Fun times at Maida Vale Library!

We’ve been busy at Maida Vale Library –

We hosted a couple of activities to amuse the local children during the half term break.  On  the Tuesday we had a monster mouth event to highlight with National Smile Month, all about dental hygiene. After a story about a dinosaur who eats too many sweets and ends up at the dentists, we made some lovely colourful monster hand puppets from felt.

On the Thursday we had a dinosaur drawing workshop  – there were some very weird and scary results.

About 50 children plus their parents, turned up to the events. Thanks to Mina, our agency worker and our volunteer, Susan for all their help with the events.

And this we had a very lively under 5s event where we celebrated National Bookstart Week – everyone got copies of ‘Everybunny Dance’ by Ellie Sandall.

We read some bunny stories – “Where’s Peter Rabbit?”, and “Guess how much I love you” and the rhyme “Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose” and of course we played sleeping bunnies. After some major bunny hopping, the children made some bunny ears after colouring them in.

Don’t worry if you missed out, we have lots of events in our libraries for all ages, hope to see you soon.

[Simon]

Exploring other worlds with our children, it’s National Bookstart Week 2017

This week (Monday 5 to Sunday 11 June 2017), is National Bookstart Week and this year is an extra special celebration as Bookstart is 25 years old!

BookTrust, the organisation that administers the Bookstart programme, encourages children and families to read more. Over these 25 years, they have gifted more than 34 million books to children.

Bookstart currently gives free books and resources to every child in England and Wales, at two key ages before school, to help inspire a love of books and encourage shared reading.

This year’s special National Bookstart Week book is Ellie Sandall’s Everybunny Dance and many libraries will be reading this story and special rhymes to do with the great outdoors.  We have many copies of this book to give away.

Our libraries are running special events to celebrate for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their families around this year’s theme, ‘Let’s Explore Outdoors!’

Special under 5s session at Pimlico Library on Tuesday 6 June 2017, 10.30am to 11.30am

They’ll be stories, rhymes and a bunny craft activity.

Special under 5s session at Marylebone Library on Tuesday 6 June, 10.30am to 11am and Friday 9 June, 3.45pm to 4.30pm

We’ll be singing songs and rhymes and giving out copies of ‘Everybunny Dance!’ by Ellie Sandall on Tuesday. And on Friday we’ll have super storytelling and a beautiful bunny ears craft.

Don’t worry if you can’t make these sessions, we also run regular events for the under 5s every week across the borough.

It’s never too young to share a story or a rhyme with your young ones so come along have some fun and start or continue your child’s journey to a life of reading for pleasure. Sharing stories is of huge benefit to children, particularly when done from an early age.

Children who regularly have books shared with them benefit in lots of ways:

  • better emotional health
  • children develop longer attention spans and wider vocabularies
  • it builds their language skills
  • and in the long term helps them to be better readers and learners.

All this by sharing a book together for a few minutes each day. Just 10 minutes spent sharing a story with a child each day can have a lasting impact.

You can hear Lauren Laverne read Everybunny Dance on the Bookstart website.

Nick Fuller
Tri-borough Libraries Children’s Services Manager

The wonders of nature at Mayfair Library

Earlier this month,  we were pleased to have Cinzia Delegate, an officer with London Wildlife Protection; she gave a talk to children and adults on ‘The wonders of nature’ at Mayfair Library.

This interactive and educational talk included interesting facts about wildlife in London and what to do if you see sick, inured or orphaned birds or other animals. The children were given ‘bunny ears’ to help them listen as well as stickers, certificates and vegan cakes.

If you’re interested in coming along to any library events, at Mayfair Library or any other Westminster library – check out our library events page.

[Staff at Mayfair 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

Cityread London event at the Wallace Collection

Throughout April, Londoners have been celebrating Cityread London by reading 2017’s title ‘Prophesy’ by S.J. Parris, an historical thriller set in 1583 in the middle of Queen Elizabeth I’s  reign. And every April there are some amazing events across the capital connected to the that year’s book.

Last month, some of the St John’s Wood Library customers were lucky enough to attend a special Cityread London event with the Wallace Collection at the Penfold Community Hub. Sarah, a community officer at the Wallace Collection, not only introduced us to their treasures but also brought along replicas and reproductions of the collection’s Elizabethan influences.

We admired a portrait of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was Elizabeth I’s close friend and favourite – everyone even got a postcard to take away. We also looked closely at a painting by Paul Delaroche titled Hippolyte depicting Edward V and the Duke of York in the Tower. The group also got to try on some replica armour. It was widely agreed that armour is not as heavy as it looks and much more comfy to boot.

This snapshot into the wealth and richness of the Wallace Collection was truly inspiring. If you haven’t been before we encourage you to visit soon; it’s an outstanding local asset and free! For more information such as opening hours and you can also view their paintings online at the Wallace Collection website.

[Amy]

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