Tag Archives: Santa


Westbourne Park Baptist Church Community choir at Paddington Library, December 2016Our calendar of festive events was enjoyed by all, even though with the timing of Christmas and the late break up of schools we had to pack a LOT into a few days of holiday!

Sadly not many pictures were taken – perhaps a stipulation by Father Christmas? But please take the reports by Westminster Music Library and, here, Paddington Library to be representative of a whole lot of fun being had across the borough.

In the middle of December, we welcomed the members of the Westbourne Park Baptist Church Community choir, who staged a nativity with Mary and the three wise men in Paddington Children’s Library. Audience participation was very much forthcoming and along with the resounding carol singing there was abundant gold, frankincense and myrrh, not to mention mince pies, biscuits and fruit juice.

Westbourne Park Baptist Church Community choir at Paddington Library, December 2016

A bit later in the month, Paddington Children’s Library hosted a busy Christmas party for the under fives, with special guest Father Christmas in what looked like a brand new suit! This was Father Christmas’ first visit to our new childrens’ library in Queensway. It has been nearly a year since we moved into the former shop and it is time to reflect on and celebrate the popularity of the Under 5s, the burgeoning homework club with our fabulous volunteers and the numerous class visits, plus the art exhibition courtesy of Lyndons Arts Trust. It has certainly been a good year. Father Christmas was suitably impressed. He was also impressed with the behaviour of the children, all of whom received well deserved presents – a cuddly toy and a book each.

Under Fives' Christmas Party at Paddington Library, December 2016

Library staff would like to thanks to the South East Bayswater Residents’ Association for its generous support of both events.

Happy New Year!


Deck the shelves…

Opal Flutes at Westminster Music Library, December 2016So it’s that time of year again, the tree has gone up, we’ve covered the place in tinsel, the Santa hats have been dusted off and we’re starting to get sick of certain songs already… yes, Christmas time is officially upon us.

And it wouldn’t be Christmas without us sharing the many festive musical events we’ve held in Westminster Music Library since the start of December…

Opal Flutes at Westminster Music Library, December 2016

Opening proceedings with a cracking selection of winter themed arrangements were the fabulous Opal Flutes flute choir, a bunch of keen amateur musicians of all standards and from many walks of life; as well as the standard flute we’re all familiar with, they also boast players of piccolo, alto flute and bass flute. So popular are they that they even have music specially arranged for them, Jingle Bells never sounded so good.

Staff get into the swing of the under fives' Christmas party at Westminster Music Library, December 2016

Having bid them all the very best for the festive season, it was time for the Music Library staff to take over and present the madness and mayhem that is the Under Fives Christmas Party, as ever with the help of the indispensable Georgina from Victoria Children’s Library:

Father Christmas came to the under fives' Christmas party at Westminster Music Library! December 2016“Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Under Fives Christmas Party in the Music Library, it’s right up there with the Queen’s Speech”

And of course there was a visit from the one and only Father Christmas (we know who you are, and your secret’s safe with us…).

Our musical entertainment managed to conjure up a lot of happy faces although there were a few tears. It’s amazing how competitive parents can be when it comes to the race for getting a Christmas present for being “good all year”…

Carols with Knightsbridge Brass at Westminster Music Library, December 2016

Once Santa had departed to continue his gift distribution and we’d tidied up the tinsel, our thoughts turned to our grand finale Westminster Music Library Christmas event – a carol evening including mince pies and silly stories, and the amazing musical accompaniment of Knightsbridge Brass, a quintet of brass players from The Band of the Scots Guards.

Carols with Knightsbridge Brass at Westminster Music Library, December 2016A little different from Trooping the Colour, they were all game enough to trade in their bearskins for Santa Hats and provide exceptional musical back up for the carolling crowd – which reached a record breaking number this Christmas.

And that’s us done for this year’s Christmas celebrations in the Music Library, although we’re still eating the mince pies…


A visit from “Saint” Nick

Westminster Music Library's christmas party for children, 2013

It’s become something of a tradition in Westminster Music Library; the staff spend all year looking serious and learned, behaving in a restrained and “librarian like” manner, until sometime in late November somebody utters those immortal words: “Shall we give the Under 5s a Christmas party again this year?” Oh yes we will, and before our house pianist groans loudly and reaches for the diary to book some annual leave, we’re knee deep in Christmas music, party hats, Santa suits and many accompanying bells and whistles. 

So it was that last Wednesday morning a large bunch of excited children and their even more excited parents gathered in Westminster Music Library in anticipation of fun, mayhem and general chaos. House pianist suitably installed (bah humbug) we were off to a flying start with a hearty rendition of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Sufficiently warmed up and getting ever louder, the tension built to fever pitch as we awaited a visit from the Big Man himself, none other than Santa Claus. Several verses (and choruses) of Jingle Bells but no sign of him, oh dear… could he have got stuck up a chimney? Or half way round the M25? Or was it something to do with a missing cushion, aka Santa’s stomach? Finally, after yet more Jingle Bells, there he was, booted, bearded and (fat) suited in all his glory, and brandishing a large sack of presents to give to our patient audience. There was something for everyone, presents galore and everyone looked happy, well nearly everyone… pulling Santa’s beard does not a happy Santa make, and removing the fairy from the top of the Christmas tree to check whether she’s edible is really not a good idea.

Presents liberally distributed (amazingly every child had been good); Santa went on his merry way, or more likely off to sit quietly in a darkened room. Despite his departure there was still time for us to belt out Walking in a Winter Wonderland; We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman.



Dear Santa

Dear Santa, Please can I have 79,953 records for Christmas? I know they wood take up lots of space but I coold keep them under the bed (and my sisters bed, as long as I dont tell her - she'd only spoyle them). Lots of love, Anna  Dear Anna, Merry Christmas! Thank you for your lovely letter. Your writing is very good, and I'm sure that your spelling will soon improve! Don't worry about where to keep your discs - with the magic of the 24/7 Library you won't be able to see them, but you can play them whenever you like. You will need a Westminster library card, but I'm sure a sensible child like you already has one. All your CDs will be in the Naxos Music Library. They've also got a lovely Junior Section, with songs to sing as well as the story of classical music and a chance to meet the instruments of the orchestra. Lots to read and lots to sing! (www.westminster.gov.uk/247) Have a lovely Christmas, and keep up the spelling practice. Love, Santa

Ho ho ho!

Santa Claus - last seen in Westminster Music LibraryWell here we are again, it’s “that time of year” when we cast aside all our normal duties and serious faces, don silly hats and generally behave in a very un-librarian like fashion. Christmas would not be the same without the Under 5s Extravaganza in Westminster Music Library, and it was our duty to make sure that every child (regardless of whether they have been good or bad) got to join in the festive fun, sing some jolly Christmas songs and generally have a good time.

Our house pianist (he’s getting used to being humiliated now, he will willingly agree to wear the silly hat if approached in the right way – bookings made through his agent please) once more stepped up to the plate providing assured accompaniments for our caroling.

Once everyone was settled in, warmed up and in the festive mood, the singing grew louder (just as well as this was the day BT had decided to do some on site drilling) and the anticipation of what was yet to come grew to a fever pitch. None other than Santa Claus himself was rumored to be making a brief stop off from his rounds to pay us an early visit. And sure enough, after a few verses of “Jingle Bells” the man himself appeared; booted, suited and bearded, and yo-ho-ho-ing for all he was worth.

Under 5s Christmas Extravaganza 2012 at Westminster Music Library

Every child received a present (one little boy is enjoying his very first Christmas) from Father Christmas, only two showed signs of fear (awwww come on, it’s only Santa) but were eventually brought round with Christmas presents. Once all his gifts were distributed, Santa joined us in a song before going on his merry way. But as if by magic and to the delight of our young guests, yet more presents appeared, more Christmas songs were sung (involving a certain amount of free form dancing and audience participation) and one of our guests enjoyed himself so much he decided to eat his song sheet.

So having wished everyone a very Happy Christmas, we packed up our bells, hats and tinsel for another year, Santa disappeared on his sleigh and our pianist returned to his scales and arpeggios. We’re keeping the hat for later though – check our events page if you want to know why…


Victoria Library blog

Victoria LibraryWe have been busy little bees at Victoria Library recently – there’s been so much happening we haven’t had time to post about each event, so we thought it was about time we did a big summary of what we’ve been up to!

Over the past few months, the library has been humming with activity. In addition to numerous health activities organised by Kate the health information worker, we have had a fair few authors visiting to tell us all about their work.

We kicked off the autumn library season with a writing session led by Sharon Kendrick, a Mills and Boon author keen to share her experiences of writing.

Immediately after, we had a talk on the little-known Victorian gentleman archaeologist Alexander Hardcastle by Alexandra Richardson.  The talk was extremely informative and gave a hint of the amount of work an author has to put in to gain such a thorough understanding of a little known subject.

Bringing them up Royal, by David CohenThen we had David Cohen (a writer, psychologist and journalist) come in and talk about the childhoods of the royals since 1066, including the erratic, negligent or even cruel parenting that was sometimes involved.
As you might imagine, this hidden aspect of the life of royalty drew quite a crowd of interested participants. I imagine it might be an even more popular talk if we hosted it again, given its relevance to this week’s news…

We next had the Roehampton University Writing Society giving readings from their latest anthology. Consisting of a mixture of poetry and prose, the crowd was mostly keen students but included some intrigued members of the public.

Chocolate cakes at Victoria Library

Subsequently, we had two authors come in to talk about their upcoming works and about how to get published: Sunita Pattani and Sweta Srivastava Vikram (authors of My Secret Affair with Chocolate Cake and Mouth Full respectively). One of them was so happy with the library that she decided she’d like to hold her book launch here too. Without so much as a break for fresh air, we then had Sunita come in to deliver her talk to a full house (so full in fact that we had to close off the study room just for the event). Given the nature of the talk – how you can eat chocolate and still be healthy – we managed to persuade Starbucks to supply us with a chocolate cake. Needless to say the launch was a massive success with over 40 attendees (and just enough chocolate left over to keep the staff happy).

Open University Open Day at Victoria LibraryIn between all of these events, we also had the Open University come in to deliver information sessions, weekly Healthy Westminster sessions, ESOL classes, our regular book groups, employment workshops and of course, keeping the library running smoothly!

We also held quite a few events for children:

Our Halloween Party was a great success, with more than 20 children attending in fancy dress. We played themed games, awarded prizes for the best costumes, and received many compliments from parents and carers  – plus the children all took home a skeleton and some sweets!

This Christmas sees us joining forces with Westminster Music Library for a children’s Christmas Extravaganza on 13 December. We will be singing carols, giving out mince pies, have a lucky ticket draw for the parents and carers and a special visit from Santa Claus.

Author Sunita Pattani and Victoria Library Manager Ann FarrellThank you to all our customers for your continued support – we look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks, borrowing books to read and music to play or listen to at Christmas.

[Nick and Georgina]

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir…

All you ever wanted to know about Westminster Music Library – with Christmas carols and a whole lot more.

Christmas Open Evening at Westminster Music Library

It’s that time of year again when we open our doors for another evening of guided tours, talks and tinsel. Over 40 people from the very young to the not so junior trotted upstairs to see what it is we get up to in the Music Library. Some thought we were just about books, others that we music people spoke some sort of strange language, and then there were those who didn’t even know we had an “upstairs”, never mind a “downstairs” full of hidden treasures.

All was revealed, including the mysteries of composition in the digital age with a demonstration of our latest computer wizardry.  Budding composers need look no further, and when you’ve completed your magnum opus with the aid of the very latest technology, book an hour on our digital piano and play to your heart’s content.

Not forgetting our glorious and colourful history unveiled by our guides and illustrated by a selection of goodies from our dusty vaults.

No Christmas gathering would be complete without carols, so sing them we did, ably assisted by our resident pianist who (once again) refused to don the Santa suit (Next year…there’s always next year…) but did settle for the hat. And don’t forget the mince pies and the wine, the bad cracker jokes and hilarious anecdotes from school nativity plays.

But be sure to keep the noise down on the way out, this is a library after all, and we librarians do insist on silence, honest…

Here’s a few words from some of the people who came:

“I’ve really enjoyed tonight, thanks for all the lovely entertainment.”
“It’s fantastic what you do here, having the piano is a stroke of genius!”
“What a great way to start Christmas, I’m really in the mood now.”
“I’d no idea you had so much great stuff, so glad I came tonight.”
“You’ve worked so hard, thank you for a really interesting and entertaining evening.”