Tag Archives: language

Learning and working together

As always, it’s been a busy few months for Westminster Libraries’ Bengali Service! Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to:

Mental Health Facilitators / Ayurvedic Indian Head Massage training

Community Celebration Day at Church Street Library, December 2016Community Celebration Day at Church Street Library, December 2016

This is a joint project in Church Street, in partnership with the Mosaic Community Trust, to train local residents – particularly those with English as a second language – to become mental health facilitators and massage therapists through a qualified training programme. In turn they are able to act as champions for their respective communities.

As part of the programme a ‘Community Celebration Day’ was held in December at Church Street Library – many people, including GPs and practice managers from the local health centres, attended to discuss patient participation and how local people can play an active role in terms of their care needs.

The project has 15 students and they will be graduating as massage therapists this month! The training will equip the participants with relevant skills to work as therapists or freelance in a salon. Some students demonstrated their newly acquired skills at the event in December and at Church Street’s New Year’s New You event in January.

A World In A Suitcase (AWIASC)

A World in a Suitcase is a storytelling project funded by the Wellcome Trust & WAES in collaboration with an author and a former BBC producer. Its aim was to foster closer relations, understanding and tolerance between communities through sharing their ‘World’.”

Myrna Shoa and Timuchin Dindjer have run six workshops with our English Speaking Clubs members at Church Street Library, using multimedia arts and story-telling prop materials.

Participants have created a visual record of their stories through collages, drawings, words and photos. All these culminated into an exhibition at WAES which was opened by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Steve Summers.

A World in a Suitcase (AWIASC) exhibition, 2017

A World in a Suitcase (AWIASC) exhibition, 2017 – click to view the rest of the images

Employment and Training Project at Queen’s Park Library

A great partnership has been forged with Queen’s Park Community Council and Paddington Development Trust’s (PDT) employment programme to introduce a new service at Queen’s Park Library.

The PDT Employment Adviser, Shah Alam, is based in Queen’s Park Library every Tuesday (10.30am-3.30pm). Shah works with Westminster residents, long term unemployed and job seekers, men and women over the age of 19, on a one to one basis. He sees them for a series of Information, Advice and Guidance sessions, a minimum of six and at a pace set by the client. Sessions can cover motivation and confidence, skills and referrals to training, CV creation, job search and applications, interview techniques and practical support.

SShah at Queen's Park Library, giving employment advice and supporthah is enjoying meeting with different community members, people with different needs and expectations from a job and who are balancing different responsibilities of family and childcare and other commitments. Contact Queen’s Park Library to find out more.

Parenting Seminars at Queen’s Park Library

A series of parenting seminars were organised and delivered at Queen’s Park Library, in partnership with Westminster Early Help Team & Parenting and Fast Co-ordinator, Madhu Chauhan.

Parenting seminars at Queen's Park LibraryFifteen local people have attended the seminars over three weeks learning about raising resilient happy children, instilling positive behaviours at home so they become happy, well-rounded and able to achieve their full potential.

Feedback ranged from great to excellent after all these workshops!

International Mother Language Day at Pimlico Library

Another successful event was held at Pimlico Library in partnership with Westminster Bangladeshi Association (WBA) on 16 February to commemorate International Mother Language Day – a day to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The event attracted over a hundred people into the library. We saw children making collages with signs and symbols of their native countries, with images of healthy food and key healthy lifestyle messages in different languages. Children also took part in a colouring completion and poetry performance as well as speeches about the importance of cultural diversity in language and why it is important to learn English in this multicultural city of Westminster.

International Mother Language Day at Pimlico Library International Mother Language Day at Pimlico Library

This event was also supported by various organisations such as My Time Active, Westminster Memory Service, Health Information Co-ordinator and Health Trainers.

A Volunteer Success Story

Magdalena works at Queen’s Park Library helping out with Basic Computer Sessions and the English Speaking Club. She also helps colleagues with shelving.

Recently, she has acquired a job as she has been growing in confidence through her volunteering with the Bengali Service in Westminster Libraries. Congratulations Magdalena!

International Women’s Day

The Bengali Service also marked International Women’s Day with an event at Church Street Library, with some high achieving local female guest speakers to inspire the local women of Westminster as well as service providers ranging from  the education, training, employment, health and wellbeing sectors.

Watch this space for more news!

[Mahbuba]

Vive la France in Church Street

French Culture Day at Church Street Library, July 2016Church Street Library recently held their French Culture Day.

The event was organised to celebrate the end of term for the hugely popular Children’s French Clubs held in the library, and also to mark Bastille Day which was a couple of days afterwards on 14 July.

French Culture Day was a joint effort between Debora who runs the clubs for the library and the clubs’ brilliant teachers, native French volunteers Devrim, Elodie, Fleur and Marie.

“What a wonderful event, I am amazed at the sense of community one can feel in this room where everyone is chatting enjoying the nice food and meeting new people. I think this is what a library should be about.”

There were French themed/speaking activities for around seventy adults and children. A children’s Treasure Hunt led by Elodie, Fleur and Marie took thirty very excited children on an adventure filled with clues throughout the library floor, finishing with rewards of prizes including candy bags and French books.

“My children had a lot of fun, I enjoyed with them to be taken around this library I never been to, so a great discovery. Everything looked very well organised and the French ladies are very experienced with children. Nice food too, so thank you!”

“My children come to the French Club and this is the best way of saying goodbye before the summer break. They really loved the club and this event today was so unexpected, thank you so much to all of you, amazing work.”

Devrim created a 45 minute bespoke French class for adults, covering a variety of tourist-style scenarios and concluding with useful handouts.

“Fantastic idea! I have never experienced a French adult class before, let alone for free! The quiches are amazing, can I ask for the recipe?”

The events were followed by homemade French style refreshments including the aforementioned quiches made by Fleur which were quickly reduced to crumbs!

“I’ve never been to this library and I will definitely come back for more events like this one! Please keep up the great work we had fantastic time.”

 

“I’m French and this level of FBD celebration is usually found in France but I’ve never seen it in a public space in Britain and free of charge. Thumbs up for Church Street Library and thanks to the great ladies for organising all this for us!”

“What a brilliant idea and perfect way to say au revoir!”

[Debora]

Library Press Display: a great source for world news

NewspaperA common complaint about news from UK-based newspapers, television, radio and even online news is that it is often too focused on what is happening nearby and not further afield. Countries with which the UK has less of a perceived connection are being left out.

This can be a real problem if finding out what is happening outside the UK is important to you, either because you have family or cultural ties with a particular part of the world, or a broader social or academic interest. What news is available will be filtered through the lens of UK or even London-based reporting – how might it look from another perspective?

It is possible to access more international and national news using the internet and Library Press Display is a great way of doing this. Showing the actual pages from multiple countries’ newspapers offers an insight into how things look from within the country itself. Library Press Display, along with a wealth of other newspaper archives, is free online to all Westminster Libraries members – just log in with your library card number.

Screenshot of front page of 'Daily Trust' Nigerian newspaper on Library Press Display, 30 March 2016

My colleague Sharif’s favourite library resource is Library Press Display, as it allows him to read the news as it is reported in Nigeria. There are two really useful newspapers available: This Day and The Trust. The stories reported are important to politics in Nigeria, such as changes in government, and there are often stories which you may not otherwise hear (although there are TV stations available online as well). As with the press everywhere, each paper can be selective about which stories are published and can sometimes show bias toward either the north or the south of the country, or through ethnic or religious undertones. But they offer a different perspective than that of the UK press reporting on Nigerian affairs, and having two to choose from can also be enlightening.

Screenshot of front page of 'This Day' Nigerian newspaper on Library Press Display, 30 March 2016

Nigeria is just one example of the many nations’ newspapers available through Library Press Display. In a multilingual city such as London this is invaluable: if you are able to speak more than one language (or if you are trying to learn another at an advanced level), you may it useful for stories and current affairs in 60 languages from Afrikaans to Zulu.

[Owen and Sharif]

 

Oxford Language Dictionaries

Oxford Dictionaries

Oxford Language Dictionaries was always a useful resource. It was able to translate words from a variety of different languages into another variety of different languages. Recently this resource has been combined with other Oxford University Press online dictionaries to form Oxford Dictionaries online. You can now access the following all in one place:

  • Translating, grammar and pronunciation tools for English, German, Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian and Italian.
  • The ability to search for phrases/proverbs – and translate your phrases so you can find their foreign language equivalents (or vice versa)
  • Find rhyming words – great if you want to write a poem or tell a silly joke!

Many of the old favourites have remained in the new format including being able to listen to words pronounced correctly. Perhaps the best advantage of the new system is the ability to use it on your smartphone.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it. Have a go yourself: www.oxforddictionaries.com

A couple of notes before getting started:

  • If you’re used to the old version, the new format may take some getting used to. Don’t give up. It really is very good!
  • TIP! When on your phone, choose the three lines in your top-right corner to show a menu with all the languages you can access. On a computer you will have more options but this position for the language menu is still important.
  • When logging in from your phone you may need to scroll down quite a way to find the library card number box (no need for a username and password, just the card number).
  • TIP! Clicking on the logo will take you back to the main home page if you’re feeling a bit lost!

[Owen]

Finding foreign newspapers in your library and online

NewspaperAlthough I regularly direct library users to newspapers from other countries, it was not until I began researching material for this blog that I really appreciated the full extent of the library service’s coverage! It’s quite something.

A quick search of the Periodicals catalogue (known as WULOP – see below for more information) reveals Arabic, Farsi, and Chinese language newspapers. Other Asian language papers include Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu titles. European languages are represented by French, German, Italian and Spanish titles. America is represented by the European editions of the International New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Some of the foreign titles are also written wholly or partly in English, so provide a useful alternative current affairs perspective for non-multilinguists to use.

Other titles aimed at specific ethnic groups such as The Voice or the Jewish Chronicle, while published in the UK, should not be forgotten as they contain detailed news coverage relating to the West Indies and Middle East respectively, as well as their British coverage.

In addition to these physical copies located within libraries, an enormous number of foreign newspapers can also be read online using the 24/7 online resource Library PressDisplay. We’ve posted about this amazing resource before – see previous posts.

Come in and have a look, or use your library membership card to search Library Press Display – there’s a whole world out there!

[Francis]


How to search WULOP

Go to WULOP

Westminster Union List of Periodicals (WULOP) search screen

As you can see from this image there are several ways of searching for a specific title or titles.

  • Search by Title – either type a title in the box or use the drop down menu to display an alphabetical list and select from it a specific title. Click on the chosen title to display locations and holdings.
  • Search by Subject – this drop down menu includes countries, eg: Iran and Iranian. Choosing this will display foreign newspaper titles relevant to that country or region.
  • Search by Location – this will display all newspaper and periodical titles subscribed to by a specific library.
  • Search by Keyword – this will find keywords either within a title and/or a subject term assigned to each specific title.

Sing Tao entry on WULOP

This is the entry for the Sing Tao Daily Chinese newspaper. The catalogue entry displays library locations for this title and also the back issue file length. Note different branches often have different file lengths so use WULOP to discover which library should have the required issue. It is advisable to contact the library before visiting to check whether the specific issue is in stock, as occasionally issues are stolen :-(. A more common reason for a library not to have a specific issue is simply that the newsagent did not receive any copies at all on that particular day. A number of foreign newspapers are imported and then, via wholesalers, sent to newsagents. Poor weather, strikes and other issues can delay or prevent issues from reaching the newsagent.

The wonders of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)Watching a programme on BBC4 about the indigenous Taino people of the Caribbean (Lost Kingdoms of Central America – The people who greeted Columbus – currently available to view on iPlayer) I was reminded again just how many languages contribute toward the English we know and use today. It seemed amazing that the word ‘canoe’ actually came from these islands so far away. They called theirs ‘canoas’.

Canoe is of course not the only ‘English’ word to originate in a far flung place. The language grows all the time as we communicate on a global scale. One of the best and most entertaining ways to begin looking into this is to consult the Oxford English Dictionary (log in with your library card), a place to discover all sorts of unusual words, look at their origins and expand our own vocabulary. In its online form it is continuously added to, consists of 600,000 words and states that it is: “Widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language”.

It would be impossible to carry all 20 of the physical volumes around with you and most of us would be hard pushed to find space in our homes, so it’s great to have online access with your library card. Go ahead – use it to find out what a word means (it’s thoroughly reliable), where it comes from or, if you wish, to find another with the same meaning (it has a great thesaurus)!

[Owen]

“It worked online – at home!”

This was what someone had to say about Library Press Display, one of our amazing online resources, available to all members of Westminster Libraries. Last week I showed him how it was possible to get different magazines and newspapers using our website and that you don’t even need to be in the library to use them – they can be accessed at home as well.

Online newspapers for members of Westminster LibrariesLibrary Press Display has to be one of my favourites. It allows you to read the papers as they look that very day – the current copy. Not just one or two newspapers either, but papers and some magazines from around the world in a huge variety of languages – also on the day they are published!
I loved it from the moment I saw it but didn’t believe that we could have access to anything that amazing; would they really allow our library members to access all this? Yes, they would and yes, they do.

Of course as the visit by this particular customer proves, using this or any other online resource doesn’t have to mean the end to all your visits to your local library so do continue to drop by.

Library Press Display is one of several online newspaper resources useful for anything from finding recent articles and looking at today’s stories to historical research. Just go to: www.westminster.gov.uk/online-resources-by-subject.

[Owen]