Tag Archives: disability

Crime at Christmas…

Crime@Christmas was the title of the Home Library Service’s light hearted event to celebrate Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary.

Crime@Christmas - Agatha Christie themed event with the Home Library Service, December 2015

Our largest ever gatherings of members of the Home Library Service (plus local residents) – at Pimlico Library in early December and again at Church Street Library last week – enjoyed two short plays, specially written for the events,  performed by AWL on a ‘whodunnit’ Agatha Christie theme.

We had to make room in the bookshelves for the gun to be found in ‘Murder in the Library’(!), and ‘The Armchair Murder’, complete with Agatha Christie references, kept everyone guessing. Our actors (Joan Blackham and Peter Saracen) and playwrights (Wally Sewell and Sally Sheringham) then gamely faced our audience for a question and answer session which covered topics such as how to get into writing plays and the careers/jobs of the actors.

Crime@Christmas - Agatha Christie themed event with the Home Library Service, December 2015

A tricky Agatha Christie quiz  (eg: how many murders did Miss Marple solve? Was it: 3, 36, 47 or 102?*) and suitably festive fare rounded off the day.

Our members were hugely appreciative of the opportunity to come out  transport provided) and watch a live performance. Some comments:

Crime@Christmas - Agatha Christie themed event with the Home Library Service, December 2015“A very entertaining day”

“Enjoyed the opportunity to talk to the actors after the performance”

“Would love more events like this please”


* It was 47

Music Therapy Week 2015

Music therapyThis week (22 – 27 June) Westminster Music Library is displaying a selection of books, informative posters and leaflets in support of Music Therapy Week 2015, in conjunction with The British Association of Music Therapy (BAMT).

The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) is the professional body for music therapists and a source of information, support and involvement for the general public.

Music Therapy in Schools by Jo Tomlinson et al. Music Therapy in Dementia Care by David Aldridge A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy by Tony Wigram et al. The music in music therapy by Jos de Backer

Music therapy is an established clinical discipline which is widely used to help people whose lives have been affected by injury, illness or disability. Music Therapy Week 2015 is a week dedicated to raising awareness about how music therapy can improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities across the UK. It can help people of any age who find it difficult to communicate verbally, due to a physical or cognitive disability, emotional distress or mental illness. This year’s campaign will focus on the instrumental role music therapy has to play in supporting people with dementia and those who care for them (www.bamt.org, 2015).

The BAMT have been working closely with libraries across the UK to deliver a series of workshops and exhibitions during Music Therapy Week and Westminster Music Library are grateful for the opportunity to share in this collaborative project.

Music therapy display at Westminster Music Library, June 2015

Where music helps, by Brynjulf StigeThe books in our display give an overview of the wide range of material available at Westminster Music Library for Music Therapy students, practitioners and enthusiasts. We also hold Music Therapy journals in paper and online, and researchers who are Westminster members can access our online content at www.westminster.gov.uk/247.




Happy birthday HLS! [part 2]

Home Library Service 65th anniversary celebrations at Pimlico LibraryWestminster’s Home Library Service continued its 65th anniversary celebrations (This was Part 2 – see also Part 1: the northern event) by having a health and wellbeing morning at Pimlico Library, with celebratory lunch and cake for our readers in the south of the city.

As well as the popular hand massage,  we had representatives from Open Age and Pimlico Housing Options. Elizabeth from WELDIS was on hand to talk about the kind of information which can be found on the database and provided a list of useful telephone numbers especially appropriate for the winter months.  The photographs show some of our readers enjoying a chance to socialise (and eat cake)!

Home Library Service 65th anniversary celebrations at Pimlico Library

If you or someone you know would like to use the Home Library Service, please get in touch.


Happy Birthday HLS! [Part 1]

HLS 65th Anniversary party, July 2013Westminster’s Home Library Service is 65 years old! Since 1948 we’ve been visiting customers in their homes, making sure that people who can’t get out (whether they be ill, elderly, disabled or caring for someone who is) can get the books they want and need.

We celebrated part 1 of the 65th anniversary with a health and wellbeing information morning, including a complimentary hand massage, at Church Street Library. We followed this with a 1948 quiz, lunch and birthday cake with a glass of bubbly.

HLS 65th Anniversary party, July 2013Our readers weren’t put off by the deluge of rain that morning and a good time was had by all, meeting each other for the first time as well as finding out about other Westminster services available to housebound people.

If you or someone you know would like to use the Home Library Service, please get in touch.


Removing barriers

Stephen HawkingToday, 3 December, is the ‘International Day Of Persons with Disabilities‘, a slightly clunky title for a day that the United Nations has been observing since 1992.

This year’s theme is ‘Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all’.  15% of the world’s population have some form of disability and it’s a group any of us could join at any moment.

At Treasure Hunt Towers we were big fans of the Paralympics and were truly in awe of some of the swimmers who were missing limbs, the blind footballers and the wheelchair boccia players. So we thought we’d devote this Web Treasure Hunt to a few people with disabilities who have become world-famous in their own spheres.

Children's books by Stephen and Lucy HawkingIt makes sense to start with the extraordinary physicist Stephen Hawking, who launched the Paralympics Opening Ceremony with the words

“Ever since the dawn of civilisation, people have craved an understanding of the underlying order of the world – why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live, but celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, having gone on, post-diagnosis, to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and then Professor. He is also a prolific author – check out one of his books and prepare to have your mind blown!

Books by Jorge Luis BorgesJorge Luis Borges, Argentinian short-story writer, philosopher and director of the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) found his eyesight failing in this thirties and was completely blind by his fifties. However he continued to write books and screenplays and deliver lectures, helped by his mother who acted as his secretary since he never mastered Braille.

You can find many of his works in Westminster Libraries – his short stories, with their themes of mirrors, libraries, dreams and labyrinths pioneered the genre of magical realism.  For more information, have a look at Contemporary Authors (you will need your Westminster Library card to log in).

Sarah BernhardtIn the late nineteenth century, Sarah Bernhardt was simply the most famous actor in the world. Nicknamed ‘The Divine Sarah’, after training at the renowned Comedie-Francaise she then toured Europe and the USA, even going to Cuba. She was renowned as the greatest tragic actress of her time, playing both male and female roles. She was also a pioneer of silent films and even appeared in a 1900 film of a scene from Hamlet with sound. You can see clips from some of her films on Youtube.

In 1905, she was performing in the dramatic version of La Tosca (adapted for opera by Puccini) in Rio Di Janeiro when she stumbled after leaping from the balcony in the final scene. She never fully recovered and, in 1915, her right leg was completely amputated. However, this didn’t stop her acting  – she played many of her most famous roles, including Cleopatra, Judas and Queen Elizabeth after her injury.

You can check out some biographies of Sarah in Westminster Libraries. If you’re interested in her theatrical successes, have a look at the John Johnson Collection where you can find facsimiles programmes of some of her plays including Hamlet at the Royal Adelphi Theatre and Lena at the Royal Lyceum Theatre (now home to The Lion King).

Naxos Music Library - log in with your Westminster library cardEveryone knows Beethoven lost his hearing, but he wasn’t the only composer with this condition. Bedrich Smetana was perhaps the greatest of nineteenth century Czech composers and wrote much of his most notable music, including the cycle of symphonic tone poems Ma Vlast (‘My Country’), after he had become completely deaf. You can listen to his complete works online at the Naxos Music Library, including his much-revived opera The Bartered Bride. If you want to find out more about his life and works, have a look at Oxford Music Online.

Itzhak Perlman, certainly one of the finest post-war violinists, is happily still alive and performing despite contracting polio at the age of four. He made a good recovery but has subsequently used crutches or a mobility scooter and sits while performing. He has  played the violin all round the world in venues ranging from Barack Obama’s inauguration to Sesame Street. Check out some of his performances on CD from Westminster Libraries or listen online via Naxos Music Library.

The WELDIS database contains loads of useful information for elderly and/or disabled people in WestminsterRemember, if you are disabled or caring for someone with a disability, Westminster Libraries have a range of services that can make life easier, from a Home Library Service for those who cannot get to a library to a range of specialist services and equipment. You can also check WELDIS, a very useful online directory of services, groups and information for older people and those with a disability or long-term illness.