100 conditions that come under the umbrella of Dementia.  Check out the craft book for creative ways of engaging those living well with Dementia.  It is a helpful and uplifting collection.

DF logo

The second initiative I want tell you about is the Dementia Friends sessions happening this week which are run by a trained Dementia champion. They are relaxed and informative sessions that engage us in such a way that unhelpful fears and misinformation around the subject can be openly discussed and real facts and practical tips on creating Dementia friendly services and how to reach out and support those living well with Dementia come to light.

Details of the Dementia Friends sessions this week:

These sessions are open to everyone and I urge you to recommend them or even come along yourself.

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator

Mental Health Awareness Week – Surviving or Thriving?

mhaw17-main-banner_0Read, learn and connect with us during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week –

Libraries’ positive contribution to the mental well-being of the population is well documented – see the Arts Council’s publication on ‘The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries.’ 

I say population and not just customers or residents as it has been said that living near a library and, indeed, just walking past a library has a positive effect on one’s emotional and mental well-being.

Of course we in libraries are keen to invite people to come through the doors and experience the well-being benefits first hand. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ which encourages us to look at our physical and mental well-being.

mental-health

Some of our offers are more obviously health focused, our health information displays encourage us to feed our brains with the right food and suggest ways to be more active, as well as giving information on managing and living well with chronic conditions.  Poor physical health can be a drain on our mental and emotional strength and poor mental health can lead to inactivity, poor diet and so the cycle continues.

One way to break cycles of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours is cognitive behavioural therapy and Westminster has a free psychological therapy service, Westminster Talking Therapies.

In order to help people decide whether this service is for them or for support while waiting for a referral, or during, or after therapy, the libraries’ Reading Well Books on Prescription collections are recommended by GPs and health promotion specialists. A new collection put together to support those living with chronic conditions will be launched in July this year.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative is part of our Bibliotherapy offer. Our libraries host read aloud groups in partnership with The Reader Organisation. These facilitator led ‘Share a book’ groups meet every week and give members the opportunity to join in reading aloud from good literature and discuss what has been read over a cup of tea or coffee or just sit back, listen and enjoy the company.

lavenderIt is encouraging to look at how we in libraries contribute to what is called ‘the wider determinants of health’  All the things in our lives that support us, family, work, employment, housing, finances, education, lifelong learning, English classes, coffee mornings, knitting groups, activities for children and teenagers, employment advice, business information points for entrepreneurs old and young, all these available in libraries.

Libraries have always been inspirational and aspirational encouraging us to ask for more learning and knowledge and skills to create meaningful lives for ourselves and our families.

There are also some very good enjoyable fiction books available free to borrow hard copy or online! See our new book displays or log on to the 24/7 library. Did you know that reading for as little as six minutes can improve mental well-being?

See what you can do this Mental Health Awareness week to look after your own mental well-being, eat well, sleep well, go for a walk in one of our gorgeous parks and yes, visit your local library.

Kate Gielgud

Health Information Co-ordinator