If you are, did you know that you can borrow e-books from the library – free?
We have a great selection and all you need to do is use your library membership (if you’re not a member, join now) and sign up for the e-book service.
It’s that simple (unless you have a Kindle… read more below). We’ve even provided a gift card you can include with your gift as you wrap it!
Here’s what David, a recently retired library member, thinks of the service:
“I love books and reading, sometimes as an alternative to TV and video, sometimes inspired by a TV show, but usually in addition to the TV programmes I choose to watch. I have discovered that I can cope easily with multiple formats! And while I still borrow and buy physical books, I now regularly download and read e-books. With my iPad I can see the news, watch TV or video, listen to music, send emails, and READ BOOKS! I no longer have to carry books around with me when on the move, or even from one room to the next. I can have lots of books with no extra weight. I can read a few pages wherever I am.
Now not all books are available in an e-format, and the joy of browsing the physical shelves is removed. But how about this – without having to leave the comfort of your home, you can go online to the Westminster Libraries e-books service, find titles or authors that suit your taste and download them to your device absolutely free of charge. After two weeks, the items automatically delete themselves so there’s no risk of overdue charges, and an incentive to get to the last page before the two weeks are up! There are lots of titles to choose from, and new ones are regularly added. The process is straightforward, and you can create wishlists and reserve titles, and have a reminder of what you have previously read. All in all another great aspect of our library service. Thank you Westminster!”
So if you’re giving someone an e-reader for Christmas, pop into the library and pick up one of the cards about the e-book service to help them get started – and your loved one can download loads of free books on Christmas Day!
Note to Kindle users: Unfortunately Amazon do not allow library e-books to be used on their eReaders. However, you can read our titles on an Amazon tablet – the Kindle Fire – though you have to download an app to do so: Find out more about downloading library e-books to a Kindle Fire.
Posted in Books, Online
Tagged books, Christmas, e-books, e-reader, iPad, Kindle, Kindle Fire, online, reading, tablet
2014 has been the 150th anniversary of the John Lewis department store. The current store in Oxford Street stands on the site of the first store founded by John Lewis, a Somerset draper who – after working in another shop – set up his own business in 1864. By 1895 the business had expanded so much that the original shop was replaced by a three-storey department store, with retail showrooms, warehouse space, and a customers’ restaurant. He employed about 150 people, with 100 female staff housed in a hostel nearby, in Weymouth Street.
Whilst his determination and character enabled the business to prosper it was at the expense of his employees. The Victorian cliché of an inflexible hard taskmaster overseeing a downtrodden workforce with little rights and poor wages fits him to a tee. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (log in with your library card) entry gives the reader a clear idea of his character. This was the man who was sent to Brixton prison in 1903 for contempt of court during his long running battle over the shop lease with the De Walden estate and who would arbitrarily sack employees on the spot.
So how is it that the John Lewis Partnership model now championed by the coalition government, evolved from this diametrically opposite 19th century model? The answer is John Lewis’s son John Spedan Lewis who championed the current mode of working, first at the Peter Jones department store and then at both stores when he amalgamated the two into one company. In spite of this radical change the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for John Spedan indicates that he inherited some of his father’s traits stating that he was intolerant with those he considered his intellectual inferiors.
Those wishing to research more deeply into the partnership model and its roots will find trips to Westminster Reference Library and Westminster City Archives useful for the following reference titles:
If you’d like to find out more about the history of department stores and shopping in general, try these:
L to R: Shopping for pleasure : women in the making of London’s West End by Erika Diane Rappaport; The world of Mr Selfridge by Alice Maloney (includes historical details about the department store in among the chapters relating to filming the series and biographical details of the cast); Department stores by Claire Masset.
The City of Westminster Archives Centre holds lots of information on the subject, including the Liberty archive, material about William Whiteley’s and photographs & architectural plans of many of the West End department stores.
Posted in Archives Centre, Charing Cross Library, Online, Westminster Reference Library
Tagged 24/7, archives, department stores, John Lewis, Liberty & Co, local history, ODNB, online, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Peter Jones, reference, Selfridges, shopping, Whiteley's
2014 marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War I. This centenary anniversary has made remembrance even more poignant. Remembrance Sunday in November helped mark the event which brought an end to this conflict.
There is more we can do to remember though; we can look at how the war affected the lives of our families back then, which is what I and several others did at a recent session using the Ancestry Online database in Kensington Central Library. This resource is available in libraries in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.
Ancestry home page – accessible on library computers in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham
The pictures we built were often very interesting viewing Census records as well as military records which allowed us small insights into people’s lives. But it was often also very sad – families left without sons (in one instance losing several within a very short space of time) and fathers listed and remembered on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website. It made us think of how sad it must have been for them, and their friends as well.
Luckily these online resources make it easier to look back and see what our family did during the war (and before). Whether it is from the medals they won, who they served with, or information from the CWGC website, which lists 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars.
As well as family history records for the British Isles there are other records from the same period around the world, including Canada, the USA, Germany, and France.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website can be accessed from anywhere and can provide a lot of information – more than you’d expect. And there are many instructional books available which can help you search through records and find out more about the Great War.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission home page
You may find newspaper resources interesting and useful in building a picture of the time and possibly a picture of your ancestors too. The Times Digital Archive is the most popular of these but there are other newspapers available in Westminster. The Gazette (official public record) also allows you to search for medals awarded.
Another online family history resource which is available in Westminster Libraries is Find My Past: this contains some different records to Ancestry.
This post was first published on the RBKCLibraries blog.
Posted in Online
Tagged Ancestry, census, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, CWGC, family history, Find My Past, genealogy, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, military, newspapers, online, reference, remembrance, Times, Times Digital Archive, triborough, World War I, WW1, WWI
Although I regularly direct library users to newspapers from other countries, it was not until I began researching material for this blog that I really appreciated the full extent of the library service’s coverage! It’s quite something.
A quick search of the Periodicals catalogue (known as WULOP – see below for more information) reveals Arabic, Farsi, and Chinese language newspapers. Other Asian language papers include Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu titles. European languages are represented by French, German, Italian and Spanish titles. America is represented by the European editions of the International New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Some of the foreign titles are also written wholly or partly in English, so provide a useful alternative current affairs perspective for non-multilinguists to use.
Other titles aimed at specific ethnic groups such as The Voice or the Jewish Chronicle, while published in the UK, should not be forgotten as they contain detailed news coverage relating to the West Indies and Middle East respectively, as well as their British coverage.
In addition to these physical copies located within libraries, an enormous number of foreign newspapers can also be read online using the 24/7 online resource Library PressDisplay. We’ve posted about this amazing resource before – see previous posts.
Come in and have a look, or use your library membership card to search Library Press Display – there’s a whole world out there!
How to search WULOP
Go to WULOP
As you can see from this image there are several ways of searching for a specific title or titles.
- Search by Title – either type a title in the box or use the drop down menu to display an alphabetical list and select from it a specific title. Click on the chosen title to display locations and holdings.
- Search by Subject – this drop down menu includes countries, eg: Iran and Iranian. Choosing this will display foreign newspaper titles relevant to that country or region.
- Search by Location – this will display all newspaper and periodical titles subscribed to by a specific library.
- Search by Keyword – this will find keywords either within a title and/or a subject term assigned to each specific title.
This is the entry for the Sing Tao Daily Chinese newspaper. The catalogue entry displays library locations for this title and also the back issue file length. Note different branches often have different file lengths so use WULOP to discover which library should have the required issue. It is advisable to contact the library before visiting to check whether the specific issue is in stock, as occasionally issues are stolen :-(. A more common reason for a library not to have a specific issue is simply that the newsagent did not receive any copies at all on that particular day. A number of foreign newspapers are imported and then, via wholesalers, sent to newsagents. Poor weather, strikes and other issues can delay or prevent issues from reaching the newsagent.
Posted in Online
Tagged 24/7, catalogue, foreign language, Jewish Chronicle, language, Library Press Display, newspapers, online, periodicals, reference, The Voice, WULOP
The thing about our public computer training sessions is that they are attended by the public. Real people, people from outside libraries, who have real lives and urgent things they need to do on computers. This is very good.
For example, I do a session on shopping online – “get the bargains and stay safe”. I prepare a plan of attack, based on my own experience, feedback from previous sessions, together with some essential stuff about safety on the Internet.
I’m not at all bad at this preparation, but after a few minutes of interaction with the people who turn up to the course, things start to fizz. Your average punter doesn’t want to know about online commerce in any theoretical fashion – he/she wants actual fashion, specific goods and the best possible service. It’s all very well me using Amazon as an example, although it’s a very useful example. If someone has heard that Etsy is the go-to place for retro dresses, that’s what we talk about.
I’m not going to give you a lot of coy stuff about not being an expert on retro dresses, because that’s not the point. I can probably help the frock-hunter to search out what they’re looking for, and I can use any selling website to demonstrate how you can protect yourself against unnecessary risk.
I always have a Powerpoint slideshow of screen grabs in reserve, in case we run out of genuine requests and questions. I don’t often have to use it.
“Adventures on the Internet”, a series of six public training sessions starts at Mayfair Library on Tuesday 25 November, at 11.00am. And if you miss any of those, we will be doing them all again at Church Street Library in March and April!