Events at Westminster libraries

Westminster libraries host many events and workshops which differ in each library. View all special events by date in the upcoming events section or browse through the guide to find events at your local library, including regulars such as book groups and rhyme time sessions. Westminster City Archives also holds regular events.

Follow us on social media for updates and news, or follow our blog, Books and the City, to read the stories behind our events and activities.

View opening times and contact details for all Westminster libraries. Find out about holiday and other closure dates.

1. Upcoming events

Ongoing events, news and exhibitions

Special events and news

2. Charing Cross Library

View Charing Cross library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Charing Cross Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

'Not the National Portrait Gallery' exhibition

Monday 10 to Sunday 23 September.

This is an exhibition of original cartoons, caricatures and comics by the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation.

Free entry, contact Charing Cross Library before visiting to check the exhibition's opening times. 

Caricature workshop with Helen Pointer

Sunday 16 September, 2pm to 4pm.

Learn how to draw cartoons and caricatures of your favourite celebrities, family and friends. This free workshop open to young adults and not so young. Contact Charing Cross Library to book your place.

Panel talk on the art, craft and mischief of caricature and cartoon

Monday 17 September, 6pm to 8pm.

A panel talk hosted by The Guardian's political cartoonist, Martin Rowson. His genre is political satire and his style is scathing and graphic and he characterises his work as 'visual journalism'. With special guest speakers: Andy Davey, Rebecca Hendin, John Roberts and Christ Burke, cartoonists, caricaturist, illustrators and visualizers.

This event is free, contact Charing Cross Library to book your place as numbers are limited. 

Regular events for children and young people

Regular children's events run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Songs and rhymes for under 5s Tuesday, 10.30am to 11.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Play Cantonese Second and fourth Wednesday of every month, 10.30am to 11.30am An under 5s baby and toddler group with stories and songs in Cantonese
Cantonese and Mandarin lessons Saturday, 10.30am to 2pm and Sunday, 11am to 5pm Suitable for children aged 3 to 17 years old. For more information, prices and to book contact Miss Chan on 07886 575 467
Chinese parent and child group Monthly on Sunday For more information contact Dr Lingjie Wang by email
lingjiewang@hotmail.com

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date  Information
Healthy lifestyle checks Monday, 12pm to 2.30pm Free health checks by the Westminster Health Improvement Team. No need to book a place, just turn up
 
Learn Mandarin Monday, 6pm to 7.30pm Contact Charing Cross Library for more information and to confirm dates
Action on Hearing Loss drop-in session Monthly on Tuesday, 11am to 2pm Free one to one sessions with the largest charity in the UK for people with hearing loss. Share your concerns and hearing loss checks are available. Next dates: Tuesday 14 August, Tuesday 11 September and Tuesday 9 October 2018.
Traditional Chinese painting classes 

Tuesday, 11am to 4pm (with a break for lunch)

Saturday, 11am to 1pm

Five classes of traditional Chinese landscape painting starting Tuesday 6 March 2018.

Ten classes of traditional Chinese painting of flowers and birds starting Saturday 3 March 2018.

For more information about fees, email info@orientalgallery.co.uk or phone 07956 227 997

Beautiful Life Chinese reading group Monthly on Friday For more information contact the group's organiser by email yoyochen082010@gmail.com
Painting workshops by London Mandarin Arts Saturday and Sunday afternoons Art classes for people with no previous experience; you will be to complete a picture in an afternoon. For more information, contact London Mandarin Arts
Chinese London Reading Club Monthly This is a lively and friendly Chinese language group which meets once a month for reading discussions. For more information contact the organiser, Ms Bai by email aihaoshu@gmail.com

 

3. Church Street Library

View Church Street library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Church Street Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

2 day songwriting course

  • Thursday 30 August, 2pm to 5pm.
  • Friday 31 August, 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

Are you an aspiring rapper, MC, singer or songwriter? Come along to our 2 day songwriting course with poet and rapper, Reveal and producer, Anton 'Nutty P' Flanders. This is an excellent opportunity to collaborate and turn your creative ideas into a recorded track.

Free course for young adults aged 12 to 15. Limited places are available. To book contact Church Street Library

Safety in the home

Tuesday 4 September, 5 to 6pm.

Advice and information session to avoid accidents in the home.

This is a free event and limited places are available. To book contact Church Street Library

An evening of magic

Tuesday 11 September, 5 to 6pm.

Join magician, David Hewitt for an evening of magic. This show is for adults.

This is a free event and limited places are available. To book contact Church Street Library

Small Change Big Difference food campaign workshop

Thursday 27 September, 4.30pm to 6pm.

Are you passionate about food and the environment? Do you want to help make a difference to the planet? Then join the Small Change Big Difference food campaign for London and explore simple solutions for eating well, wasting less and recycling the rest.

This free workshop will be full of tips and tricks on making the most of your food. To book contact Church Street Library

Regular events for children and young people

Regular children's events run during term time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Story time Tuesday, 4.10pm to 4.45pm Storytelling and a craft activity; suitable for children aged 2 to 6.
French club  Every other Tuesday and Wednesday, 4.30pm to 5.15pm Free for 6 to 8 year olds. Games, songs and activities within a small group with a qualified and experienced native French teacher. Booking essential.
Read to me  Every Wednesday, 3.45pm to 5.15pm Volunteers are available to listen to your child read during 15 minute sessions. Suitable for children aged 6 to 9 to years old. Contact Church Street Library to sign up. 
Homework club Thursday, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Scratch computer coding club Saturday, 12.30pm to 1.30pm A fun club for kids aged 8 to 11. Learn to use code to make games, visuals and programmes. Booking is essential, contact Church Street Library

Regular events for adults

For any of these sessions other than the CV and employment drop-in and IT drop-in sessions (all on Mondays), speak to staff beforehand.

Event Time and date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Look on the health events page for details.
English speaking club for men and women Monday, 11.30am to 1.30pm, and Wednesday, 12pm to 1.30pm Improve your spoken English, as well as reading and writing with this free club. For more information ask in the library or contact Mahbuba Khan on 020 7641 5474.
IT drop in sessions Monday, 1.30pm to 5pm and Friday, 2pm to 5pm Help with using Word, Excel, email, the internet and completing online forms. We can also help with how to write a CV and search for jobs.
Shared reading group Tuesday, 12pm to 1pm

Find out more on the book groups website

Advice plus session Wednesday, 10.30am to 12.30pm (not held in August)

Drop in sessions for help and advice on housing, benefits, and council tax. Doors open at 10am and available slots are allocated on a first come, first serve basis. 

Free health MOTs for residents Friday, 1pm to 4.30pm Book an appointment or drop in. Call Fabio on 020 7563 6217 or fabio.feca@clch.nhs.uk.
Bengali women's reading and writing group Friday, 9.30am to 11.30am Contact Mahbuba Khan on 020 7641 5474 or visit the reading groups page.
Reading group Meets monthly on Friday Find out more on the book groups website.
Knitting group Saturday, 10.30am to 12pm All experience levels are welcome.
IT, ESOL and other courses Regular courses throughout the year For a wide range of courses, contact Westminster Adult Education Service on 020 7297 7297 or see waes.ac.uk.

4. Maida Vale Library

View Maida Vale library contact details and opening hours

The new public lift at Maida Vale Library is now in service; the library can now be accessed via Shirland Road as well as Sutherland Avenue.

Special events and news

Maida Vale Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

Art workshop with the Wallace Collection

Thursday 16 August, 11am to 12.30pm.

Join the Wallace Collection to create your very own mischief maker, inspired by the museum’s paintings and objects.

Free event that is suitable for children over the age of 5. No need to book, just turn up.

Learn and play

Wednesday 22 August, 2pm to 3.30pm.

Create lasting memories with this photo frame collage activity, with the help our conservator from our Archives Centre.

Free event that is suitable for children over the age of 5. No need to book, just turn up.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular children's events run during term time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Homework club Tuesday and Friday, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Sessions for under 5s Tuesday and Friday, 10.30am; third Saturday of the month, 11am to 11.30am. Runs during the year, with a break for Christmas/New Year. These sessions will start again from Friday 5 January 2018. Read more about sessions for under 5s

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Careers advice sessions Every Monday, 10am to 4pm

Get free advice on writing a CV, job search techniques and interview preparation. These sessions are run by the National Careers Service. To arrange an appointment call 020 3714 8350 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm) or 0800 100 900 (every day 8am to 10pm).

Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events

Meet your local police officers

One Monday per month, 4pm to 5pm

2 Saturdays per month, 1pm to 2pm

Upcoming sessions:

Saturday 7 July, 1pm to 2pm.

Saturday 21 July, 1pm to 2pm.

Monday 6 August, 4pm to 5pm.

Saturday 11 August, 1pm to 2pm.

Saturday 25 August, 1pm to 2pm.

No need to book, just turn up

Share a Book group Wednesday, 10.30am to 12pm Read more about reading groups
Reading group Thursday evenings, once a month Read more about reading groups

5. Marylebone Library

View Marylebone library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Marylebone Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

Summer Reading Challenge party

Thursday 23 August, 10.30am to midday.

Special party for children of all ages who have participated in this year's Summer Reading Challenge. Not had a chance to join in? Don't worry, you can sign up on the day.

Regular events for children

Regular events for children are run during term time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Tiny tots Tuesday,10.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Board games club Last Wednesday of the month, 4pm A fun club for children age 5 to 10.
Storytime for under 5s Friday, 3.45pm Read more about sessions for under 5s
Saturday morning crafts Saturday, 10.30am to 12pm Make something new every week!

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Writers' group Monday, 6.45pm to 7.45pm Read more about the Marylebone Writers' Group
Reading group Monthly on a Tuesday Read more about reading groups

6. Mayfair Library

View Mayfair library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Mayfair Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Under 5s sessions Tuesday, 10.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Tuesday, 3.45pm to 5pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Reading group Monthly on a Tuesday

Read more about reading groups

Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events

7. Paddington Library

View Paddington library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Paddington Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children are run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Homework club Monday and Friday, 3.30pm to 5.15pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Baby rhyme time Wednesday, 10.30am to 11.30am Songs and rhymes followed by baby play time. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Toddler toy time Friday, 10.30am to 11.30am A chance for parents and carers of toddlers aged one and above to meet, mingle and make new friends. With toys and colouring to keep your toddlers entertained.
Lego club First Saturday of the month, 2.30pm to 3.30pm Club for 5 to 12 year olds. Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.

Regular events for adults

Event Time/date Information
"Share a book" group Monday, 2pm to 4pm and Thursday, 6pm to 8pm Read more about reading groups. Pass on your contact details to a member of staff or email kgielgud@westminster.gov.uk to register your interest in joining.
CV help session Tuesday, 10am to 5pm These sessions are run by the   National Careers Service. To arrange an appointment, call 020 3714 8350 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm) or 0800 100 900 (every day 8am to 10pm).
Seniors online IT class Tuesday, 1pm to 3pm Open Age run both a beginners and intermediate course. To book a place on either course, contact Paddington Library.
Improve your English, improve your health course Tuesday, 2pm to 4.30pm until Tuesday 13 March This is run by Open Age. For more information, speak to a member of library staff. To book a place, call Maude on 020 8962 5590, or Russell on 020 8962 5583, or email mail@openage.org.uk
Stop smoking Wednesday, 2.30pm to 5.30pm Kick It Stop Smoking specialists offer carbon monoxide testing and free one-to-one sessions for advice and support in giving up smoking.
Readers' group Third Wednesday of the month, 6.30pm to 8pm Read more about reading groups. Contact Paddington Library to confirm the date of the meeting as it may vary.
Community health event Last Thursday of the month, 12.30pm to 3.30pm Please see publicity in the library for further details.
Go online - beginners' IT training Friday, 2pm to 4pm Contact Paddington Library for more information.
Knitting and crochet group Second and fourth Fridays of the month, 5pm to 7pm This group is for absolute beginners and those that would like to improve their knitting or crochet skills.
Free health checks Saturday 10am to 3pm Do you live in or are you registered with a GP in Westminster? Get a free 30 minute healthy lifestyle check and set your new health improvement goals. Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and health promotion advice. Just turn up, or book an appointment by calling 020 7563 6217 or emailing hpgroup@clch.nhs.uk
English conversation group Saturday, 10.30am to 12.30pm This weekly group will start on Saturday 10 February. For more information, speak to library staff or call Mahbuba on 020 7641 5474.

8. Pimlico Library

View Pimlico library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Pimlico Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

How to survive, compete and thrive in a digital age

This event has now been postponed; a new date will be arranged soon.

David Taylor of DNAsix will tell us how to navigate today’s digital marketplace using a combination of social media, innovation and old-fashioned business skills. 

David will be talking about how you can take advantage of the new digital landscape, reach out to today’s tech-savvy customers and ultimately future-proof your business. You’ll learn about maximising your profits, reaching new and younger audiences, building your brand and reducing your costs.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place in term time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Wiggle and jiggle Monday, 10am to 11am Music and movement for toddlers between 12 to 30 months. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Stories, rhymes and crafts Tuesday, 10.30am to 11.30am Stories and rhymes for under 5s. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Baby bounce and rhyme Wednesday, 10am to 11am Knee-bouncing songs for babies between 3 to 12 months. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Lego Club Monthly on Saturdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Club for 5 to 11 year olds. Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
CV Advice Tuesday from 10am to 4pm

One to one sessions with a National Careers Service advisor.

Contact the NCS directly to book your place (places cannot be booked through the library) by emailing ncsbookings@prospects.co.uk. Call 0800 100900 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Reading group Last Tuesday of the month Read more about reading groups
English conversation club with Rotary London Saturday, 10am to 12pm during term time Are you interested in improving your practical English conversation? Join for free, no booking required. Some sessions may be cancelled occasionally, so confirm with the library beforehand.

9. Queen's Park Library

View Queen's Park library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Queen's Park Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

How healthy are you?

Thursday 23 August, 1pm to 3pm.

Kick It Stop Smoking Service and Healthy Hearts are offering free health assessments for our residents. These include:

  • lung age
  • blood pressure check
  • body mass index assessment
  • stop smoking support
  • healthy lifestyle advice

No need to book a place, just turn up.

Assisting people who haven’t been working for a while

Tuesdays, 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

Are you over 19, unemployed or on JSA? Interested in exploring your options for training or employment? Find out more with our Employment Advisor, who can help with creating a CV, training opportunities and more.

Drop in or make an appointment by calling Shah Alam on 020 7266 8254.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place during term time only, unless otherwise stated. Children can join these after-school clubs with a registration form signed by a parent or guardian - fill in one form and attend any after-school clubs.

Event Time and date Information
Rhyme time for under 5s Monday and Friday, 10.30am to 11.30am (except school holidays) Read more about sessions for under 5s
Code Club Wednesdays during term time, 4pm to 5pm A fun club for kids age 9 to 11. Learn to use code to make animations, games and more. Free, but booking is essential - contact Queen's Park library for more information.
Lego club Friday during term time, 4pm to 5 pm A fun club for kids age 5 to 11. Bring your imagination, make Lego creations and new friends. No need to book, just turn up.
 

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Healthy Westminster  Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Creative writing group Second Monday of the month, 6pm to 7.30pm

Read more about the Queen's Park creative writing group

The next meeting will be on Monday 13 August 2018.

Reading group Third Monday of the month Read more about reading groups
Meet your local police officers Every Thursday, 1pm to 2pm The  Queen's Park Safer Neighbourhood Team are available for customers to drop in and raise concerns on local crime and discuss home or personal safety issues.
Jewellery making class Every Thursday, 3.30pm to 5.30pm Free class where you can learn how to make bracelets, necklaces and more from wire and beads. Bring your own beads or you can buy some from the class teacher for £2. No need to book, just turn up. Beginners welcome. The date of the next class is: Thursday 13 September 2018.

10. St John's Wood Library

View St John's Wood library contact details and opening hours

The lift at St John's Wood Library is currently out of action, we are hoping it will be fixed in the next few weeks. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Special events

St John's Wood Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

Summer health advice

Thursday 16 August, midday to 2pm.

he Westminster Health Improvement Team can help answer your questions about vitamin D, healthy eating and keeping cool. There will be free blood pressure checks too.

Free and no need to book, just turn up.

Learn and play

Tuesday 21 August, 2pm to 3.30pm.

Create lasting memories with this photo frame collage activity, with the help our conservator from our Archives Centre.

Free event that is suitable for children over the age of 5. No need to book, just turn up.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children are held in term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Storytime Monday, 4pm to 4.30pm Magical journeys into a world of fantasy, adventure and fun!
Code club Tuesday, 4pm to 5pm. Booking required. Teaching children programming by making computer games, animations and websites, following the program at Code Studio. Offering great support and fun for all ages.
Songs and rhymes for under 5s Tuesday, 10.15am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Wednesday, 3.30pm to 4.30pm (just come along) Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Japanese rhyme time for the under 5s Third Thursday of the month, 11.30am to 12pm Read more about sessions for under 5s
Chess club Thursday, 4pm to 5pm Booking required
Maths club Friday, 4pm to 5pm Booking required
Saturday morning crafts Saturday, 10.30am to 12pm Make something new every week!

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Family history group Third Monday of the month, 11am to 12pm Free monthly meeting with refreshments. No need to book, just turn up. If you would like to look at something in particular, contact St John's Wood Library
Crime readers group Third Tuesday of the month Read more about reading groups
CityWest Homes drop in surgery Wednesday, 10am to 12pm Advice for tenants and lessees
IT drop-in session Wednesday 2pm to 4pm Delivered by WAES, jointly funded by the councillors for Abbey Road and Regent's Park wards. You must be a resident of these wards to attend and you will be asked to record what you have learned each week. Sessions are free; no booking is required, but places are given on a first come, first served basis.
Book club First Wednesday of the month Read more about our book clubs
Chair yoga Fridays, 10.30am to 11.30am  
Laptop, tablet and iPad surgery First Saturday of the month, 10am to 12pm Drop in session. Get some help with your portable IT problems and woes. This session is free and there is no need to book.

11. Victoria Library

View Victoria library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Victoria Library will be holding special events for children of all ages during the school holidays, pop in to collect a special Summer Reading Challenge events programme and find out how to join in.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place during term time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Under 5s Thursday, 10.30am to 11.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Italian story, play and rhyme time Friday, 11am to 12pm. Weekly playgroup for children under the age of 4 - with stories and rhymes in Italian. £3 donation per session. No need to book, just come along.

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Salsa Monday, 11am to 12.30pm

Upcoming sessions:

Monday 9 July 2018

Monday 16 July 2018

Monday 23 July 2018

Monday 30 July 2018

For more information and to book a free place, call or text Roxy on 07483 172 128

Women's only exercise session Monday, 10.30am to 12.30pm

A mixture of tai chi and yoga. For more information and to book a free place, call or text Roxy on 07483 172 128

This group will next meet on Monday 10 September 2018.

Writers' group First Monday of the month, 6pm to 7.15pm Read more about the Victoria writers' group
Book gluttons reading group Third Monday of the month, 6pm to 7pm Read more about reading groups
Housing advice Tuesday, 2pm to 5pm Free sessions from Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity. Get advice for any housing-related query you may have. Slots are allocated on a first come first served basis, speak to a member of library when you arrive.
Book group Thursdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm Read more about reading groups
Reading group Last Thursday of the month, 6pm to 7pm Read more about reading groups

12. Westminster Music Library

View Westminster Music Library contact details and opening hours

Due to events taking place, Westminster Music Library will close at 5pm on Wednesday 22 August and 3pm on Tuesday 28 August.

Special events and news

The Treasury of Musick

Wednesday 22 August, 6pm to 7pm.

With Daniel Thomson, tenor and Harry Buckoke, viola da gamba.

Inspired by Westminster Music Library’s collection, Daniel Thomson and Harry Buckoke explore publications spanning the 17th Century. Using the intimate combination of voice and viola da gamba, they take us on a journey of English domestic and salon music.

Free event and refreshments will be available. To book a place, contact Westminster Music Library

This event will take place on the first floor and access is only available by stairs.

Rhythm for life drumming workshops

Tuesday 28 August, 4pm to 5.30pm.

Tuesday 25 September, 4pm to 5.30pm.

We are pleased to announce the return of our drumming workshops. Due to their popularity, participants are limited to attending only one session.

Rhythmical activities such as drumming can have a positive impact on health. It can help regulate emotions, reduce anxiety and stress levels, whilst increasing a sense of connection and well-being. Workshop leader, Ruairi Glasheen will explore how the drum allows everyone regardless of age or ability to explore rhythms and to have fun.

Join us to make some noise and release some stress.

No experience is necessary and drums will be provided. Workshops are free, to book your place contact Westminster Music Library

This event will take place on the first floor and access is only available by stairs.

Learn to beatbox through code

Saturday 8 September, 11.30am to 12.30pm.

Ever wondered how the human mouth can imitate electronic music, or how a traditional musician might be able to understand the mechanics of beatbox?

Join this free introductory workshop led by London-based composer and computer science teacher Nicola Jane Buttigieg, explaining a new approach to the basics of coded rhythm and phonetics. Further your skills by having a turn performing some accompanying beat sequences to familiar contemporary tunes.

This workshop is suitable for vocal musicians and teachers interested in this developing genre.

To book your place, email: beatboxcodeworkshops@gmail.com

This event will take place on the ground floor of Victoria Library

Read about previous events on Books and the City

13. Westminster Reference Library

View Westminster Reference Library contact details and opening hours

There is no wheelchair, lift or ramp access to this building.

Special events

Summer health advice

Thursday 30 August, 12pm to 2pm.

The Westminster Health Improvement Team can help answer your questions about vitamin D, healthy eating and keeping cool. There will be free blood pressure checks too.

Free and no need to book, just turn up.

Astronomy Month

September is Astronomy Month at Westminster Reference Library. This year we became the first UK library to lend out telescopes thanks to funding from the Science & Technology Facilities Council. Join us to celebrate the launch of this new project. Interested to get more involved? Read about how you can Borrow a telescope from us.

The Sun, our star - by Dr Helen Mason

Tuesday 4 September, 6pm to 7pm.

The Sun, our star is now in a quiet phase of its eleven year activity cycle. This talk, by Dr Helen Mason OBE, will review what we have learnt about our dynamic sun, in particular what we know and don't yet know about sunspots, solar active regions and flares, and how the Sun affects the Earth's environment.

Dr Helen Mason is solar scientist at the University of Cambridge. Her field of research is solar physics, in particular the ultraviolet and x-ray spectrum of the Sun. She has worked on many joint UK, NASA, ESA and Japanese space projects including Skylab, the Solar Maximum Mission, Yohkoh, SoHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory), Hinode, SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) and IRIS.

This is a free event, book your place via Eventbrite  

Salon No. 57: London Astronomers

Thursday 6 September, 6.30pm to 8pm.

To celebrate Astronomy Month, Rebekah Higgitt and Rob Iliffe join us to chart the stellar lives of 2 of the greatest astronomers of all time, both of whom practiced their craft in London.

Tickets cost £9.50 standard, £7 concession in advance only. Visit Antique Beat to book.

Subterranean city – beneath the streets of London

Friday 7 September, 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Author Antony Clayton returns with an illustrated talk about the inverted city beneath our streets. This subterranean world includes lost rivers, utility subways, ‘ghost’ underground stations and government bunkers and tunnels. 

The talk will also uncover some of the colourful folklore of underground London and explore legends of secret passages and tunnels. 
Antony is the author of 'Subterranean city: beneath the streets of London', 'The folklore of London' and 'Secret tunnels of England: folklore and fact'.

Book a free place via Eventbrite

First aid workshop

Wednesday 12 September, 2pm to 4pm.

Would you know what to do in an emergency? This workshop from the British Red Cross is designed to give you a few simple but highly effective first aid skills that will help someone that is ill or injured. The workshop is designed to build upon your existing knowledge and instincts and will give you more confidence to help in a crisis.

Free event and places are limited so book your place as soon as possible via Evenbrite

An introduction to astrophotography with a DSLR camera

Wednesday 12 September, 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Ever wanted to take photographs of the stars? Martin Howe, a keen astrophotographer and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, will introduce you to the concepts and techniques required for you to take your own images of the night sky using a digital single-lens reflex camera. The discussion will cover getting the most from your DSLR’s settings, and what can be achieved, from just a simple camera tripod, through to using a DSLR camera in conjunction with a telescope such as those that are available to borrow from us.

This is a free event but places are very limited so booking in advance is essential. Book your place via Eventbrite

Your guide to beatbox code notation

Saturday 15 September, 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

London composer and computer science teacher, Nicola Jane Buttigieg presents an illustrated talk with demonstrations, on a new approach to notating beatbox vocal percussion in line with traditional notation. Within the age of tonal music, traditional staff notation is the standard for reading and writing vocal and instrumental music.

This seminar-workshop investigates beatbox code notation's  extended potential to more accurately represent today's infinite number of electronically produced timbre manipulations using integrated, programmable code, able to be performed at sight or inputted into computer systems alike.

Book a free place via Eventbrite

Telescope and sky: astronomy workshop

Tuesday 18 September, 7pm to 9.30pm.

Explore the cosmos at the very site of Sir Isaac Newton's London home and observatory. A special and unique opportunity for discovering the universe by learning how to use a telescope and how to navigate the night skies with the direction and aid of a professional astronomer. Nicholas Joannou from the Royal Astronomical Society. We will walk you through the whole processes of setting up and using a telescope, opening up the cosmos for you to explore. Following the workshop if weather permits we will be holding a sky viewing session where we hope to see the Moon, Mars and Saturn.

This is a free event but places are very limited so booking in advance is essential. Book your place via Eventbrite

Creative writing workshop: starting out

Wednesday 19 September, 6pm to 7.45pm.

Dive into creative writing at this workshop with novelist and writing teacher, Joy Rhoades. Suitable for those wanting to learn about creative writing, and for those who’ve been writing for longer, this inspiring workshop will cover techniques to help you release your inner creativity. You’ll take part in practical exercises that will help you get started on the path to regular, satisfying creative writing. You will also receive informal feedback in an inclusive and supportive group environment.

This is a free event but places are very limited so booking in advance is essential. Book your place via Eventbrite

King Con – author talk by Paul Willetts

Friday 21 September, 6pm to 8pm.

Paul Willetts, author of Members Only, will be in conversation with Marc Glendening of the Sohemian Society. They’ll be talking about King Con, Paul’s latest work of non-fiction, which follows the bizarre escapades of the Jazz Age American singing star and imposter, Edgar Laplante.

Laplante, could be described as a hybrid of Tom Ripley and Jay Gatsby, plus more than a touch of David Bowie’s sexual ambiguity and shape-shifting theatricality. Having reinvented himself as Chief White Elk, leader of the Canadian Cherokee, he travelled to London in 1922 for an audience with King George V. And, from that point onwards, his life becomes stranger and stranger.

Book your free place via Eventbrite

Women and the stars – by Dr Helen Klus

Monday 24 September, 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Women have studied the stars for the whole of human history, and yet their stories are not often told. In Women and the Stars, Dr Helen Klus from the Royal Astronomical Society shows how women have shaped our understanding of the universe. From painting prehistoric star maps on the walls of caves, to discovering dark matter in the Galaxy, to commanding space shuttles and waking in space. At the same time, these women have faced tremendous prejudice.

Dr Klus looks at how this history has led to the current climate for women in astronomy, including media representation and the effect of the #MeToo movement, and discusses why diversity is better for everyone.

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Victorian and Edwardian theatricality

Wednesday 26 September, 10.30am to 5pm.

The George Edwards Musical Comedy Society invites you to attend a day devoted to Victorian and Edwardian theatricality. The day will feature illustrated presentations devoted to the work of lmre Kiralfy, the creator of spectacular exhibitions at Olympia, Earl's Court and the White City. It will also feature a concert version of the 1909 Gaiety Theatre musical Our Miss Gibbs which was based on some events which took place in 1908 at the White City.

The programme for the day will be:

  • 10.30am to 11.30am: an illustrated talk by Vincent Daniels featuring the spectacular exhibitions which lmre Kiralfysu ccessfully undertook from the 1890s to the early 1900s in London at Olympia and Earl's Court.
  • 11.30am to midday: break
  • Midday to 1pm:  a presentation by Ken Reeves featuring illustrations and music to highlight the accomplishments of lmre Kiralfy with his 1908 Franco-British exhibition at the White City as a prelude to the accomplishments of the Gaiety Theatre with its presentation of Our Miss Gibbs in 1909.
  • 1pm to 2pm: lunch break (please bring your own lunch or eat nearby)
  • 2pm to 5pm: a concert version of Our Miss Gibbs in a fully scripted and fully sung presentation with six specialist singers. There will be a break between the two acts of the musical.

This is a free event, but there is a suggested donation of £5 per person.

Book your place via Eventbrite

Regular events

Event Time and date Information
ESOL classes in grammar and conversation Monday, 4pm to 5pm, 5pm to 6pm Free but class size is limited so please book your place by contacting the library.
Housing, welfare benefits and debt drop-in sessions Every fortnight on Tuesday

Free 30cminute sessions from Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity. Get advice and, if necessary, further appointments for follow-up work. 

Bookings can only be made in person on the day at 1.15pm, for a maximum of 6 people so slots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Computer training - one-to-one introductions to basic computer and internet skills Wednesday, 10.30am to 12.30pm Speak to staff to book your free 30-minute session on using email, booking tickets or shopping online, completing forms and applications online, using the online library and Westminster libraries' online resources, using Microsoft Office, and using smartphones, kindles and tablets.
Social group for adults who live in Westminster with Asperger syndrome First Thursday of the month, 5pm to 7pm For further information email assistlondon@nas.org.uk  or call 020 8962 3015.
Salon for the City: London at the library Last Thursday of the month, 6.30pm to 8.30pm Event series taking a look at London through a different lens each month. For more information, visit the Salon for the City website.

14. Exhibitions

All of the following exhibitions are held at the Westminster Reference Library. 

View library contact details and opening hours

About Venice by Duart Bel Silva

Thursday 16 August to Saturday 1 September 2018.

An exhibition of recent work by Duart Bel Silva. The artist's intention is to develop a painted object that will communicate a visual equivalence of the initial sensation. To recreate it as a pictorial reality.

Also exhibited are smaller works, relating to the wild fires in Portugal 2017, and a series of linear abstractions called Small Sounds.

Developing the painted object by Duart Bel Silva

Thursday 23 August, 6pm to 7.30pm.

As part of his second solo London exhibition,  Duart Bel Silva will be discussing his work, the techniques used and the intentions behind the process. His use of colour and texture is key to the effects he produces and he will be discussing the techniques involved; how a painting begins, progresses and develops.

The talk will conclude with a question and answer session, providing you with the opportunity to quiz the artist.

This is a free event, book your place via Eventbrite.

Architectural Reflections by Debbie Ayles

Monday 3 to Saturday 8 September 2018.

An exhibition of paintings by artist Debbie Ayles that explores London above and below ground.

Meet Debbie Ayles

Monday 3 September, midday to 4pm and 5pm to 8pm.

If you would like to meet Debbie Ayles, come along to discuss her exhibition, talk about how she works and she will answer your questions.

Free and no need to book, just turn up.

It’s Growing, an exhibition by Alexandra Darbyshire

Monday 10 to Saturday 22 September 2018. 

Alexandra Darbyshire’s recent work is a chaotic salon style clustering of her small to medium-small sized encrusted oil paintings. The paintings are from her ongoing series "It fell from Earth". In the past year, Alexandra has been experimenting with paint-imprinted patterns with bubble wrap, and other repetitively patterned plastic materials. 

Biography Alexandra Darbyshire studied painting at OCAD University in Toronto, the National Academy School of Fine Arts in New York, and she recently completed the correspondence programme at Turps Art School in London.

Modern Myths - art works by Guillem Ramos-Poquí

Tuesday 25 September to Friday 12 October 2018.

Guillem Ramos-Poquí grew up in Barcelona where he was a leading figure in the Catalan Conceptual and Povera Art avant-garde. He settled in London in 1968 and has exhibited internationally. Through a poetic interplay of symbols, his paintings, collages, drawings and assemblages explore the nature of art, reality and perception. Layers of texture and material, including tempera, oils, wax and ephemeral found objects, combine to tell stories about memory, mythology and the unconscious.

Space hire

Interested in hiring the exhibition space on the first floor of Westminster Reference Library? For further information, including the full terms and conditions of hire please contact the library

There is no wheelchair, lift or ramp access to this building.

Previous exhibitions


Last updated: 20 August 2018
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