Tag Archives: teens

Theatre in the library

Elaine chats with Home Library Service users, Pimlico Library, December 2016Members of the Home Library Service, together with children from Pimlico Academy, enjoyed ‘A Christmas Carol’ performed by Librarian Theatre at Pimlico Library recently. It was a truly professional show – costumes, lighting, props, sound effects – all in the children’s library!

Afternoon tea after the performance was an opportunity to socialise too. Thanks to all the library staff for their help.

“Lovely to see the children and their interaction with the actors.”

“I found the Tiny Tim scene very emotional!”

Calling all comic fans!

Free Comic Book Day 2016Save the date –
Saturday 7 May is
Free Comic Book Day

Across North America and around the world, comic shops will be giving away free comics. And Westminster Libraries are taking part, courtesy of the lovely folks at Forbidden Planet who are providing the comics.

You can collect yours from your local library (see list of participating libraries below). One title per customer, while stocks last – which won’t be long!

There is a Doctor Who title, a Superhero Girls title and selected libraries will also have Suicide Squad (suitable for teens and over only).

Doctor Who for Free Comic Book day 2016 DC Superhero Girls for Free Comic Book day 2016 Suicide Squad for Free Comic Book day 2016

“Free Comic Book Day is the perfect occasion for newcomers to comics as well as those who have been reading them for years to celebrate comics and discover new titles that debut on the first Saturday in May”
– Free Comic Book Day spokesperson Dan Manser

Why not check out the graphic novel collection while you are there and see what else your library has to offer?

[Rachel]


Participating libraries in Westminster:

Shelf help for teens

Fighting invisible tigers by Earl HippDuring the month of April people across London have been reading the same book about riot and civil unrest as part of Cityread London. The story, called Ten Days by Gillian Slovo, is based on events when bad stuff happened, someone died and people just boiled over – they couldn’t take any more.

Sometimes life gets confusing and that’s when people through the ages have turned to books. Writing them, reading them – Shakespeare had a lot to get out of his system, and he did it so well that we remember him 400 years later!

Here in libraries we’ve a got a brand new collection of books for young people between the ages of 13 and 18. The collection – called Shelf Help – was launched last week and they’re already flying off the shelves.

Shelf Help - Reading Well for Young People books

There are books about depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self harm, living with autism and more. They are really helpful and some are funny too – you’ve got to see the funny side sometimes. Some of the books are a bit like guides or reference books and some are fiction but based on real people and real lives. They’ve been chosen by young people with experience of mental health issues, and you can find them in your local library, browse the collection online or even have them recommended to you by your doctor.

No one can read minds, and teen life is full of tricky times, that’s why Shelf Help is there for you in libraries now.

[Kate]

April in Queen’s Park

The Riot by Laura WilsonApril is a busy month for readers, with Cityread and World Book Night offering lots of opportunities to share books.

Queen’s Park Library recently held events to celebrate both occasions, beginning with a talk by award-winning crime novelist and Guardian critic Laura Wilson.

Laura has written a range of contemporary and historical fiction, but this evening she focused on The Riot, set during the 1958 Notting Hill race riots and very much in keeping with this year’s Cityread theme of social unrest and disorder. Laura described her research into the riots and offered a fascinating glimpse into an area that has changed so much in recent years, before explaining why she chose to place her fictional detective, DI Stratton, in this setting. An audience of Laura Wilson fans and locals keen to find out more about the area’s history made for a very lively question and answer session following the talk.

Author Laura Wilson at Queen's Park Library, April 2016

Then on Saturday 16 April, local young people enjoyed an early World Book Night event and the chance to get a free copy of fantasy novel Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, one of this year’s WBN titles. The group voted on which film to watch from a choice of three, each based on a young adult fantasy novel. ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ was the clear winner and seemed a good choice – the audience was unusually quiet throughout and the film earned a round of applause at the end!

Clapper board / reels of filmWe run film events aimed at 11 -16 year olds quite regularly, and the great thing for the library is that they attract such a wide audience: boys as well as girls, book fans and more reluctant readers. We’d like to work with teenagers to develop future library events, so if any young people would like to get involved and boost their CVs in the process they should definitely get in touch!

[Lucy]

Take part in an online training session!

Books!Credo Reference has been a staple of Westminster’s 24/7 Library since the very beginning – before it even bore that name. Known in the past as ‘Xrefer’, it was originally a very limited collection of English reference books, all searchable online, and freely available on the web. It developed – slowly at first, gathering more titles and covering more ground, and was rechristened ‘Xrefer Plus’.

It began to charge a subscription to cover the cost of licensing content, and it was one of the first six of our ‘exclusive resources‘ – subscription sites which are available only to our registered members. From the start it was innovative and offered useful tools such as its Mind Map, which allows you to see and explore the interconnectedness of subjects, and its diverse array of tools, including an incredible crossword solver and a pronunciation guide. It boasted a Google-like search engine which made search results more precisely matched than its competitors, no matter how large the database became.

Years passed, it was taken over by an American company who continued to develop and expand the offering, and changed its name to Credo Reference Online. It is now international in scope, and features 1,120 books on subjects from Agriculture to Technology – all of them full text versions of published books, searchable through a common interface, and each one browse-able entry by entry.

Credo Reference

The sheer breadth and range of content makes the resource valuable to just about anybody, and its search capabilities continue to give it a competitive edge, but recently they have diversified again, adding content that appeals more to a younger demographic – particularly by adding a substantial package of lavishly illustrated Eyewitness titles from children’s information publisher Dorling Kindersley. Other appealing series for younger readers include the Handy Answers series, covering such curriculum topics as Art, Geography, History, Weather, Science, etc; the Teach Yourself collection (40 titles from Algebra to Understanding the Middle East); Visual Guides (5 titles presenting information in short video clips to impart an understanding of the Human Body, the Earth, the Universe, the Environment, and Plants); and Facts at Your Fingertips (16 titles on mainly scientific and technical topics)

In many ways, Credo is so much more than a collection of online reference books: it includes the huge collection of art images that is the Bridgeman Art Library; the Marquis Who’s Who in the World, and the Marquis Who’s Who in America from 1604 to date (complementing the OUP’s Who’s Who and Who Was Who in Britain); and the enormous Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide – an encyclopedia so big that it has never been printed!

Credo has become so complex and so multi-faceted over the years, that presenting it in its true colours has become something of a challenge to those of us who seek to make it appreciated by its target audience.

In an experimental move, the providers of this extraordinary resource will be offering an online presentation to students and parents in an effort to raise its profile and make it more familiar to them, as a resource that can help with school and homework. You can sign up for this session, which will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 20 January, at a family friendly 7.00pm, by emailing Credo at training@credoreference.com with the subject line “Register for 20/1/2016”.

As a reminder, Credo Reference, as with all of the exclusive resources in our 24/7 Library, can be accessed anywhere you have an Internet connection: there’s no password – all you need to enter is the barcode number from your library card.

[Michael]

Improbable in Church Street Library

In October 2015, Church Street Library invited local children and young people (aged 11-18) to get involved in a new theatre activity. Library staff worked with Improbable theatre company, running workshops in improvisation, puppetry and show devising during November and December. At the end of the project the group put on a performance in – and about – the library:

At the end of the project, we asked the participants what they thought, here’s a selection of their responses to two of the questions:

What was your favourite thing about being involved in the project?
“The reaction of the audience during and after the performance; different from other drama lessons.”
“My favourite thing was performing”
“It makes me feel happy”
“The reaction of the audience”
“Really enjoyed the sessions and loved performing the play”

What have you learned from being involved in the project?
“More confidence in improvising and performing and in myself”
“I learned to be creative”
“I have learnt that it’s not so scary to be loud and confident”
“More confidence in myself”

They also had a ‘feedback wall’ to find out what the audience thought on the night:

The last word goes to Debora, a member of staff at Church Street Library and the key link between the theatre company, the library and the young people taking part:

Church Street Library with Improbable - audience feedback December 2015“What made it really special was seeing the library coming to life through this diverse approach; the connection between the performance and the library space, its usage, facilities and most poignantly its background.

The performers took the audience through this informative yet imaginative journey – incentivising them to become potential future users of libraries.”

[Debora]

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

[Lucy]