Category Archives: Paddington 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Free Comic Book Day on Saturday 6 May 2017

Pop in to your local Westminster library on Saturday 6 May for Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day is an international celebration of all things comics – taking place on the first Saturday in May, it is a day where new titles are released, and comic shops giveaway free issues – we are also taking part, courtesy of the grand folks at Forbidden Planet who are providing the comics.

Free Comic Book Day is perfect for both hard-core collector fans and those whose interest has been piqued for the first time.

Enthusiasts of the comic book / graphic novel form will tell of the inventive artwork to stun and amaze – the array of characters, from superhero to regular Joe. The different universes on offer and running plot lines that will be hard to forget.

Explore all this and more at one of our libraries, please ask staff for your free comic book. We have three titles to give out, while stocks last – head on in before missing out.

Discover characters including Wonder Woman, DC superhero girls plus look out for the Forbidden Planet exclusive variant of the Doctor Who title too, featuring the Doctor with new assistant, Bill.

Why not check out the graphic novel selection or the DVDs available while you are there and see what else your local Westminster library has to offer?

[Matthew]

Forty years of change

Open doors at Westminster Music Library

Westminster Libraries is changing. Readers will be pleased to know that no libraries are closing and opening hours are not being slashed as has happened in some other parts of London and elsewhere in the country. But from April you may see fewer and different staff in your local library as a number of staff are leaving, retiring or switching libraries. Of course libraries need to change and evolve, just like any other organisation, if they are to remain relevant to people’s changing needs and to embrace technological changes.

As one of those staff who is retiring after some 40 years, I invite you to look back at some of the key changes in Westminster Libraries over that period.

Church Street Library 1969

When I started in the 1970s there were no computers in libraries. Most libraries issued books using the Browne system. Books had a pocket holding a card which gave the book’s number and author/title details. Readers were given a number of pocket tickets with their name and address details. They tendered one of these for each book borrowed and the book’s card was placed in the pocket ticket and then filed in a rack before (or behind) a date due marker. On returning a book, the racks would be searched for the matching card and the ticket returned. Returns and renewals could only be done at the library where the books were borrowed. Readers with overdue books would receive posted reminders.

St. Marylebone library book label and pocket

However in Westminster, the libraries were so busy, especially at lunchtimes, that the Browne system was too slow to cope. Instead readers were given plastic tokens which they handed over for all but the most expensive books. There was no record of who had out what books, so no overdue letters could be sent, but once a year each reader was written to and they had to produce all their tokens or pay a forfeit. This system was to last until a computerised management system was introduced from 1984.

City of Westminster tokens

The library catalogue was a large set of drawers in which were inserted 5 inch by 3 inch cards for each book – one filed by author, and one by title or class number. The catalogue would only show books at that library, and would not show whether the book was in stock or on loan. When new books were added or old books withdrawn the cards had to be manually filed or removed. By the 1970s new technology saw the introduction of a system-wide catalogue on microform, but it still could not show whether the books were in the library or on loan. This again had to wait for computer technology.

New books were selected from ‘approval collection’s or by visiting suppliers’ showrooms. Once supplied they all had to be catalogued, processed and jacketed so it might take weeks before they reached the shelves. Non-fiction books had their class numbers embossed on the spine in gold leaf.

Gramophone records at Charing Cross Library, circa 1950s

As well as books, readers could borrow gramophone records, although there were strict rules about their care. The records themselves were not on the shelves. Instead there were display racks of the cards from which borrowers made their choice and then exchanged the card for the recording – supplied in a carrying case.

Reference libraries had shelves upon shelves of atlases, dictionaries, directories, encyclopaedias and so on, often out of date even before being published. Some directories even came in loose-leaf binders so that update replacement pages could be supplied.

Periodicals room in Marylebone Library, 1940

There were no public computers, no Internet, no wi-fi , no DVDs… since none of these had yet been invented.

Computer technology has completely transformed all of this, as it has life and work elsewhere. Readers can issue and return their loans (at any of our libraries) through self-issue terminals without queuing at the counter. They can renew online at any time and keep a historical record of what they have borrowed. The catalogue can be searched online and reservations placed from home. E-mail notification lets you know when items are due back or reservations are available. New stock will appear on the catalogue when ordered in advance of publication and will be received, ready for loan, within days of publication.

Computers at Pimlico Library - gradually getting sorted

Those groaning shelves of reference books have mostly gone now, replaced by public computers to use and study space with free wi-fi access. But don’t think that there is any less information available. Far from it. With the 24/7 library your library card gives you access to a wealth of information for free on our subscription databases. Business information, the arts, family history and worldwide newspapers are among the resources available – much of it accessible from anywhere online and – as the name suggests – available 24/7, not just when the library is open.  E-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines are also available online.

The library service has not just changed as a result of technology though. The present City of Westminster had only been formed in 1965 under the Local Government Act 1963. It was a merger of the City of Westminster and the Boroughs of St  Marylebone and Paddington each of which had had their own library service. So there was some duplication of services which have been rationalised since.

Some of the other key changes that have happened to the library service in the last 40 years include:

1974 Pimlico Library opens in Rampayne Street. opposite the tube station. The station itself had opened in 1972, a year after the Victoria Line had been extended to Brixton.

1984 Charing Cross Library starts its specialised service to the Chinese community with the appointment of a Chinese librarian.

1987 Paddington Library basement opened up as part of the public area, allowing the integration of all the reference stock and the reading room which had previously been housed in two separate buildings.

1987  Charing Cross Library is the first Westminster library to lend videos.

1995 Westminster City Archives building opened by HRH Duke of Gloucester on 2 March 1995, bringing together the archives & local studies collections from old City of Westminster, St Marylebone and Paddington boroughs for the first time.

1997 Great Smith Street Library replaced by St James’s Library in Victoria Street, next to City Hall.

1998 The Open Learning Centre at Queen’s Park opened on 1st June 1998. It became the Learning Centre in September 2009.

2000  The Government launches The People’s Network programme to link every public library in the UK to the Internet. Public access computers were installed and staff trained through the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).

2007  Marylebone Library moved into the Council House next door.

2008 St John’s Wood Library expanded, with the basement being opened up to public use.

2010 New enlarged Church Street Library opens, with a teenage zone and learning centre. The library had operated from a former butchers shop nearby for 2 years while the building work took place, financed by £1.1m lottery money.

2010 New Pimlico Library opens in Lupus Street, joint with Pimlico Academy and Adult Education Centre. This replaced the original Pimlico Library.

2011 St James’s Library closed and a new ‘Express Library‘ opens in the vestibule of the Archives Centre.

2012 Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries come under a common Triborough management arrangement.

2013 New single library management system for Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries with a combined catalogue, offering access to all three boroughs stock to all members.

2013 Marylebone Library moved to temporary premises in Beaumont Street after the Town Hall was sold to the London Business School.

Of course it hasn’t all been expansion. Over the years we have also had to reduce, rationalise or say goodbye to some areas of service. Sheet Music has been concentrated at Westminster Music Library, where staff have the specialist knowledge to serve the music community. The closure of the medical library at Marylebone was seen as a casualty at the time, although digital access to medical information is now available through the 24/7 Library.  A mobile library was introduced and operated for a few years but was not replaced when due for renewal.

There have also been proposals and ideas that never got off the ground. Among these were plans in the early 1980s to close Maida Vale and Queens Park libraries and replace them with a single library in Harrow Road at the former Paddington Town Hall. Another proposal was to move Paddington Library to a floor above the Whiteleys shopping centre in Queensway.

Library book borrowing may be in decline nationally, but our users come to the library for far more than books. They may come to study, to use the computers for a variety of purposes – social media, on-line purchases, job-hunting etc. They may come for reading or writing groups, author talks, computing or English classes, careers advice sessions, and a range of health promotions. In some libraries they can now collect goods ordered online at Amazon lockers. There may be children’s under 5s sessions, homework clubs, holiday reading clubs and craft events. Libraries provide work experience training for secondary school children. Adults can feed back into the community by volunteering in our libraries.

People have predicted the end of libraries in our present digital, connected world. Well they may have changed in ways unimaginable even a generation ago but they are still a thriving, valued part of the community. Who knows what changes another generation will bring, but I expect there will still be something people call a ‘library’. It may even still contain books – the death of the printed word has been predicted but it seems to be still going strong at present. And there to help them will be someone they will refer to as a ‘librarian’ whatever their official job title may be, or indeed whether they are employed staff or a volunteer.

[Malcolm]


Read more about library history in some of Malcolm’s previous contributions to the blog:

Arthur sends his apologies

The apology of Arthur Tresbit by Robert Thayer

“Arthur Tresbit is about to cause the destruction of civilisation as we know it… And for that he’s very sorry.”

Robert ThayerAuthor Robert Thayer gave a balanced and interesting talk about the nature of high finance, and in particular the financial crash of 2008, to the Paddington Library Reading Group recently.
The illustrated talk formed a backdrop to his recently published novel, The Apology of Arthur Tresbit, an amusing fictional account of an ordinary man who destroys the world financial system.

To find out more about forthcoming events at Paddington Library, visit our News & events page.

[Laurence]

Let There Be Love

Thirty people turned up on a chilly February afternoon at Paddington Library for a St Valentine Day theme recital of Clarinet and Poetry.

I was very lucky to engage two wonderful professionals: Poet, Valerie Fry and Clarinettist, Chris Hooker who performed a number of love poems and music with a Romantic theme. Among the poems were ‘The Owl and the Pussy cat by Edward Lear and ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvel.

The musical repertoire included a number of fairly modern pieces by Paul McCartney  (Yesterday), Honeysuckle Rose (Fats Waller) and I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter).

The  audience feedback was overwhelmingly positive and many people stayed behind to talk to the performers over some refreshments

[Laurence]

 

Festivity

Westbourne Park Baptist Church Community choir at Paddington Library, December 2016Our calendar of festive events was enjoyed by all, even though with the timing of Christmas and the late break up of schools we had to pack a LOT into a few days of holiday!

Sadly not many pictures were taken – perhaps a stipulation by Father Christmas? But please take the reports by Westminster Music Library and, here, Paddington Library to be representative of a whole lot of fun being had across the borough.

In the middle of December, we welcomed the members of the Westbourne Park Baptist Church Community choir, who staged a nativity with Mary and the three wise men in Paddington Children’s Library. Audience participation was very much forthcoming and along with the resounding carol singing there was abundant gold, frankincense and myrrh, not to mention mince pies, biscuits and fruit juice.

Westbourne Park Baptist Church Community choir at Paddington Library, December 2016

A bit later in the month, Paddington Children’s Library hosted a busy Christmas party for the under fives, with special guest Father Christmas in what looked like a brand new suit! This was Father Christmas’ first visit to our new childrens’ library in Queensway. It has been nearly a year since we moved into the former shop and it is time to reflect on and celebrate the popularity of the Under 5s, the burgeoning homework club with our fabulous volunteers and the numerous class visits, plus the art exhibition courtesy of Lyndons Arts Trust. It has certainly been a good year. Father Christmas was suitably impressed. He was also impressed with the behaviour of the children, all of whom received well deserved presents – a cuddly toy and a book each.

Under Fives' Christmas Party at Paddington Library, December 2016

Library staff would like to thanks to the South East Bayswater Residents’ Association for its generous support of both events.

Happy New Year!

[Laurence]