Volunteer with us this summer

Looking for something to do this summer? We are looking for volunteers to help deliver the Summer Reading Challenge in our libraries. Young people (14 to 25 year olds) are especially welcome to apply to volunteer.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national reading initiative which encourages children to read for fun over the summer holidays.

The combination of fun, freedom, and creativity impacts significantly on children’s reading levels and confidence. Taking part in the challenge helps prevent the ‘summer reading dip’ which can occur when children are at home over the long summer break and, without reading opportunities, lose confidence in their reading.

We’ve had some fantastic volunteers, who’ve really helped make a difference and had some fun too. Here’s what a couple of them had to say –

If I had to sum up my volunteering as a Summer Reading Challenge Mentor, I would say the experience definitely made my summer! During the holidays, there’s a lot of time but not much to do. So what did I do? I took on the opportunity to be a Mentor and I loved it so much I volunteered at the same library again for 2 summers! Being a Reading Challenge Mentor is huge fun – you get to interact with young kids and really get a understanding of what books they enjoy. From science fiction to books about jam sandwiches (yes, there’s a book on that!), reading can be extremely exciting if you find the right book! I had a truly great time meeting with  young readers but also working alongside the friendliest staff around! The library staff are so welcoming and I truly enjoyed my volunteering . If you love reading and want to make a difference – this is the opportunity for you!

I had the pleasure of spending two summers in libraries around West London supporting the summer reading challenge. I loved interacting with all of the children and helping them to explore new genres and authors. Assisting with the planning and facilitation of arts and crafts sessions was definitely a highlight of mine. I also enjoyed helping to create in library displays to showcase the children’s work. I have always been passionate about helping children and young people. My work with the challenge inspired me to pursue a career within the education and charity sectors.  I would encourage anybody to take part in this programme, it was an amazing experience and has been an asset to my CV.

For more information or for an application form, email: Mandy.Charles@lbhf.gov.uk or ask for an application form at your local LBHF library.

Nick, Tri-borough Libraries Children’s Services Manager

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City of Stories – celebrating London’s writers and readers

We are very fortunate to be part of Spread the Word’s City of Stories project that invites Londoners to pick up their pens and create new stories. Spread the Word is London’s writer development agency.

To help these stories to be written, over 40 free writing workshops took place in libraries across the capital earlier this month. All were welcome to attend – whether they’d written stories already or were just starting out – and hundreds of people have got involved.

Nick Field

Writer and performer, Nick Field held two fully booked flash fiction writing workshops at Hammersmith Library. The sessions were very interactive, involving periods of writing along with lively discussions about what makes a good story.

Nick in action

All those who attended  have the opportunity to enter a competition run by Spread the Word. If their story wins, it will be published in the City of Stories booklet.

Another part of the City of Stories project, four London boroughs have their own writers-in-residence: Courttia Newland, Alex Wheatle, Bidisha and Irenosen Okojie. They were commissioned to write a short story inspired by their residency.

The stories have been made into beautiful films and celebrate different parts of London across different timelines; from the Dickensian era to modern-day, exploring – in intricate detail – the lives of everyday Londoners. Take a look –

David, Hammersmith Library

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Exploring other worlds with our children – it’s National Bookstart Week 2017

This week (Monday 5 to Sunday 11 June 2017), is National Bookstart Week and this year is an extra special celebration as Bookstart is 25 years old!

BookTrust, the organisation that administers the Bookstart programme, encourages children and families to read more. Over these 25 years, they have gifted more than 34 million books to children.

Bookstart currently gives free books and resources to every child in England and Wales, at two key ages before school, to help inspire a love of books and encourage shared reading.

This year’s special National Bookstart Week book is Ellie Sandall’s Everybunny Dance and many libraries will be reading this story and special rhymes to do with the great outdoors.  We have many copies of this book to give away.

Libraries are running special events to celebrate for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their families around this year’s theme, ‘Let’s Explore Outdoors!’

Tuesday 6, Thursday 8, and Friday 9 June, 10.30am to 11am at Hammersmith Library
Join us for our special under 5s sessions – and pick up a free book and set of rabbit ears!

10.30 – 11.00 am FREE

Wednesday 7 June, 10.30am to 11.30am at Fulham Library
We’ll be sharing our favourite rhymes and stories and you can also make some bunny ears to take home!

Don’t worry if you can’t make this session, we also run regular events for the under 5s every week across the borough.

It’s never too young to share a story or a rhyme with your young ones so come along have some fun and start or continue your child’s journey to a life of reading for pleasure. Sharing stories is of huge benefit to children, particularly when done from an early age.

Children who regularly have books shared with them benefit in lots of ways:

  • better emotional health
  • children develop longer attention spans and wider vocabularies
  • it builds their language skills
  • and in the long term helps them to be better readers and learners.

All this by sharing a book together for a few minutes each day. Just 10 minutes spent sharing a story with a child each day can have a lasting impact.

You can hear Lauren Laverne read Everybunny Dance on the Bookstart website.

Nick Fuller
Tri-borough Libraries Children’s Services Manager

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Dementia Awareness Week 2017


Hot on the winged heels of Mental Health Awareness week (thank you to all colleagues and partners who helped get that information out there) we are promoting Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 21 May 2017), an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, in our libraries.  There are so many myths around Dementia and that is why we recommend the Reading Well books on prescription dementia list. 


This is a varied carefully chosen collection consisting of evidenced and researched information books, alongside fascinating and moving personal histories. It also includes a children’s picture book to help younger readers understand beloved members of their families who have been diagnosed with one of 100 conditions that come under the umbrella of Dementia.  Check out the craft book for creative ways of engaging those living well with Dementia.  It is a helpful and uplifting collection.

DF logo

The second initiative I want tell you about is the Dementia Friends sessions happening this week which are run by a trained Dementia champion. They are relaxed and informative sessions engage that us in such a way that unhelpful fears and misinformation around the subject can be openly discussed and real facts and practical tips on creating Dementia friendly services and how to reach out and support those living well with Dementia come to light.

There is a Dementia Friends session at 1pm at Fulham Library, today Monday 15 May.  If you can’t make it today, there are two sessions later this week in Westminster’s libraries:

These sessions are open to everyone and I urge you to recommend them or even come along yourself.

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator

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Mental Health Awareness Week – Surviving or Thriving?

Read, learn and connect with us during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week –

Libraries’ positive contribution to the mental well-being of the population is well documented – see the Arts Council’s publication on ‘The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries.’

I say population and not just customers or residents as it has been said that living near a library and, indeed, just walking past a library has a positive effect on one’s emotional and mental well-being.

Of course we in libraries are keen to invite people to come through the doors and experience the well-being benefits first hand. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ which encourages us to look at our physical and mental well-being.

Some of our offers are more obviously health focused, our health information displays encourage us to feed our brains with the right food and suggest ways to be more active, as well as giving information on managing and living well with chronic

conditions. Poor physical health can be a drain on our mental and emotional strength and poor mental health can lead to inactivity, poor diet and so the cycle continues.

One way to break cycles of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours is cognitive behavioural therapy and in Hammersmith and Fulham there is a free psychological therapy called ‘Back on Track’.

In order to help people decide whether this service is for them or for support while waiting for a referral, or during, or after therapy, the libraries’ Reading Well Books on Prescription collections are recommended by GPs and health promotion specialists. A new collection put together to support those living with chronic conditions will be launched in July this year.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative is part of our Bibliotherapy offer. Our libraries host read aloud groups in partnership with The Reader Organisation. These facilitator led Read and Relax reading groups meet every week and give members the opportunity to join in reading aloud from good literature and discuss what has been read over a cup of tea or coffee or just sit back, listen and enjoy the company.

It is encouraging to look at how we in libraries contribute to what is called ‘the wider determinants of health’ All the things in our lives that support us, family, work, employment, housing, finances, education, lifelong learning, English classes, coffee mornings, knitting groups, activities for children and teenagers, employment advice, business information points for entrepreneurs old and young, all these available in libraries.

Libraries have always been inspirational and aspirational encouraging us to ask for more learning and knowledge and skills to create meaningful lives for ourselves and our families.

There are also some very good enjoyable fiction books available free to borrow hard copy or online! See our new book displays or see what eBooks and eMagazines we have. Did you know that reading for as little as six minutes can improve mental well-being?

See what you can do this Mental Health Awareness week to look after your own mental well-being, eat well, sleep well, go for a walk in one of our gorgeous parks and yes, visit your local library.

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator

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Dancing Books events

DanceWest logoDancing Books is an innovative project using children literature as an inspiration for creative dance classes for pre-school children and their families. Following a successful pilot project in April 2016, DanceWest in partnerships with Hammersmith and Fulham Council, won significant funding by the Arts Council England Libraries Fund to expand the programme and make Dancing Books available to more libraries in Hammersmith and Fulham.


The Dancing Books sessions are free, interactive, involving both children and carers, and are led by an experienced and talented team of DanceWest dance artists in the selected libraries.

Sessions start next week in three of our libraries –

Monday 24 April, 10.15 to 11am at Hammersmith Library

Thursday 27 April, 10.15 to 11am at Shepherds Bush Library

Friday 28 April, 10.15 to 11am at Fulham Library

Dancing Books sessions are free and no booking is required. It’s a popular programme so sessions will be first come, first served.


More information about further dates can be found on the LBHF Library events webpage.


DanceWest, based at the Lyric Hammersmith is the community dance organisation for West London. Their projects includes working with schools and communities and producing a programme of high quality dance events and performances across West London. For more information www.dancewest.co.uk

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4 March 1967

4 March 1967 might seem like a random date picked out of the air from 50 years ago. And QPR 3 WBA 2 to some might seem like a random list of letters and numbers. However, those who were at Wembley Stadium that day, or local people of a certain age, or avid Queens Park Rangers fans will know that on 4 March 1967 Queens Park Rangers beat West Bromwich Albion three goals to two to win the Football League Cup final.

Copy of the 1967 Cup Final programme

Copy of the 1967 Cup Final programme

At that time Rangers were flying high in the old Division 3 (equivalent to League 1 now) and West Bromwich Albion were mid table in Division 1 (equivalent to the Premier League now). West Brom had already won the League Cup the previous year.

It was a day after my birthday and I was at Wembley along with my dad, brother and my close friend as part of the 97,952 crowd to see this memorable match. By half time West Brom were two nil up and as Rangers were the underdogs. Most of us were expecting a complete whitewash. In fact my brother was already talking about going home. But when Rangers returned to the pitch for the second half amazingly they started attacking from the whistle. Winger Roger Morgan scored in the 63rd minute and local hero Rodney Marsh equalized in the 75th minute. He described that goal as ‘the defining goal of my career’. As the tension grew in the stadium Mark Lazarus scored the winning goal for Rangers in the 81st minute.

So Rangers had won their first major trophy and under manager Alec Stock then went on to top the 3rd Division that season. By coincidence they topped the league at the end of the 1967 season with 67 points. In three consecutive seasons they went from Division 3 to Division 1. It was the golden age of football in Shepherds Bush.

Some would say it was the most memorable day in the history of Queens Park Rangers but others younger and more cynical would say it’s very unusual for Rangers to win anything. In fact the game itself was unusual for many other reasons.

QPR. and WBA are the only two teams in the football league who routinely are recognized by their initials. It was the first time Rangers had ever played at Wembley and the first major tournament that they had ever played in. In fact Rangers were the first third division club to play at Wembley.

The 1967 League Cup Final was only the seventh League Cup competition; the six previous finals had been played mid-week over two legs.  It was the first to be played at Wembley and the first final to be played on a Saturday. And Rangers made history by becoming the first 3rd division side to win the League Cup.

DVD from Peter Trott's collection

DVD from Peter Trott’s collection

In the previous two-leg 1966 final ex Ranger’s player Clive Clark played and scored to help West Brom beat West Ham 5 – 3 on aggregate. In the 1967 final it was Clive Clark who scored both first half goals for West Brom. Incidentally, Clive Clark lodged in Thorpebank Road whilst playing for Rangers in the late fifties.

The amazing second half comeback by Rangers saw Roger Morgan, Rodney Marsh and Mark Lazarus score for Rangers and Captain Mike Keen lifted the cup.  Strangely out of the team of 11 players only these four players had a name beginning with the letter M.

The winning team consisted of Springett (goalkeeper), Hazell, Langley, Keen (captain), Hunt, Sibley, Lazarus, Sanderson, Allen, Marsh and Morgan. Goalkeeper Peter Springett played for Rangers from 1962 to 1967 and his brother Ron, also a goalkeeper, played for Rangers from 1955 to 1958 and from 1967 to 1969. Ron Springett later went on to open a sports shop in the Uxbridge Road.

The Springett brothers both being goalkeepers never played in the same team together. In fact there are very few brothers that have ever actually played together and even fewer twin brothers. Twins Roger and Ian Morgan were wingers who regularly played together in the Rangers team. Roger actually played in the final but Ian was the substitute that day.

For the final Rangers played in an all-white strip whilst West Brom played in their regular away strip of red. They had used the red away strip since the late 1950s but after their defeat in 1967 changed to an all-white strip. By a strange coincidence in the 1968 final Leeds who wore an all-white strip beat Arsenal who wore red tops.

Replica of the League Cup photographed during a visit to the Rangers stadium in 2015

Replica of the League Cup photographed during a visit to the Rangers stadium in 2015

When Rangers won the cup it caused a problem for the Football Association. Previous winners qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but the competition rules stated that the winning team must come from the highest tier of that country’s league. So Rangers were not allowed to play and Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Liverpool qualified for the following season’s Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

I mentioned earlier that Clive Clark once lodged in Thorpebank Road. In the late 1950s and early 1960s many Rangers players lodged in Shepherds Bush. My own parents took in Rangers lodgers (read about my memories).

In 2014 The Octavia Foundation in partnership with QPR in the Community Trust were putting together a documentary on the story of Queens Park Rangers. I gave them an oral history of my memories of Shepherds Bush and living in a house with Rangers players. I also lent items for a small exhibition at the stadium. As a result of that I was invited to the premiere of R’STORY that took place at Westfield in 2015. At the after party I was honoured to speak to Mark Lazarus and shake the hand of the man that I saw score the winning goal at Wembley all those years ago.

Copy of the DVD given to Peter Trott by The Octavia Foundation and QPR in the Community Trust

Copy of the DVD given to Peter Trott by The Octavia Foundation and QPR in the Community Trust

P.S. As a very quirky coincidence West Brom’s goalkeeper that day was Dick Sheppard and ‘Sheppard’ is the earliest known reference to Shepherds Bush i.e. Sheppards Bush Green (1635).

[Peter Trott, Local Studies volunteer]

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