Tag Archives: children’s library

Easter fun at Maida Vale Library

Maida Vale Library hosted several events for children during the Easter holidays. We had an on going Easter egg hunt for pictures of eggs hidden around the library, and a library quiz.

We had two craft events –

During one session, the kids were able to blast off with super rockets which they made from recycled materials.

The following week we had an all day event making pop up Easter cards and Easter bunnies from hot chocolate jars.

A hopping good time was had by the many children who attended…!

We have events in our libraries for all ages, check out our Westminster libraries events page to see what’s coming up.



In June, somebody celebrated their second birthday of the year…

Maida Vale Library pulled out all the stops for its week of free celebrations to commemorate The Queen’s Official 90th birthday on 11 June 2016. Like The Mall itself, the library was be-decked in patriotic red, white and blue Union Flag bunting.

Crown making craft activity for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016 Crown making craft activity for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016
The 'Crown Jewels' on display for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016

The celebrations kicked off on the Monday with the first of four craft drop-in sessions. The families who came along made some wonderfully designed crowns which sparkled in the sunlight as they left the building. One little boy was particularly pleased to be able to make another crown, having already made one recently at school for The Queen.

“It’s great that the library does theses craft and art events as they don’t do much art stuff at school nowadays.”

Making Buckingham Palace for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016

On the Tuesday, families made 3D models of Buckingham Palace out of recycled junk and on the Wednesday a wonderful collage of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee’s Thames Flotilla of boats was recreated and is now proudly on display in the children’s library.

“My kid really loved this event as he’s mad on boats.”

Remembering the Jubilee Flotilla for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016

The first big event of the week took place on the Wednesday with our under 5s’ Royal Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Blankets were laid out on the floor and the toddlers and their teddies were treated to music, songs and rhymes along with healthy food and drink. Staff took the opportunity to talk to carers about library partners such as MEND who will be working with us over the summer providing free weekly sessions. They also promoted upcoming library health events specifically aimed at young children, such as Dinosaur Douglas who made an appearance the following week as part of National Smile Week.

“Fabulous event for kids and nannies! I’ve enjoyed it as much as the kids.”

Teddy Bears' Picnic for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016 Teddy Bears' Picnic for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016Teddy Bears' Picnic for the Queen's 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library, June 2016

The Thursday saw a multitude of different designs created for cards and badges fit for The Queen. We also had two more major events for the over 5s: a red, white and blue themed Indoor Street Party with children’s entertainment which took place on the Friday, followed by a visit from Zoo Lab on Saturday who brought along some of The Queen’s smaller beasts to the library.

Our partner Imagethirst was on hand to offer a free photo to children (or adults for that matter!) at the party with our special guest of honour…

Portrait with 'The Queen' at Maida Vale Library, June 2016

All in all nearly 300 people turned up at the various events and activities which took place over the week. We were particularly pleased that we were able to showcase the best of British to some new arrivals who have settled in Westminster and made it their home.

None of these events could have been possible without the ward funding provided by Little Venice, Maida Vale and Westbourne wards. Staff and volunteers worked as a team to make so many events happen in such a short period of time and I must thank each and every one of them for all their hard work.

“The staff here are brilliant and so helpful, they always have so many interesting ideas.”


Beatrix Potter for World Book Day

For World Book Day last week Maida Vale Library dedicated an event to Beatrix Potter, as this year is the 150th anniversary of her birth.

Beatrix Potter mural - World Book Day 2016 at Maida Vale Library

Jemima Puddleduck - World Book Day 2016 at Maida Vale LibraryA local fashion designer donated wool and pattern card and we developed a craft project for the day. About 25 local children and parents came in and used the wool and other materials to decorate stencils of some of Potter’s most famous characters such as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, Tom Kitten, Mrs Tiggywinkle and others. These were then mounted on the card and a Potter-like background drawn.

Peter Rabbit - World Book Day 2016 at Maida Vale LibraryThe event was a great success and the lovely mural is now proudly displayed in the Children’s Library at Maida Vale.

Do drop in and have a look in the next couple of weeks.


Harry Potter’s Maida Vale Book Night

Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016

Maida Vale Library was the Westminster location for Harry Potter Book Night. We’d built up to it throughout half term week with a testing ‘Harry Potter Quiz’ and ‘Potter’s Potions’ image hunt, and on the night we donned cloaks, stripy scarfs and wands to welcome the new Hogwarts students.

Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016 Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016 Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016

The scene was set with bottles of potions stationed round the library windows. Smoke and fog also added a truly mystical atmosphere. And no magical library would be complete without a Restricted Section…

Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016

We were delighted to greet a large number of children, suitably dressed in wizarding attire with homemade wands and recognisable Harry Potter scars.

Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016First of all the Sorting ceremony, complete with the Sorting Hat, who magically announced to which house/team the children would belong: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.

The house games then commenced. A select few had been chosen to duel. So, with the help of a distinctive wand and a randomly picked spell, they conjured up some sorcery and announced how the spell would affect their opponent. With the help of the crowd it was decided which wizard had the more powerful incantation.

After a few rounds, Ravenclaw emerged victorious, thanks to the ‘Densaugeo!’ spell which caused a ‘growing of the teeth!’

Then the owls appeared, bringing with them a personalised letter with certificate of attendance, some stickers and a rare signed autograph of the one and only Gilderoy Lockhart! The guests were invited to draw and create their own owl’s expressions.

There was a ‘Have you seen this wizard?’ sign available for everyone who wanted to recreate the wanted poster from ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ and use it as a photo opportunity… we couldn’t resist joining in! We also handed out colouring sheets of Diagon Alley, each of the house crests and an image of Dobby.

Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016  Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016  Harry Potter Book Night at Maida Vale Library, February 2016

To complete the night: a quiz! Ravenclaw kept their lead from the duels and ended with most points on the board. Everyone was then invited to sample the homebrewed potions and food, which included the now famous ‘green juice!’

The team are now working on the series of events for the next school holidays – watch this space and hope to see you then!



Hetty Feather books by Jacqueline Wilson Warrior Cats books by Erin Hunter Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney

Do you live by the Warrior Cat Code?
Who’s your favourite: Tom Gates, the Wimpy Kid or Hetty Feather?
Are you desperate to join Cherub?
Or has the retro appeal of Enid Blyton adventures got you gripped?

Whatever you’re into, it’s more fun when you can share your views with others.

Chatterbooks Reading Groups are a great way for children aged 8-11 to chat with friends old and new about what they’re reading, find out about what other books they might enjoy, play games and pick up book-related goodies.

The next Chatterbooks session is at Marylebone Library this Thursday, 11 February, from 4 to 5pm.

Previous activities have included designing your own book cover, word bingo, quizzes, craft sessions and taking part in competitions. Currently, the search is on for children to join the Best of the Best Children’s Book Award judging panel – if you’re keen to apply, why not join the group and get help and ideas for your book review? Bring a friend and start chatting!

Cherub books by Robert Muchamore Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon Books by Enid Blyton

Les Petits Livres (Little Books)

Church Street Library has a successful twinning relationship with a French library, Bibliotheque Place des Fetes in Paris [read more]. The library is currently displaying artwork from the Paris children’s Winter Workshop, which celebrates and is inspired by the best known British children’s illustrators.

The library has two extraordinarily popular and free of charge children’s French Clubs, running every other week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays respectively. The children regularly exchange their artwork and interact with the children of our twinning library in Paris. One member, Oskar, has kindly agreed to display some of the best bits of the Paris children’s work here:

Do get in touch with Church Street Library if you are interested in finding out more about the French Clubs or the twinning project, and don’t miss the exhibition, which will be on display until the middle of January 2016.


We Braved the Dark at Queen’s Park!

The cast from Nimble Fish - Queen's Park Library sleepover, December 2015Over the past six weeks Westminster Libraries staff members have been working with acclaimed theatre production company Nimble Fish to stage a unique library event, Brave the Dark at Queen’s Park. On Friday 4 December the hard work paid off and the first Westminster Libraries’ sleepover took place at Queen’s Park Library.

Fifteen children aged 10 to 13 enjoyed the excitement of a spending the night in an unusual location, including a midnight feast. But this wasn’t any ordinary sleepover – before any sleeping bags could be unfurled, there was a mystery to be solved…

We explored the shadowy library and met four unusual characters, each trapped in time by a sinister librarian and each with their own story to tell. Snowball fights, disco dancing and stargazing on the roof ensued; we even spent time crouched in the basement with a munitions factory worker to escape the Blitz! Participants ended the adventure by releasing balloons into the night sky, each with an attached message telling part of their own personal story.

The atmosphere in the library was transformed – even for those of us who know the building well – using lights, haze, strange sounds and a little bit of indoor snow. The kids loved meeting characters from different eras, prompting one to comment that “I really like the use of time and how it was … a time portal and it all connected to each other.” For many participants, the sense of mystery was one of the best parts of the evening:

"What did you think of the events?" - Queen's Park Library sleepover, December 2015“It was really exciting and it was really tense because …
I was so desperate to find out what the mystery would be!”

One audience member provided a great description of the whole event which shows just how much we managed to pack into an hour’s mystery-solving:

“I really liked this experience because I liked the adventure and the way we were travelling through time and we went through dancing, mystery, suspense… and in the end we went through our dreaming.”

“We learned not to judge a book by its cover and that the big bad guy in the story actually had a heart.”

After all the excitement it’s no surprise that settling down for the night was a challenge for some participants, but after chatting and sharing stories everyone was able to manage at least a little sleep. The library was cosy and warm, and not at all as spooky as some of the children had suspected.

The following morning, after a breakfast of chocolate-chip brioche, bananas and fruit juice, parents came to collect the kids and were thrilled to find they’d had such a good night. Despite feeling slightly sleepy the group were still very enthusiastic and there were lots of requests to run the event again but with “even more mystery, maybe a kind of even scarier mystery”. A library sleepover adventure genuinely captures the imagination of children (and plenty of grown-ups) and there are lots of exciting possibilities to be explored in the future.

Group photo - Queen's Park Library sleepover, December 2015