Tag Archives: events

Elephants and Eggs

Elephant of my Heart

The Prospero Theatre group came to Queens Park Library to perform ‘Elephant of My Heart’ in the children’s library. The animal of your heart is your personal inner guide and each person has their own.

This was a wonderfully inventive join-in musical workshop that tells the story of a girl recovering in hospital who is visited by an elephant, the animal of her heart, and a host of other animals.

The children in the audience made rain noises by banging on the floor, danced and played characters in the story.

Here’s what the children had to say afterwards:

‘You will fly, you will ride on an elephant’s head. Most importantly you will enjoy this’
‘So creative and engaging. Everyone loved it’
‘You were very good. 100/100’

After the performance the children were led in a quest to find the animal of their own heart. These included a snake, an elephant, a chimera, a tiger and a chipmunk.

Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Crafts

The children’s library was full of eager egg hunters at our Easter Egg Hunt and Crafts event.

Children had to find three matching tokens hidden around the children’s library to claim their chocolate Easter egg. There were so many egg hunters we had to organise a second hunt.

After the chocolate fun there was a whirlwind of paper, scissors, pens and glue sticks producing lots of lovely decorated eggs and Easter cards.



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!


Happy National Libraries Day!

National Libraries Day 2014Today, 6 February is National Libraries Day – we’d love to see you at the library today!

If you haven’t been in for a while, pick your nearest one and come and find out what we have to offer.

We’re holding an online competition to celebrate both National Libraries Day and the fact that this week has been National Storytelling Week:

Can you tell a story in fewer than 140 characters?
If you’d like to try, post your story on Twitter before midday on Monday, making sure you include the hashtag #NLD132.
There are prizes for the most retweeted story and we’ll pick our favourite reading- or library-related story too.
Find out more, and join in the judging by retweeting your favourite story at #NLD132.

This Saturday in Westminster Libraries you can find:

In addition to these special events we have literally hundreds of other events going on every day of the week across our network of libraries. Keep an eye on the Forthcoming events page for one-off events and at the regular events section of your own library’s events page for regular activities.

Or just come in and have a look at our wide range of books for both adults and children, use the library computers, ask a question, borrow a DVD or CD, find out about local history at the Archives Centre, use our amazing special collections or use the study space we offer.

If you can’t get to the library today, have a look at our brilliant online resources – you can download e-books, e-magazines and e-audiobooks for free, and use the Guardian newspaper archives, Naxos Music Library and KOMPASS business directory (and much MUCH more) from home too.

And if you can’t get to the library at all because you are disabled or caring for someone at home, don’t forget that we have a Home Library Service for you.

There are loads of reasons to love libraries this National Libraries Day. Come and find out why!


Happy New Year!

Fireworks NightIt’s going to be an exciting year, with even more of the events we’re known for (look out for New Year New You very soon), anniversaries to celebrate and books to read (whether e-books or hard copy).

We’d like to announce one more thing, starting today – the 170th anniversary of the diary of Nathaniel Bryceson. Written in 1846, acquired by Westminster City Archives in 1974 and published for the first time online in 2010, it’s time for fans old and new to see it anew. Of course, the diary is not new, the entries are the same intriguing snapshots of Victorian daily life, but this time it’s being published as a blog AND a weekly podcast and Nathaniel Bryceson is on Twitter.

So visit The Life and Loves of a Victorian Clerk, scroll to the bottom and subscribe to updates, follow Nathaniel on Twitter and/or sign up for the podcast. Later today you can read Nathaniel’s very first 1846 diary entry…

Nathaniel Bryceson diary 1 Jan

We can help

Did you know that using a public library is good for your mental health?

Books on Prescription at Victoria LibraryRecent research done for Arts Council England found that

“Library usage is associated with higher life satisfaction, higher happiness and a higher sense of purpose in life… These results suggest that libraries generally have an important role in library users’ quality of life and wellbeing.”

– The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries, 2015

Today is World Mental Health Day so we’re taking the opportunity to talk about some of the support that Westminster Libraries can offer to maintain and improve your and your family’s mental health.

If you visit your local library today, you are likely to see a display entitledBooks on Prescription – a selection of self-help books put together by health professionals that give guidance on managing and, in some cases, recovering from mild to moderate mental wellbeing issues. These books are available for a longer-than-usual loan period, and figures released today suggest that it’s a positive and useful resource (Book-based therapy scheme is a success) – so successful in fact that Korean TV visited Victoria Library this week to talk to the Reading Agency and our very own librarian Nick about taking Books on Prescription to Korea!

You can browse the selection for yourself on the library catalogue:

Browse the 'Books on Prescription' selection

Browse the ‘Books on Prescription’ selection

From the same page you can also browse a great selection of Mood Boosting Books – uplifting titles including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are recommended by readers and reading groups around the country.

Browse the selection of Mood Boosting Books

Browse the selection of Mood Boosting Books

You are probably aware of the wide range of health-related events that are held regularly in Westminster Libraries – from free blood pressure checks to Q & A sessions about different conditions, from advice on healthy eating to fun dental health sessions for children. But as the report at the top of the post indicates, it’s not just attending health-related events that can have an impact on your mental health. Attending any library events (and we have a LOT!) can improve feelings of wellbeing. In fact, there is also evidence that improved literacy is linked to good health, so the Health Information Project is working closely with children’s Chatterbooks reading groups and other groups within libraries to support reading as a whole.

Have you heard about the Shared Reading Groups? We have a wide range of reading groups that you can join, from the traditional ‘read a book a month and discuss it’ style to groups focusing on comics or crime fiction. Shared reading groups have a slightly different style – there’s no set book, you don’t need to read it before you attend – just come along and listen to others read aloud, discuss (if you want) and enjoy the books (poetry, plays, novels), the company and the free tea and coffee!

We can help. Libraries are a great source of information, enjoyment, social interaction or space just to read and learn. Come in and spend some time, join in with an event or group, find a great book to read for escape or to find support with the stresses of life. These links may also help:


Record Breaking Numbers

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It’s been a busy, fun-packed summer for us, with over 2,300 children joining this year’s Summer Reading Challenge “Record Breakers” – so far!

850 young people  have already completed the challenge by reading 6 books over three library visits. Victoria Library has been especially busy with nearly a quarter more children joining than last year and more of these children have completed the challenge than they did over the whole of the summer last year.

There’s still time to sign up to the challenge and plenty of time to read the six books – and get your medal for finishing the challenge – what a great way to finish the summer!

See above for some of our Summer Reading Challenge highlights.

Will it be a Record? We think so!

Record Breakers 2015: Sketch a Superhero event at Maida Vale LibraryThe schools have broken up, the holidays have started and the sun has disappeared… but in Westminster Libraries we are busy having fun!

The Record Breakers Summer Reading Challenge is in full swing so why not come along and join in? The challenge is to read six library books over the summer and receive rewards along the way, with a medal for reading six.

We also have a packed schedule of events for children and families in our libraries, so there should be something for everyone – above is Riley sporting the superhero mask he made at Maida Vale Library‘s ‘Sketch a Superhero’ event.

Meanwhile at Marylebone Library, children had a lot of fun creating their own ‘record breakers’ stories and designing newspaper reports:

Record Breakers 2015: Create your own newspaper events at Marylebone Library Record Breakers 2015: Create your own newspaper events at Marylebone Library Record Breakers 2015: Create your own newspaper events at Marylebone Library

This is just a small sample – at the time of writing there have already been 25 Record Breakers events for children in Westminster Libraries since the start of the summer holidays, which more than a hundred still to come!

Take a look at our calendar of events, or download the leaflet for your local library from our Summer Reading Challenge page: www.westminster.gov.uk/summer-reading-challenge and sign up for the Challenge now!