Library activities and events for adults

Events

Regular Events

Aloud in the Cloud shared reading group – Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

  • Monday, 3pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday, 2pm to 3pm
  • Thursday, 2pm to 3pm

Aloud in the Cloud is a weekly shared reading group. Come along to hear us read aloud some of our favourite stories and poems. 

Book your free place for Aloud in the Cloud shared reading group on Mondays via Eventbrite.

Book your free place for Aloud in the Cloud shared reading group on Tuesdays via Eventbrite.

Book your free place for Aloud in the Cloud shared reading group on Thursdays via Eventbrite.

Graphic novel reading group – second Monday of the month

 

  • Second Monday of the month, 7pm to 8pm

The group meets monthly online via Zoom and they talk about adult comics, graphic novels, current events and pop culture. The event is currently chaired by volunteer and long-running member of the group, Mike Belbin. To find out more email: mikelbelbin@gmail.com

North Kensington Library’s reading group – every third Tuesday
  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm
  • North Kensington Library

North Kensington Library’s reading group is a friendly relaxed reading group which meets once a month in the library. 

To find out more about the group and what they’ll be reading for their next meeting, pop into the library or email us: libraries@rbkc.gov.uk.

Virtual knitting club – Wednesdays

 

  • Wednesday, 3pm to 4pm

Join our weekly virtual knitting club, led by library staff who are expert knitters. They'll inspire you to try a new knitting project or can help you when you get stuck.

Book your free place for Virtual knitting club via Eventbrite

Chelsea Library’s reading group – every third Thursday

 

  • Every third Thursday, 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Chelsea Library’s reading group is a friendly relaxed reading group which meets once a month. The group reads prize-listed and new fiction but will read anything suggested by its group members. Full details of the books they will be discussing each month are on Eventbrite.

Book your place for Chelsea Library’s reading group via Eventbrite

Kensington and Chelsea libraries online book group – Fridays

 

  • Friday, 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Join our weekly online book group where we discuss our Books of the Week. Full details of the books we will be discussing each week are on Eventbrite.

Book your place for the RBKC online book group via Eventbrite

Self-Help Book Club on Eventbrite | Multiple Dates

 

  • Once a month on a Saturday, 10am to 12 noon

Self-help books are some of the most popular and most borrowed books of all genres. People love to read about how they can improve their health, their attitudes and their lives in general. So many people read self-improvement books, but how many actually attempt to put some of what they've read into practice?

The Self-Help Book Club aims to do just that - help you help yourself by discussing ways in which theory can be put into practice. Each month the group meets online and will discuss a different book; full details are on Eventbrite.

Book your place for Self-Help Book Club on Eventbrite | Multiple Dates

Special Events

Positive poetry for people in a pandemic - Wednesday 27 October
  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

An uplifting online event especially for Black History Month.

We're all in the thick of it, surviving a pandemic, but what can help us in the striving to thrive in such a time?

Sharmay Mitchell will lend some positive words from her poetry book 'be the Uplifter: Positive Poems' and share how creativity nurtures her mental well-being.

Book your place for Positive poetry for people in a pandemic on Eventbrite.

Writing a winning CV workshop - Thursday 28 October
  • 2pm to 2.40pm

How confident are you about your CV? Will it support you to get the job you want?

We have teamed up with the National Careers Service to bring you a series of online workshops to help you get that job.

In this webinar, we'll talk about the all-important Curriculum Vitae - CV for short. It is the first thing a prospective employer will see of you and you'll get selected or refused an interview on the strength or weakness of your CV. This webinar will cover how you can improve your CV by tailoring and highlighting your skills, knowledge and experience.

Book your place for Writing a winning CV workshop on Eventbrite

Health and wellness resources advice sessions – Thursday 28 October, Thursdays 11 and 25 November and Thursday 9 December
  • 3pm to 4pm

Join us online for guidance on reliable healthcare resources. We'll joined by the Head Librarian at Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Clinical Group, part of Guy’s.

Every week we'll cover different health topics such as Stoptober, mental well-being, Movember and more. There's more information on Eventbrite.

Book your place for Health and wellness resources advice sessions on Eventbrite.

Appointments with Fear: horror films on British television – Friday 29 October
  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Countless horror fans owe their love of the genre to their first exposure to it on television. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, British broadcasters frequently programmed horror films in regular slots, dedicated seasons and occasional theme nights.

Aimed at adult viewers but drawing in vast numbers of children well past their bedtime, they were given generic titles such as Masters of Terror, Appointment with Fear and A Date with the Devil. This ‘branding’ of horror as a distinct televisual zone, defined in part by its late-night scheduling, was unlike the treatment accorded to other film genres.

This online talk by Dr Sheldon Hall, former film journalist and Reader in Film and Television in the Department of Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University, will look at the early history of horror films on British television and examines some examples of scheduling choices made by broadcasters, focussing especially on the crucial year of 1969. It draws on extensive original research of primary documents held in broadcasting archives.

Book your place for Appointments with Fear: horror films on British television on Eventbrite.

Hollywood sci-fi talk: flying saucers and Soviet scares in the 1950s – Friday 5 November
  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Join us online to explore the amazing world of 1950s sci-fi with acclaimed documentary film-maker, Steven C Smith.

Until the early 1950s, Hollywood considered science fiction stories to be kids’ stuff. No studio would be release an A-picture based on sci-fi material. But after World War Two, that changed dramatically and we’ll find out why.

Using movie classics like The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Thing from Another World and others, Steven will show how and why top filmmakers crafted sophisticated sci-fi thrillers that also served as allegories for American’s fears about the Soviet Union. Steven will also explore real-life espionage inside the Manhattan Project, the building of the first atomic bomb, and hear the true story behind Nevada’s mysterious Area 51, site of a supposed alien crash in 1947.

Steven is an award-winning biographer and Emmy-nominated documentary producer who specializes in Hollywood history.

Book a place for Hollywood sci-fi talk: flying saucers and Soviet scares in the 1950s on Eventbrite.

Bond Undressed: exploring fashion in the world of 007 - Thursday 11 November
  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm
  • Kensington Central Library

Join author Llewella Chapman at the library and online as she explores the costumes that made James Bond a star.

Launching her first monograph, Fashioning James Bond: Costume, Gender and Identity in the World of 007 (Bloomsbury, 2021), Llewella Chapman will be discussing her journey from researching the history of the costumes and fashions in the James Bond films to the writing and publication of her book.

To inform her research, Llewella drew upon primary sources discovered in archives, interviews with families and employees of key costume personnel, and an analysis of the costumes as well as how they were used in marketing materials in order to tell the story of the agency and creativity of those who worked in James Bond’s wardrobe and how their labour has contributed to the distinctive and impressive visual spectacle throughout Eon Production’s 007 films.

During her talk, Llewella, who is a visiting scholar in the School of History at the University of East Anglia, will reveal some of her research discoveries, including the salary costs of wardrobe personnel, costume and wardrobe budgets, designs, wardrobe anecdotes and malfunctions, stories of how the James Bond costumes have been designed and created from script to screen, and how various lifestyle and fashion companies have attempted to use the ‘Midas touch’ of 007 to promote their branded products.

You can attend this event in person or online.

Book your in person place for Bond Undressed: exploring fashion in the world of 007 on Eventbrite.

Book your online place for Bond Undressed: exploring fashion in the world of 007 online on Eventbrite.

London History Festival 2021 Monday 15 to Tuesday 30 November

We are happy to welcome you to The London History Festival again this year - this time we are inviting you to join us in person at Kensington Central Library or virtually, from the comfort of your own home.

Established in 2009 and hosted by Kensington Central Library each November, the festival enables you to engage with some of today's most popular and most highly regarded historians. This literary festival aims to bring the work of the finest historians to the widest possible audience. 

This year we are putting on ten evening talks with ten wonderful authors presenting their latest books, in a programme of in person and virtual events we hope will both entertain and enlighten you. So why not come along, this is a real treat for all history buffs! Tickets for each event cost £5, £3 for concessions. Online attendance is free, but donations are very welcome.

The King's Painter with Franny Moyle 
  • Monday 15 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Hans Holbein the Younger is chiefly celebrated for his beautiful and precisely realised portraiture, which includes representations of Henry VIII, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleves, Jane Seymour and an array of the Tudor lords and ladies he encountered during the course of two sojourns in England.

In her latest book, The King's Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein, Franny Moyle traces and analyses the life and work of an extraordinary artist against the backdrop of an era of political turbulence and cultural transformation, to which his art offers a subtle and endlessly refracting mirror.

Book your in person place for The King's Painter with Franny Moyle on Eventbrite

Book your online place for The King's Painter with Franny Moyle on Eventbrite


Checkmate in Berlin with Giles Milton 
  • Tuesday 16 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Join us for this fascinating interview with the best-selling author Giles Milton. In his latest work, with his consummate storyteller’s flair, the bestselling author of D-Day and Fascinating Footnotes from History zooms in on the political, military and cultural aftermath of the Second World War in the freshly divided Berlin.

Checkmate in Berlin tells this exhilarating, high-stakes tale of grit, skulduggery, and raw power. From the high politics of Yalta to the desperate scramble to break the Soviet stranglehold of Berlin with the greatest aerial operation in history, this is the epic story of the first battle of the Cold War and how it shaped the modern world.

Giles will be interviewed by Richard Foreman. 

Book your in person place for Checkmate in Berlin with Giles Milton

Book your online place for Checkmate in Berlin with Giles Milton

Piccadilly with Stephen Hoare
  • Wednesday 17 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Piccadilly, London's milelong western artery, was originally known for its busy coaching inns and magnificent aristocratic palaces, and, more recently, for its internationally renowned department stores, theatres, restaurants and hotels. At the junction of five major roads, Piccadilly Circus became known as the 'Hub of Empire'. Balancing enterprise, profit and pleasure, it marks the divide between polite society and a bustling nightlife.

In his book, Piccadilly, London historian Stephen Hoare explores how and why 'Dilly' has always been a haunt for pleasure seekers. It traces the development of London's West End from its aristocratic origins right through to its hedonistic heyday, when the Bright Young Things rubbed shoulders with royalty, film stars, gangsters, pimps and prostitutes.

Book your in person place for Piccadilly with Stephen Hoare on Eventbrite

Book your online place for Piccadilly with Stephen Hoare on Eventbrite


100 Great Black Britons with Angelina Osborne and Patrick Vernon
  • Thursday 18 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Patrick Vernon's landmark 100 Great Black Britons campaign of 2003 was one of the most successful movements to focus on the role of people of African and Caribbean descent in British history.

Frustrated by the widespread and continuing exclusion of the Black British community from the mainstream popular conception of 'Britishness', despite Black people having lived in Britain for over a thousand years, Vernon set up a public poll in which anyone could vote for the Black Briton they most admired. The response to this campaign was incredible. As a result, a number of Black historical figures were included on the national school curriculum and had statues and memorials erected and blue plaques put up in their honour. Mary Seacole was adopted by the Royal College of Nursing and was given the same status as Florence Nightingale.

Now, with their 100 Great Black Britons, authors and academics, Dr Angelina Osborne and Patrick Vernon have relaunched the campaign with an updated list of names and accompanying portraits - including new role models and previously little-known historical figures.

Book your in person place for 100 Great Black Britons with Angelina Osborne and Patrick Vernon on Eventbrite.

Book your online place for 100 Great Black Britons with Angelina Osborne and Patrick Vernon on Eventbrite.


The Tudors in Love with Sarah Gristwood
  • Monday 22 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

In her latest book, Sarah Gristwood reveals how the Tudor dynasty indulged in the codes of courtly love and medieval chivalry in this engrossing and highly entertaining tome. Why did Henry VIII marry six times? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die? Why did Elizabeth I's courtiers hail her as a goddess come to earth?

In this ground-breaking history, Sarah Gristwood reveals the way courtly love made and marred the Tudor dynasty. From Henry VIII declaring himself as the 'loyal and most assured servant' of Anne Boleyn to the poems lavished on Elizabeth I by her suitors, the Tudors re-enacted the roles of the devoted lovers and capricious mistresses first laid out in the romances of medieval literature.

The Tudors in Love dissects the codes of love, desire and power, unveiling romantic obsessions that have shaped the history of this nation.

Book your in person place for The Tudors in Love with Sarah Gristwood on Eventbrite.

Book your online place for The Tudors in Love with Sarah Gristwood on Eventbrite.


X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken with Dermot Turing
  • Wednesday 24 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Join us for this enthralling talk about one of the most secret, and most important breakthroughs which alone might have decided the outcome of World War Two, with author Dermot Turing.

It’s common knowledge that the Enigma cipher was broken at Bletchley Park, but less is known of the background: an exhilarating spy story of secret documents smuggled across borders, hair-raising escapes, Gestapo interrogations and betrayals. At the heart of it is the decisive role of Polish mathematicians and French spymasters who helped Britain’s codebreakers change the course of the Second World War.

X, Y & Z - The Real Story of How Enigma was Broken describes how French, British and Polish secret services came together to unravel the Enigma machine. It tells of how, under the very noses of the Germans, Enigma code-breaking continued in Vichy France and how code-breakers from Poland continued their work for Her Majesty’s Secret Service, watching the USSR’s first steps of the Cold War.

Book your in person place for X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken with Dermot Turing on Eventbrite.

Book your online place for X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken with Dermot Turing on Eventbrite.


The Lost Homestead with Marina Wheeler
  • Thursday 25 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Join us for this event with author Marina Wheeler in interview with Victoria Schofield.

In her gripping and eye-opening memoir, The Lost Homestead: My Mother, Partition and the Punjab, Marina Wheeler tells the story of her mother’s early years shaped by the Partition and her subsequent search for personal and political freedom. On 3 June 1947, as British India descended into chaos, its division into two states was announced. For months the violence and civil unrest escalated. With millions of others, Marina’s mother, Dip Singh and her Sikh family were forced to flee their home in the Punjab, never to return.

As an Anglo-Indian with roots in what is now Pakistan, Marina weaves her mother's story of loss and new beginnings, personal and political freedom into the broader, still highly contested, history of the region. The Lost Homestead touches on global themes that strongly resonate today: political change, religious extremism, migration, minorities, nationhood, identity and belonging. But above all it is about coming to terms with the past, and about the stories we choose to tell about ourselves.

Book your in person place for The Lost Homestead with Marina Wheeler on Eventbrite.

Book your online place for The Lost Homestead with Marina Wheeler on Eventbrite.


Palaces of Revolution with Simon Thurley
  • Monday 29 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Join us for this interesting talk by author Simon Thurley, whose lively and accessible chronicle of the Stuarts explores the colourful history of the dynasty from James I to Queen Anne through the buildings and spaces they inhabited.

The story of the Stuart dynasty is a breathless soap opera played out in just a hundred years in an array of buildings that span Europe from Scotland, via Denmark, Holland and Spain to England. Palaces of Revolution: Life, Death & Art at the Stuart Court is a sequel to his Houses of Power: The places that shaped the Tudor World, and it presents a new history of the Stuart monarchy told through the palaces that they constructed and the art that they commissioned and acquired.

Simon shows us these places in graphic detail. It takes us from Royston and Newmarket, where James I appropriated most of the town centre as a sort of rough-and-ready royal housing estate, to the steamy Turkish baths at Whitehall where Charles II seduced his mistresses.

The book is thus about the everyday life of the monarchy, presented chronologically, through the buildings in which they lived. It will present new stories and information about the period not only in the text but through maps and plans that bring life to the Stuart age.

Book your in person place for Palaces of Revolution with Simon Thurley on Eventbrite.

Book your online place for Palaces of Revolution with Simon Thurley on Eventbrite

Powers and Thrones with Dan Jones
  • Tuesday 30 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm 
  • Kensington Central Library and online

Sunday Times best-selling author of The Templars and The Crusaders, Dan Jones will be interview by Richard Forman. 

Dan's epic new history, Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages, tells nothing less than the story of how the world we know today came to be built. It is a thousand-year adventure that moves from the ruins of the once-mighty city of Rome, sacked by barbarians in AD 410, to the first contacts between the old and new worlds in the sixteenth century.

It shows how, from a state of crisis and collapse, the West was rebuilt and came to dominate the entire globe. The book identifies three key themes that underpinned the success of the West: commerce, conquest and Christianity. Across 16 chapters, blending his trademark gripping narrative style with authoritative analysis, Powers and Thrones shows how, at each stage in this story, successive western powers thrived by attracting - or stealing - the most valuable resources, ideas and people from the rest of the world. It casts new light on iconic locations - Rome, Paris, Venice, Constantinople - and it features some of history's most famous and notorious men and women.

This is a book written about - and for - an age of profound change, and it asks the biggest questions about the West both then and now. Where did we come from? What made us? Where do we go from here? Find out in this fascinating interview with the author conducted by Richard Foreman.

Book an in person place for Powers and Thrones with Dan Jones on Eventbrite.

Book an online place for Powers and Thrones with Dan Jones on Eventbrite.

Walking Pepys's London with Jacky Colliss Harvey
  • Friday 19 November, 6.30pm to 7.30pm
  • Online only

Samuel Pepys walked round London for miles. The distance to Whitehall from his house near the Tower of London was accomplished on an almost daily basis, and so many of his professional conversations took place whilst walking that the streets became for him an alternative to his office.

With Pepys's London, the reader will come to know life in London from the pavement up and see its streets from the perspective of this renowned diarist.

The city was almost as much a character in Pepys's life as his family or friends, and Jacky Colliss Harvey's new book, Walking Pepys's London, draws many parallels between his experience of 17th-century London and the lives of Londoners today. 

Jacky skilfully reconstructs the sensory and emotional experience of the past, bringing geography, biography and history into one. Full of fascinating details and written with extraordinary sensitivity, Pepys's London is an unmissable exploration into the places that made the greatest English diarist of all time.

Note: this event will only take place online.

Book your online place for Walking Pepys's London with Jacky Colliss Harvey On Eventbrite

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Last updated: 22 October 2021