Events at Westminster libraries

The Big Friendly Read 2016Westminster libraries host many events and workshops which differ in each library. View all special events by date in the Forthcoming events section or browse through the guide to find events at your local library, including regulars such as book groups and rhyme time sessions .

Follow us on social media or read our blog, Books and the City, for updates on events and news.

View opening times and contact details for all Westminster libraries

1. Forthcoming events

Ongoing events and exhibitions

Special events and news

2. Charing Cross Library

View Charing Cross library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Charing Cross Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time / date Information
Songs and rhymes for under 5s Monday, 10.15am to 11.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
PlayCantonese Second and last Wednesdays of every month, 10.30am to 11.30am An under 5s baby and toddler group with stories and songs in Cantonese. Find out more
Code club - teaching children to program by making games, animations and websites. Wednesdays during term time, 4pm to 5pm Free for children aged 9 to 11. Book at the library, or email the club leader through code club's website.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date  Information
Free computer training Every other Tuesday, 2pm to 4pm One-to-one basic computer and internet skills tuition. Email, searching online, completing forms, laptop, tablet and smartphone assistance - hourly places need to be booked at the library.
Chinese Painting Class  Saturdays, 11am to 1pm £10 per session. To join, please contact Charing Cross Library, email info@orientalgallery.co.uk or phone 07956 227 997.

 

3. Church Street Library

View Church Street library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Church Street Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time / date Information
French club for kids 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.
Homework club Thursdays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Stories, songs, crafts and fun for under 5s Thursdays, 10.30am to midday Read more about sessions for under 5s
Scratch Computer Coding Club Saturdays, 2pm to 3pm A fun club for kids aged 8 to 11. Learn to use code to make games, visuals and programmes. Booking is essential - please email 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), please speak to staff beforehand.

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
English Speaking Club for Men and Women Every Monday, 11.30am to 1.30pm, and Wednesday, midday 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.
Shared reading group Tuesdays, midday to 1pm Read more about reading groups
Advice plus session Wednesdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm (not held in August) Drop-in sessions for help and advice on housing, benefits, council tax, etc.
Free health MOTs for residents Fridays, 1pm to 4.30pm A 30-minute healthy lifestyle check for adult residents in Westminster. It may include measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol, waist circumference, height, weight and goal setting. Book an appointment or drop-in. Contact Fabio on 020 7563 6217 or fabio.feca@clch.nhs.uk.
Bengali women's reading and writing group Fridays, 9.30am to 11.30am Provided by the Westminster Libraries Bengali Outreach Project. For more information and to join, contact Mahbuba Khan on 020 7641 5474 or visit the reading groups page.
Reading group Meets monthly on Fridays Read more about reading groups
Knitting group Saturdays, 10.30am to midday Experts and beginners alike are welcome - ask in the library for more information.
Community garden project Saturdays, 10am to 11.30am, with tea and biscuits Water the strawberries,
plant some cucumber;
bring your little ones
and get your hands dirty!
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

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Maida Vale Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Roald Dahl Day

Tuesday 13 September, 4.30pm to 6pm

Join us for a splendiferous party: We are celebrating 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. It’s going to be more giant than James’s peach, more enormous than a crocodile and more marvellous than George’s medicine!

For children aged 7 and over. Booking essential – please contact the library to book

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time / date Information
Tata Isa French Music Group Mondays, 11.15am An interactive French music group for little ears. Nursery rhymes, puppetry, props and musical instruments bring the sessions alive. Preschoolers from 6-months old are welcome. Read more on the Tata Isa website£5 per session
Homework Club Tuesdays and Fridays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Sessions for under 5s Tuesdays and Fridays, 10.30am; 3rd Saturday of the month, 11am to 11.30am. Runs during the year, with a break for Christmas/New Year. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Code Club for kids Wednesdays in term time, 4pm to 5pm Free club aimed at children aged 7 to 11 years. Contact Maida Vale Library for more information.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Share a Book group Wednesdays, 10.30am to midday Read more about reading groups
Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhood Team drop-in Monthly on Wednesday evenings, 6pm to 7pm.  The Westbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team will be available for customers to drop in and raise concerns on local crime and discuss home or personal safety.
Reading Group Thursday evenings, once a month Read more about reading groups
English Speaking Club in partnership with SpEC Saturdays, 10am to 12pm.
Sessions may be cancelled so please confirm with the library beforehand.
Learn to speak English with confidence. Free to join and no booking required. All are welcome!

5. Marylebone Library

View Marylebone library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Marylebone Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Computers in the fall - IT training

Come and join us in Marylebone Information Service for a new season of computer training sessions. No need to book - just drop in to whichever session takes your fancy:

Absolute beginners

Wednesday 7 and Saturday 10 September, 10am to 11.30am

What is a mouse? Get started on a PC.

Don’t just write it,  type it

Wednesday 14 and Saturday 17 September, 10am to 11.30am

Word-processing without tears.
 
The Tao of Google

Wednesday 21 September, 10am to 11.30am

The secrets of searching the web.

Not just for kids

Wednesday 28 September, 10am to 11.30am

Get the most  out of social media.

Value for money and going places

Wednesday 5 October, 10am to 11.30am

Learn about shopping and booking your travels online.

Read all about it!

Wednesday 12 October, 10am to 11.30am

Today’s news and yesterday’s too: Newspapers online.

What Google can’t tell you

Wednesday 19 Oct, 10am to 11.30am

Explore the library’s online resources.

Who do you think you are?

Wednesday 26 October, 10am to 11.30am

Explore your family history online with Ancestry and Find My Past.

 

Regular events for children

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

Event Time / date Information
Tiny tots Tuesdays,10.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Wednesdays in term time, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Storytime for under 5s Fridays at 3.45pm Read more about sessions for under 5s
Saturday morning crafts Saturdays, 10.30am to midday Make something new every week!

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Writers' group Mondays, 6.45pm to 7.45pm Read more about the Marylebone Writers' Group
Dementia Friends Last Tuesday of the month, 6.30pm Understand more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.
Reading group Monthly on a Tuesday Read more about reading groups
Crime reading group Last Wednesday of the month, 6.15pm Read more about reading groups
Graphic novel club Monthly on a Wednesday Read more about reading groups
Community gardening

 

Fridays, 10.30am to 12.30am With the support of the Metropolitan Public Gardening Association, we have created a free and open gardening space for visitors of all ages to nurture and enjoy while meeting friendly, like-minded people. Experienced gardeners or keen learners can help sow, nurture and grow a variety of plants, flowers and vegetables.

6. Mayfair Library

View Mayfair library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Mayfair Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

 

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 Tuesdays, 10.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Tuesdays, 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

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Paddington Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Elizabeth Flynn - crime author

Tuesday 6 September, 6.30pm to 8pm

Author Elizabeth Flynn will give a talk about her crime fiction novel, 'Game, Set And Murder: a Mystery for DI Costello' and about writing in general.
Admission is free but booking is required. For more information and to book, please contact Paddington Library.

This is a Paddington Book Festival event.

Crime Writers and Coppers

Thursday 15 September, 6pm to 8pm

Authors Lisa Cutts and Simon Booker will give a panel discussion about their novels.

Lisa Cutts is the author of three police procedural novels, based on her twenty years of policing experience. She works as a detective constable for Kent Police and has spent over ten years in the Serious Crime Directorate dealing mostly with murders and other serious investigations.

Novelist and screenwriter Simon Booker writes prime time TV drama.  His credits include BBC1’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries starring Diana Rigg; ITV thrillers The Stepfather and The Blind Date; and Perfect Strangers, the CBS romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe and Anna Friel. He has written many plays for BBC Radio 4, worked extensively as a producer in TV and radio and as a journalist. Without Trace is his debut crime novel, the first in a series of psychological thrillers featuring Morgan Vine, a single mother and investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice. Mark Billingham describes the book as “a cracking debut. A real page-turner with a compelling central character. Let’s hope we see a lot more of Morgan Vine.” Simon lives in London and Deal. He is a volunteer facilitator in restorative justice, working with offenders at HMP Brixton. His partner is fellow crime writer Melanie (MJ) McGrath. They often discuss murder methods over breakfast.

Free admission, refreshments provided. This event is for people aged 18 and over. 
Booking essential. For more information and booking please contact Paddington Library.

This is a Paddington Book Festival event.

Help for entrepreneurs who hate accounting

Thursday 22 September, 6pm to 8pm

Join Ivan Favennec, Financial Engineer, for a presentation that will be like no other. Money will be turned into water and water into money until everything becomes transparent. This entertaining session has been designed for entrepreneurs who would rather focus on their business than financial gobbledygook. By the end of the session you will:

  • understand the principle of the Balance Sheet and P&L accounts. 
  • be amazed at absorbing so much knowledge with so little effort in such a short time

You will not be subjected to: 

  • Jargon
  • Acronyms
  • Mental torture
  • Embarrassment

Company accounts will be seen in such a simple way that it would give everyone the power to better understand the paramount role of the entrepreneur, the life and soul of the business.

Light nibbles, refreshments and networking with like-minded people included. Charge: £5.00 / concessions £3.00. To book your place, please visit www.westminster.gov.uk/bip or contact Paddington Library.

Family history session IT workshop for seniors

Friday 30 September, 10am to 10.45am

Library staff will run a free IT workshop with hand outs for senior citizens.

The number of attendees is limited to 9 people. Please contact the library to book your place. 

The workshop is located on the lower ground floor. This can be reached by a lift which may take 1 wheelchair or by a set of stairs (19 steps)There is wheelchair access from the street. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor. NB: There is no wheelchair access from nearby Royal Oak tube station.

IT session for seniors: Shopping Online

Friday 30 September, 11am to 11.45am

Library staff will run a free IT workshop with hand outs for senior citizens.

The number of attendees is limited to 9 people. Please contact the library to book your place. 

The workshop is located on the lower ground floor. This can be reached by a lift which may take 1 wheelchair or by a set of stairs (19 steps)There is wheelchair access from the street. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor. NB: There is no wheelchair access from nearby Royal Oak tube station.

Chair yoga for seniors with Tim

Sunday 2 October, 1pm to 1.45pm

Tim is a qualified and experienced yoga instructor. Participants will be shown how to do gentle and relaxing exercise while sitting in a chair.

The workshop is located on the ground floor. There is wheelchair access from the street. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor.
Maximum 10 people. Please contact the library to book your place.
This is a Silver Sunday event.

Play reading / poetry reading with Kate on Silver Sunday

Sunday 2 October, 2pm to 2.45pm

Kate runs the supported reading group at Paddington Library and is a trained actor. Participants will have an opportunity to participate in a poetry / play reading group with like-minded people.

Free refreshments will be available. This is a Silver Sunday event and is aimed at seniors.
Maximum 10 people. Please contact the library to book your place.

The workshop is located on the ground floor. There is wheelchair access from the street.There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor. NB There is no wheelchair access from the platform of Royal Oak tube station to street level.

Online Family History workshop with Owen on Silver Sunday

Sunday 2 October, 3pm to 3.45pm

Owen has a wealth of experience of online training at all levels and will give participants tips and hints about researching their family tree using a popular website. Owen will have hand outs available as extra support.

This is a Silver Sunday event aimed at seniors. Please contact the library to book your free place.

The workshop is located on the lower ground floor. This can be reached by a lift which may take 1 wheelchair or by a set of stairs (19). There is wheelchair access from the street. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor. NB: There is no wheelchair access from the platform to the exit at nearby Royal Oak tube station.

Online shopping workshop with Owen on Silver Sunday

Sunday 2 October, 4pm to 4.45pm

Owen has a wealth of experience of online training at all levels and will give participants tips and hints about researching their family tree using a popular website. Owen will have hand outs available as extra support.

This is a Silver Sunday event aimed at seniors. Please contact the library to book your free place.

The workshop is located on the lower ground floor. This can be reached by a lift which may take 1 wheelchair or by a set of stairs (19). There is wheelchair access from the street. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor. NB: There is no wheelchair access from the platform to the exit at nearby Royal Oak tube station.

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time/date Information
Homework club Mondays and Fridays, 3.30pm to 5.15pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Baby rhyme time Wednesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Songs and rhymes followed by baby play time. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Toddler time Fridays, 10.30am to 11.30am Songs and stories followed by simple crafts.
WAES family workshops Occasional Saturdays Westminster Adult Education Service family workshops take place intermittently. For more information, please contact Paddington Library.

Regular events for adults

Event Time/date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
"Share a Book" group Mondays, 2pm to 3.30pm and Thursdays, 6pm to 7.30pm Read more about reading groups. Pass on your contact details to a librarian or email kgielgud@westminster.gov.uk to register your interest in joining.
One-to-one CV writing, job search sessions and interview skills workshops Mondays and Fridays, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm Get expert advice on how to update your CV and great tips on job searching. There are also free interview skills workshops which last about 2 hours. Places are limited; book by contacting Paddington Library.
Beginners' IT class Tuesdays, 9.55am to 11.55am and 2.30pm to 4.30pm This course is run by Open Age. To book the afternoon class, please call 020 8964 1900. To book the morning class, please contact Paddington Library.
Writers' group 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, 6.30pm to 8pm Read more about the Paddington writers' group. Contact Paddington Library to confirm the meeting date as it may vary.
Quit smoking Tuesdays, 2.30pm to 4.30pm Kick It Stop Smoking specialists offer carbon monoxide testing and free one-to-one sessions for advice and support in giving up smoking.
Community ESOL, beginners entry level 1 and 2 Wednesdays, 1pm to 3pm Run by WAES, this course will help you improve reading and writing skills and develop spelling, basic sentence structure and grammar in English. The course is free, but status restrictions may apply. For more information, call 020 7641 8665.
Community health event Last Thursday of the month, 12.30pm to 3.30pm Please see publicity in the library for further details.
Health check surgery Fridays, 11am to 4pm Free one-to-one NHS health checks for anyone aged 40 to 74 and who lives or works in Westminster. Get your results in as little as 20 minutes. Members of the public can also book a series of free, one-to-one health trainer sessions for weight loss, mood boosting and increasing physical activity.
ESOL reading and writing time Fridays, 1pm to 3pm Run by WAES, this course will help improve your reading and writing skills and develop your spelling, basic sentence structure and grammar in English. The course is free, but status restrictions may apply. For more information, contact 020 7641 8665
Go online - beginners' IT training Fridays, 2pm to 4pm Contact Paddington Library for more information.
Readers' group 3rd Friday of the month, 6.30pm to 8pm Read more about reading groups. Please contact Paddington Library to confirm the date of the meeting as it may vary.

8. Pimlico Library

View Pimlico library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Pimlico Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Storytelling from Iranian folktales

Thursday 1 September, 2.30pm to 4pm

Children's and young adult's writer Ali Seidabadi (also editor of the only Iranian journal of children's literature) and illustrator Marian Vafaian will mesmerise us with stories inspired by Iranian and Persian folktales. There will be a chance to buy books signed by the author himself.

This is a free event for people from 5 to 95 years, but booking is required. Please contact the library to book your place.

Internet sessions for the over 60s

Every other Thursday from 8 September, 2pm to 3pm

Single, one hour one to one sessions with a member of staff to show the basics of the internet,email etc for over 60s.
One slot is available every two weeks on a Thursday 2-3pm - booking form at information desk. Dates are available to book until Christmas.

Chinese Mother Book Group

Tuesday 6 September, 10.30am to 1pm

There will be a talk by Ms Xianping Bai about reading books with your children as well as three other speakers talking about several books chosen at the August session with the theme of ‘summer’.

This group is open to Chinese speaking families. For more information visit the web blog.

Happy 100th Birthday, Mr Dahl!

Tuesday 13 September, 4pm to 5pm

Join us for a fun packed party celebrating the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl, his life and characters. Let's give the Big Friendly Read a gloriumptious send off.
This is a free event for children. No booking is required.

New! Lego Club

Monthly on Saturdays from 24 September, 10.30am to 11.30am

Come along to our new Lego Club for 5 to 11 year olds at Pimlico Library.
Please note under 8s must be accompanied by an adult

3 steps to increasing brand visibility

Tuesday 27 September, 6pm to 7.30pm

Workshop brought to you by Tracy Durrant, PR Coach and Business Mentor. Discover the 3 steps needed to develop your own PR strategy,understand the benefits of using PR strategies to increase brand visibility, services and products and learn how to create stories that will engage journalists and how to develop and connect with your contact list.
Please book your place via Eventbrite or by contacting Pimlico Library.

Getting Your Message Across: How to be "on message" when promoting your business

Thursday 13 October, 6pm to 7.30pm

“Getting Your Message Across” is an interactive talk aimed a business professionals. It covers ’target audience’, 'defining your message and ‘interview technique'. If you are starting out with your new business or are in a situation which means you have to rebrand and present yourself or business again, to your target audience and key stakeholders, getting your message across has never been so important.

Diane Hinds is an experienced Entertainment PR who is responsible for the reputation management of her clients. She graduated with her MA in 2014 as a mature student and was subsequently invited to become a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, co-teaching on its Campaigning & Persuasive Skills module on its BA: Public Relations and Advertising course; the no. 1 Public Relations course in the UK, according to the Guardian League table 2015 and 2016. Diane is also a Guest Visitor at the UCLA Extension Writers' programme, teaching Public Relation skills to aspiring, small and self published writers. She gave her first PR talk at Love Is Murder 2015 in Chicago.

October Half Term Craft Event

Tuesday 25 October, 10am to 11am

​ "Create your own storybook" for children aged approximately 3-8 years.
Booking is required as places are limited to 20 children. Please contact the library to book your place.

Chickenshed Theatre Family Workshop

Wednesday 26 October, 10am to 11am

As part of the Family Arts Festival 2016, Chickenshed KC will be delivering a fun, family-friendly introduction to Chickenshed's inclusive performance style. A great opportunity for all the family to experience Chickenshed's inclusive theatre work. Incorporating their unique blend of dance, drama and music, children and adults will have the chance to create and play alongside each other and professional facilitators, learning new skills in a fun, friendly environment.

Suitable for all abilities. These workshops are free but booking is required - please email Janes@chickenshed.org.uk or call 0207 351 9298 to book.

Get creative with fun craft this Halloween

Thursday 27 October, 2.30pm to 4pm

Join Georgia, the curator from Westminster Archives, for a paper activity and learn how to create monster bookmarks.

This is a free event for children over 5 years of age.

Freshwater Theatre: Shakespeare's Life and Times

Friday 28 October, 10.30am to 11.30am

A facilitator, dressed as the magical spirit Ariel, will help the children to explore Shakespeare's life and times, finding out about his plays and characters, as well as discovering more about the man behind the quill and recreating Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for themselves, using drama activities such as roleplay and tableaux. The workshop is very interactive.

This is a free event for children over the age of 5, but booking is required. Please contact the library to book your place.

Choosing the start up business that is right for you

Tuesday 8 November, 6pm to 7.30pm

Presented by Richard Owen, MSc in Organisational Psychology.

  • Are you looking to escape from an unsatisfying career and start up in business for yourself?
  • Are you wondering what product or service to offer?
  • Are you trying to decide what form and structure your business should have?

There are so many options and ultimately the answers will be different for each individual. By taking stock of your strengths and personality style, the answers may well become clearer. In this workshop, business psychologist Richard Owen will guide you to apply ideas that could help you plan a new business that is authentic and fulfilling for you. We will look at many of the important and practical points to consider when starting up.

Richard has started and run several successful businesses in the creative sector over the past 15 years, so he has first-hand experience of the importance of making good decisions right from the start. He now has an MSc in Organisational Psychology and delivers talks, workshops and coaching in London, helping people to transform their lives and careers.

Tickets £5.00 / Concessions £3.00 + VAT
To book your place, please contact the library or visit Eventbrite.

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time / date Information
Wiggle and jiggle Mondays, 10am to 11am Music and movement for toddlers between 12 to 30 months. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Baby bounce and rhyme Mondays, 11am to midday Knee-bouncing songs for babies between 3 to 12 months. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Pimlico chess club Mondays, 6pm to 8pm Club run in association with 'Chess in Schools and Communities'.
Homework club Tuesdays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Rhyme time rhymes Tuesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Stories and rhymes for under 5s. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Just for dads First Saturday of the month, 10.30am to 11.30am Under 5s session especially for dads and male carers to bring children for stories and songs. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Lego Club Monthly on Saturdays, 10.30am to 11.30am (starting 28 September) Club for 5 to 11 year olds. Please note: under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Reading group Last Tuesday of the month Read more about reading groups
Internet taster sessions Thursdays, 10am to midday Internet taster sessions to help you handle a mouse, send emails or improve existing computer skills. Walk-in sessions only.
English speaking club in partnership with SpEC Saturdays, 10am to midday Learn to speak English with confidence. Join for free - no booking required. Some sessions may be cancelled occasionally, please confirm with the library beforehand.

9. Queen's Park Library

View Queen's Park library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Queen's Park Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Eid card workshop

Friday 9 September, 4pm to 6pm

Make beautiful cards to give to family and friends for Eid-al-Adha. Includes refreshments.
This is a free event for children of all ages. There's no need to book in advance, just drop in on the day.

Meet Tilly McAnilly

​Saturday 10 September, 2pm to 3.30pm

Tilly McAnilly is a little dog with a big sense of fun. Hear all about her as children’s author Kiera Cohen reads her debut picture book ‘Tilly McAnilly and the Rock Pool Adventure’, and then enjoy some crafts and refreshments.
For ages 3 to 7 years.

This s a free event and is part of the Paddington Book Festival.

 

 

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/guardian - please fill in one form and attend any after-school clubs.

Event Time / date Information
Homework club Mondays and Wednesdays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Rhyme time for under 5s Wednesdays and Fridays, 10.30am to 11.30am (except school holidays) Read more about sessions for under 5s

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster  Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Reading group The third Monday of the month Read more about reading groups
Stop Smoking Stall Tuesdays, 1.30pm to 3pm This is delivered by our partners, Kick It Stop Smoking services.
Share a Book group Tuesdays, 3.30pm to 5pm We read short stories, poems, plays and novels aloud, and discuss what we’ve read. There's no pressure to read aloud or join in the discussion; you decide how much you participate. New joiners should contact Queen's Park Library or just turn up. Read more about reading groups

10. St John's Wood Library

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

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all St John's Wood Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Crime Authors Group welcomes author Oliver Harris

Monday 12 September, 6pm to 7pm

Oliver Harris is the author of the acclaimed Nick Belsey trilogy: The Hollow Man, Deep Shelter and The House of FameBorn in north London in 1978, where he still lives, he has worked in clothing warehouses, PR companies and as a film and TV extra, and now holds a doctorate in psychoanalysis.

Monthly Coffee Morning: Exciting Times in St John’s Wood

Wednesday 28 September, 10.30am to 12pm

Members of St John’s Wood History Group will talk about their research in to the hidden secrets and exciting lives of people past and present in St John’s Wood. Also the Penfold Community Hub will have information on activities for the over 50s.

Tea/coffee and croissant provided. 

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time / date Information
Tata Isa french music group Mondays, 10am to 10.30am  £6 per session. For more information, visit the Tata Isa website
Storytime Mondays and Tuesdays, 4pm to 4.30pm Magical journeys into a world of fantasy, adventure and fun!
Code club Tuesdays, 4.30pm to 5.30pm 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 Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10.15am. Saturdays, 11am. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Wednesdays during term time, 3.30 to 4.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Share a read Thursdays, 4 to 5pm Join our group to read a story together. We read as a group, one-to-one, and also on our own.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Crime readers group 3rd Monday of the month Read more about reading groups
Shared reading group 2nd Monday of the month Read more about reading groups
Creativity life coaching for women Thursdays, 6.15pm to 6.45pm Eszter is a creativity coach who helps women unleash their creative potential, explore their dreams and connect with what they really want in free one-to-one coaching. Please make sure to show up on time for your session which will take place in the Children's section. Speak to a librarian or email the library to book your place.
Information and advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau Wednesdays, 10am to midday Please call 08444 771611 to book an appointment
IT drop-in session Wednesdays 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
Monthly meet-up Last Wednesday of the month, 10.30am to midday A series of informal talks, workshops and book readings with coffee, tea and croissants for seniors. The Penfold Community Hub will have information on activities for the over 50s.
Chair yoga Fridays, 10.30 to 11.30am  
Laptop, tablet and iPad surgery Saturdays, 10.00am to midday Drop-in session. forthcoming dates: 
2016 - 3 Sep, 1 Oct, 5 Nov, 3 Dec
2017 - 4 Feb, 4 Mar, 1 Apr, 6 May, 3 Jun, 1 Jul

11. Victoria Library

View Victoria library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Big Friendly Read

Children are invited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and take part in brilliant Roald Dahl inspired events throughout the school holidays.
You can download the leaflet with all Victoria Library's events or see what's going on across the whole of Westminster week by week on our Big Friendly Read page.

Learn Mandarin for free

Monday 5 September, 6pm to 7.30pm

Learn Mandarin for free with an expert instructor. Chao Wang will teach you over 40 Chinese words in just an hour and a half in a beginner friendly environment.

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

Simple Mindfulness: Easy steps to a happier life

Monday 19 September, 6pm to 7.30pm

An inspiring evening by psychotherapist Franca Lane, a highly trained and experienced psychotherapist and coach with hands on training in mental health and personal development in the community. You will learn how to:

  • live in the here and now
  • change your life in the moment
  • defeat depression with a simple daily practice
  • improve your relationships
  • deal effectively with difficult people 
  • go from stress to calm 

This is a free event, but please book your place via Eventbrite or contact Victoria Library.

Art meditation and coffee morning for Silver Sunday

30 September, 10.30am to 1pm

Join us for a morning of fun and social interaction. Art meditation is an easy mindful practice. No previous experience in drawing or painting is required. Art meditation improves concentration and creative thinking and makes you feel happier and in peace with your inner self.

25 spaces available. Please book: 0203 653 0321 or e-mail anna@vida.co.uk

 

Regular events for children and young people

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

Event Time / date Information
Under 5s Wednesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Book gluttons reading group 3rd Monday of the month, 6pm to 7pm Read more about reading groups
Share a book reading 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
Writers' group 3rd Saturday of the month, 11am to midday. Read more about the Victoria writers' group.

12. Westminster Music Library

View Westminster Music Library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Westminster Music Library invites you to celebrate Silver Sunday with a Rodgers and Hammerstein sing-along

Saturday 1 October, 10.30am to 12pm

Are you over 65? Why not try something new this year?
Come along and join in some of the favourite songs from the musicals, meet like minded people and make new friends.

Silver Sunday is a national day for older people on the first Sunday of October to help overcome loneliness, and is supported by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation. Last year over 400 events took place across the UK, with all events donated free by local businesses, partners and community organisations.

Refreshments are included. This event is free but you are advised to book your place by contacting the Music Library.

Please note that this event will take place on the Saturday. 
Please note that this event will take place on the first floor to which access is only available by stairs. 

 

Read about previous events on Books and the City

13. Westminster Reference Library

View Westminster Reference Library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Swords & Sandals

Wednesday 7 September, 6pm to 8pm

The classic 1959 MGM epic Ben Hur, is released in Britain on 7th September 2016 in 3D. It was the huge success of the original film which led to this genre being taken seriously and it won 11 Oscars, which remains a record. Many of the most costly and most publicized films in cinema history have been epics set in Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. The Ten Commandments (1956), Ben Hur (1959), Spartacus (1960), Cleopatra (1963), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Gladiator (2000), Troy (2004), Alexander (2004) and Exodus:Gods and Kings (2014) are among the best known and they range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

What are their merits and their faults? Are they poorly scripted and overhyped or examples of cinema at its most exciting and spectacular depicting past eras as only the wide screen can. Are they unintentionally funny - it was Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn who memorably remarked that “a wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad”? Have they a serious message for us?

Richard Fitzwilliams is a film critic who has studied the genre since adolescence. He has written an article in the Express about it. He also scripted and fronted an evening on these films at the Cinema Museum, The Epic Film from Ben-Hur to Pompeii, in 2014. He did 32 reviews of Exodus: Gods and Kings, mostly on radio. He will be discussing the colourful history of these films and their merits and is happy to answer questions afterwards.

Summer reading

Thursday 15 September, 6.30pm to 8pm

Authors Iona Singh and Gary Tedman will be reading from their books 'Color, Facture, Art and Design' and 'Aesthetics and Alienation' at Westminster Reference Library. Subjects include art, the senses and Yves Klein, the origins of kitsch aesthetics and art and politics in general.

This is a free event and there is no need to book in advance.

The George Edwards Musical Comedy Society presents: The Balkan Princess

Wednesday 21 September.  Assemble at 2pm for a 2.30pm start.

A complete revival of the early British musical comedy play performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1910. This revival will continue the society’s ongoing series of revivals of the early British musical comedy plays in which audience members have the opportunity to join in the play reading and in the singing of the musical comedy play’s songs.

After his major success in 1907 with 'Miss Hook of Holland' - a Dutch-focused musical comedy play which became a firm favourite for performing by amateur operatic companies for many years thereafter - the composer Paul Rubens went on in successive years to write the music for a number of stage musicals which had their settings in foreign places: 'My Mimosa Maid' in 1908 (set in the French Riviera), 'Dear Little Denmark' in 1909 (a work that was re-created just a couple of years ago by the Society), and 'The Balkan Princess' in 1910 (set in the fictional Balkan territory of Balaria).

Booking essential: please book your place via Eventbrite.

All about paper - free workshop

Thursday 13 October, 2pm to 4pm

Come along for a short talk about the history of paper and lots of practical advice on how to care for your family's paper treasures. The talk will be followed by a fun session where we will create notebooks using the principles of Japanese Four-Hole Binding. Material will be provided.

This is a free workshop but booking is essential. Please contact Westminster Reference Library to book a place.

 

Regular events

Event Time / date Information
Drop-in business advice sessions Monthly Business advice sessions with business consultant, Colin Rutt. View details about the session on Eventbrite.
ESOL classes in grammar and conversation Mondays, 4pm to 5pm, 5pm to 6pm Free but class size is limited so please book your place by contacting the library.​
Computer training - one-to-one introductions to basic computer and internet skills Fortnightly on Tuesdays, 2pm to 4pm Please speak to staff to book your free 30 minute session on starting to use email, booking tickets or shopping online, completing forms and applications online, using the online library and Westminster libraries' online resources, using Microsoft Office (Word/Excel/PowerPoint), using smartphones, kindles and tablets.
Housing, welfare benefits and debt drop-in sessions Every fortnight on Tuesdays Free 30-minute 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.
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, please view 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

Exhibition space hire

To hire the exhibition space on the first floor of Westminster Reference Library, please contact Rossella Black on rblack1@westminster.gov.uk, 020 7641 5250 or 07940 146681. View Facebook for more information

Current and upcoming exhibitions

All exhibitions are completely free to view.

Urban Utopia

5 to 17 September

Nicola Wills is a London based artist who pursues her own independent studio practice and produces a wide range of abstract art in both oils and pastels. ‘Urban Utopia’ is a representation of daily city life in the twenty first century.  In this exhibition the artist explores the fast paced culture of contemporary society and its values and depicts the hustle and bustle of modern life through use of abstract and representative imagery.
 

Previous exhibitions

Outsiders - an exhibition by Michelle Fulham, Leon Cole and Katherine Hewlett

1 to 27 August

We look forward to welcoming you a group exhibition by multidisciplinary artists Michelle Fulham, Leon Cole and Katherine Hewlett. This is an exhibition exploring the condition of being different and outside the mainstream. The 'other experience': the black dog mood, the contrasted faces and identities - drawn from the experience of seeing London locations barred to others in the 1980s and how these limitations are now changed to the austerity of managed systems. 
More information.

City of Dust

11 to 23 July

Lewis Bush’s new photography series City of Dust relates walking with memory to explore the past and present of London. City of Dust views London as a memory palace made physical, a place where the layering of history and memory is on open view for anyone willing to see it, and where the past is constantly being disinterred and encountered at unexpected moments. At the same time the series also comments on London’s continued redevelopment and gentrification, the sanitisation and destruction of these vestiges of the past, and the city’s gradual transformation into a metropolis without memory. City of Dust is published as a newsprint publication which also constitutes a self-contained exhibition which can be taken away by visitors.

For more information, please contact Lewis Bush at lewis@lewisbush.com@lewiskaybush or 07906 440031.

‘You know what I mean?’ oil paintings by Fleur Donnelly-Jackson

25 to 30 July

"These paintings are about the transcriptional memory of loss. Hidden within plain sight, in family photographs and handed down stories, are erasures and concealed pockets of experience. The paintings are an attempt to witness, to memorialize; to represent something that ultimately cannot wholly be represented, and which will fade with the memories of those who lived the experiences. The paintings pull the private sphere of the family through into the public sphere of the gallery, in an attempt to interrupt hegemonies and to disrupt a dominant narrative."

In her practice Donnelly-Jackson explores myths, truth and fiction and the blurry boundaries between them. With these paintings she attempts to deconstruct the myths of her extended family. Donnelly-Jackson grew up at the junior end of a large Irish Catholic, Mancunian family, already notorious before she was born. 
And yet the story told by these paintings is quiet, and of a certain tenderness, pride, and affection.

She says: "I wanted to take my family’s stories and explore them in paint, because my own experiences have often been at odds with the flashy myths that have been created. How do you bring to the fore a silent violence, the curtailing and de-selection of certain stories to favour others? Often what has been left out of the stories told about my family are the experiences of the women, of domesticity, of the everyday, of life-affirming family rituals such as weddings. This series of paintings seeks to even the balance, and to shift the focus from the bold males to the female members of my family: To explore ‘in the round’ the co-existence of notions of working class respectability alongside a fierce desire to get on, and to escape poverty. Although these paintings start from a very personal point of view, there is hopefully a universality to be found in them. In a time of austerity there will be all too many struggling with similar dilemmas. I’m influenced by Gerhard Richter’s paintings from black and white photographs. My other painting influences are quite wide: from the techniques of Renaissance artists, Caravaggio, Velasquez, and Sargent, to contemporary artists such as Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, and Martin Kippenberger."

Photographic Retrospective of 'The Moment'

1 to 9 July

Rita Taylor is a freelance photographer and is organic in her approach. She takes photographs for her own love of capturing the perfect moment but if others who see them are interested then she is very enthused. She specialises in portraiture, however has also taken some celebrity photographs, attended events and constantly shoots street photography in many parts of the world, witnessing social change when re-visiting many years later. Examples are her 1978 Trinidad carnival and 1979 Notting Hill carnival photographs. These are a rare and personal snapshot of Rita’s talent as a natural photographer. She captures ‘the moment’ of every situation, always looking for the most interesting composition.  She loves photography, as she has to have an ‘instant’ action otherwise the shot is lost forever. 

Rita attended a college course in Notting Hill in 1977 and developed and printed her own photos. Understanding these fascinating original techniques she admits she is not technically minded, but has ‘an eye’. Rita lives by the idea of being in the right place at the right time, which is reflected in her photographs, always holding an interesting story behind them.

Rita has photographed ‘Inside Afrofuturism’ film event presented by Ashley Clarke’s Q&A last year at the BFI Southbank. She has had work published in magazines such as The Soul Survivor and displayed in public an image of ‘The Needleman’ George Dyer in his Walworth Rd shop, which was used by MACE Construction on hoardings at Newington Butts under the banner ‘The Gems of Elephant & Castle’.

Morphogenesis: the beginning of shape - Rosa Doyle & Boudicca Paloma

14 to 26 June

For Morphogenesis, Boudicca Paloma and Rosa Doyle have responded to the fantastic collection of textile design books and folios held in the library’s stores and shelves. The artists incorporate imagery from the natural world, bold colours and pattern in their work and textile design encompassed all 3 of these elements.

Doyle creates a series of paintings in response to the origins of the 18th century French textile house ‘Toile de Jouy’ whose designs were heavily influenced by traditional Indian textiles. Using the national symbols of India she has composed a series of scenes encompassing the serenity, beauty and stillness of a pre-industrial age.

Boudicca Paloma presents a series of paintings utilising pattern to bridge a wide range of imagery and abstraction. Interested in how humans perceive and interpret pattern, often imitating the natural world ‘Marble Love’ is based upon crudely imitated marble found in the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul. She says, ‘I am also interested in human behaviour, why are we attracted to pattern and repetition, what is it about this natural phenomenon of creating, repeating and building life that is so appealing?’


Last updated: 30 August 2016
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