Online events and activities for adults

Library closures

For information about library closures and services at this time, please visit the coronavirus service disruptions and updates page.

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

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

Health and wellness online advice sessions – Thursdays

  • Thursday, 3pm to 4pm

Whatever your health concerns, the Head Librarian from the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust will guide you through reliable sources of healthcare information, enabling you to take control of your health and well-being.

Book your place for Health and wellness online advice sessions on 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 mostly modern and contemporary 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 – monthly on a Saturday

  • 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 free place for Self-Help Book Club via Eventbrite


Special Events

Mexican novelist Juan Rulfom an evening in Comala- Friday 23 April

  • 7pm to 8.30pm

Mexican writer Juan Rulfo is considered one of the finest novelists and short-story creators in 20th century Latin America, though his output, consisting essentially of two books, was very small. His most influential work includes the short story El Llano en llamas, the novel Pedro Paramo and the novella El gallo de oro. Because of the themes of his fiction, he is often seen as the last of the novelists of the Mexican Revolution.

In this online talk, lecturers Olivia Vázquez-Medina, Lucy O'Sullivan and Amit Thakkar discuss different aspects of his work with his son, filmmaker Juan Carlos Rulfo.

Book your place for Mexican novelist Juan Rulfom an evening in Comala on Eventbrite

Shakespeare and the world of theatre - Saturday 24 April

  • 7pm to 8pm

Join Shakespeare enthusiast Steven from neighbouring Pimlico Library as he shares his knowledge, love and history of Shakespearean theatre.

To celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare, our Shakespeare enthusiast, Steven will be virtually discussing why Shakespeare was so pivotal to the world of playwrighting and theatre. Spanning a wild history from Ancient Greece to the 1700se will look at the lesser known period of plays that preceded Elizabethan theatre and how they evolved and grew to create the environment that Shakespeare thrived in.

Covering what is considered one Shakespeare’s greatest plays, Hamlet, we will paint Shakespeare in the context of the intriguing world he wrote in.

A 20 minute Q&A session will take place shortly after Steven's talk. 

Book your place for Shakespeare and the world of theatre on Eventbrite

Insanely Gifted with Jamie Catto – Monday 26 April

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Turn your demons into creative rocket fuel with Jamie Catto. It's time to leave your comfort zone.

From infancy we are taught to edit ourselves, trimming out the darker, weirder, less acceptable parts in order to please others. But this addiction to approval is holding us back. What if we begin to be ourselves, honestly and fully? 

Jamie Catto, musician and author of Insanely Gifted shows us how to transform our thinking and turn our inner demons into allies. His book teaches how to reframe disappointment (because not getting what we want can be as interesting and useful as getting what we want).

Through techniques to become aware of our Inner Critic, and exercises such as full body listening, Jamie invites us to better know our deepest instincts - and unlock our true power. Join us online to find out more.

Book your place for Insanely Gifted with Jamie Catto on Eventbrite

Hitchcock’s composer and the sound of suspense - Tuesday 27 April

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Learn about the dark genius of Bernard Herrmann with producer, director and author Steven C. Smith.

The screeching violins of Psycho’s shower murder, the seductive musical whirlpool of Vertigo, the lonely saxophone that haunts Travis Bickle’s Taxi Driver. These sounds could only come from the dark genius of Bernard Herrmann - the Oscar-winning composer who worked with Hitchcock, Welles and Scorsese.

Join us online to  meet the artist behind the classic scores for North by Northwest, On Dangerous Ground and others, and discover how his explosive personality was matched by intense sensitivity, a compassion for outsiders and a matchless gift for getting inside the drama.

Book your place for Hitchcock’s composer and the sound of suspense on Eventbrite

Two Michelangelos of Rome with Olga Cuckovic – Wednesday 28 April

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Explore the work of two titans of art withwith our Roman envoy, Olga Cuckovic.

Join us online for a fascinating walk through the artistic heritage of two geniuses of the same name without whom Rome would not be the same.

Renaissance sculptor, painter and architect, Michelangelo Buonarotti, marked an era with most of his work done in the Eternal City. The frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, the initial project for the dome and the statue of Pietà at the St Peter’s Basilica may be the most famous, but we will also talk about his revolutionary architectural project of the Capitoline Hill, the transformation of the ancient Roman Baths of Diocletian into a church and the iconic statue of Moses at the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains.

Another genius who represented a turning point in the history of painting was Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio. Twenty five of his paintings, divided between the churches, palaces and museums in Rome, have been attracting the connoisseurs and novel art-lovers alike. Every exhibition that mentions his name has been a blockbuster.

Born a century apart, both Michelangelos introduced innovations without which it would be difficult to imagine in which direction the history of art would have gone without them. This illustrated tour will let you browse through the most famous and striking of their works, trying to capture the ways in which they influenced how we perceive sculpture, painting and architecture today.

Book your place for Two Michelangelos of Rome with Olga Cuckovic on Eventbrite

The Blacksmith and the Bull - family history through poetry and art - Thursday 29 April

  • 7pm to 8pm

Come along to enjoy a cracking story of Balkans bravery and adventure, see some fantastic artwork. Join Kensington and Chelsea librarian, Nina Risoli-Azdajic online in this fusion of poetry, art and family history.

Nina has been a friendly face at Kensington and Chelsea libraries since 1995 and to mark her quarter of a century with the library service, she'd like to share a little bit about her background through this poetry reading and presentation of artwork by the acclaimed artist Sonya Radan - all inspired by the story of Nina's family name - Azdajic, which translates as 'dragon' and derives from the Turkish word for this mythological, fire-blowing creature.

Author Nick Lipley started what turned out to be a year-long project of writing The Blacksmith and the Bull or How A Dragon Was Born after one evening hearing Nina recount the tale of her Bosnian surname. This soon became a joint venture with figurative artist Sonya Radan, who produced a series of acrylic paintings on wood to accompany Nick’s epic-styled poem.

So, come along, hear the story, see some brilliant artwork and learn perhaps, as the poem instructs, ‘to live up to the legends of our names’. As well as a reading of The Blacksmith and the Bull there’ll be a Q&A session with Sonya, Nick and Nina.

Book your place for The Blacksmith and the Bull - family history through poetry and art on Eventbrite

William Davidson and the Cato Street Conspiracy - Friday 30 April

  • 6.30pm to 8pm

Join us online to learn about one of the protagonists of the Cato Street Conspiracy, a daring plot to assassinate the British Prime Minister and his cabinet.

On 1 May 1820, outside Newgate Prison, in front of a huge crowd of onlookers, William Davidson and his fellow Cato Street conspirators—Arthur Thistlewood, James Ings, Richard Tidd and John Brunt— were hanged for high treason. Then they were decapitated in the last brutal act of a murderous conspiracy, ‘The West End Job’ as they’d called it, that aimed to assassinate Prime Minister Lord Liverpool and his cabinet and spark a British version of the French Revolution. 

This talk by Peter Daniel from the City of Westminster Archives Centre will look at events from Davidson’s birth in 1786 to his arrival in Marylebone in 1816 and the final four years of his life and his execution.

Book your place for William Davidson and the Cato Street Conspiracy on Eventbrite

From West End To Waterstones with Davina Elliott - Monday 10 May

  • 7pm to 8pm

Join Davina Elliott online as she talks about her life in the theatre, her Judith Gold trilogy of novels and other writing work. 

Davina has worked on over 100 shows, mostly as a dresser and personal assistant to a variety of actors in the West End, which gave her inspiration for the characters in her books.

Book your place for From West End To Waterstones with Davina Elliott on Eventbrite

Searching for London's lost rivers with Dr Tom Bolton - Tuesday 11 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Join us online to for a journey down through the layers of London to rediscover the lost rivers of her past. 

When people think of rivers and London, they think of the Thames. But the city was built around many other rivers too, and many traces of these can be found for those who know where to look. A secret network of underground rivers snakes beneath the capital. In some places they can be seen and heard.

Join Tom Bolton, a researcher and writer, and the author of London’s Lost Rivers: A Walker’s Guide on this tour of London's lost rivers.

Book your place for Searching for London's lost rivers with Dr Tom Bolton on Eventbrite

American disaster movies with Scott Freer - Wednesday 12 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Join us online and come on a roller coaster trip through the history of disaster movies with Scott Freer.

Dr Scott Freer is an independent scholar and currently employed at Lincoln University. In this talk he will be exploring the secular and religious dimensions of the apocalyptic spectacle, and the role of spectator, in American disaster movies. 

As Scott will argue, the disaster genre is distinctive to American film history. And yet critics have generally taken a dim view of its ‘trashy’ mass appeal, in particular Pauline Kael who likened the destructive spectacle of the 70s’ cycle to the thrills of the amusement park and the Roman orgy of the gladiatorial colosseum.

Book your place for American disaster movies with Scott Freer on Eventbrite

A steel band experience, Celebrating Caribbean Culture - Thursday 13 May

  • 7pm to 8pm

Welcome to our ‘Celebrating Caribbean Culture’ series where we give you an insight into authentic Caribbean culture.

In this online event our host, John ‘Soca Johnny’ David, will be interviewing Andrew Facey of Mangrove Steelband. They will be discussing Mangrove’s origins as a community organisation before we getting into details about their participation in Notting Hill Carnival, UK Panorama and more. You'll also gain an insider's perspective on everything relating to steel pan music here in the UK.

Andrew Facey has been a part of Mangrove from his childhood years. Currently he is responsible for running the band which includes among other things, preparing the band for Notting Hill Carnival/UK Panorama.

The Mangrove Steelband is one of the most prominent in Europe. Formed in 1980 from a ‘Pan Round Neck’ group of the traditional type we have established ourselves as a fully-fledged modern orchestra.

John ‘Soca Johnny’ David is a Caribbean culture enthusiast. In his younger days he was a member of the Mangrove Steel Band and has played with them at multiple events including Notting Hill Carnival, Panorama and multiple international tours. Under his pseudonym ‘Soca Johnny’ he has released many Soca songs and won many awards.

Book your place for A steel band experience, Celebrating Caribbean Culture on Eventbrite

Oracle with author Julie Anderson - Monday 17 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Come along to this author talk about a new thriller set in ancient Delphi which explores issues relevant today.

Oracle by our guest, author Julie Anderson, is about justice - from the brutal, archaic form of blood vengeance prevalent in early human societies to modern systems of law and jurisprudence, set in the context of a democracy. This is the law and equality under the law which allows democracy to thrive and underpins the freedoms and safeguards for individuals within it.

The story is interlinked with Greece's past, as the ancient cradle of democracy and source of many of western ideas of government, but also to its more recent and violent past of military strongmen and authoritarianism in the twentieth century.

Book your place for Oracle with author Julie Anderson on Eventbrite

The Writing Hour with author Joy Rhoades – Monday 17 May

  • 6pm to 8pm

Want to write but having difficulty finding focus? Then join other creative writers once a month, for an hour of silent focused writing. The coordinator, writer and writing teacher Joy Rhoades, will provide a short introduction, which will be followed by 40 minutes of silent writing. Joy will provide a writing prompt too, for those who wish to try a writing exercise.

The writing session will end with volunteers reading a few lines of their work and with a check in to see how writers fared with their time.

These monthly sessions are intended to help you kick-start your creative week with some writing.

Book your free place for The Writing Hour with author Joy Rhoades via Eventbrite

Ironfoot Jack, King of Bohemian Soho with Colin Stanley - Tuesday 18 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Come along to this online event and find out about Ironfoot Jack and his connection to author Colin Wilson.
Jack Rudolph Neave (1881-1959), ‘Ironfoot Jack’, self-styled 'King of the Bohemians’, was a well-known Soho character in pre- and post-war London. He was very much a celebrity in the 1950s and regularly held court in the French coffee bar on Old Compton Street. His great philosophical mantra was that he ‘worked to live; and did not live to work’.

He bought and sold all manner of objects, read horoscopes, tipped horses, interpreted dreams, hawked cough-cures, he made cheap jewellery, he blended scents - anything that would help him to 'solve the problem of existence' for that particular day. As far as the law was concerned, he sailed pretty close to the wind at times and indeed was scuppered on a few occasions.

His rich and enthralling story of a lifestyle now gone forever was dictated as his portrait was being painted by the artist Timothy Whidborne. He entrusted his memoirs to a Soho acquaintance, the author Colin Wilson, following the success of his book The Outsider in 1956. Despite his efforts, Wilson failed to find a publisher and, after his death, the manuscript was discovered among his papers by his bibliographer, our guest Colin Stanley. He edited The Surrender of Silence on which this talk is based.

Book your place for Ironfoot Jack, King of Bohemian Soho with Colin Stanley on Eventbrite

James Mason, the man that got away - Wednesday 19 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Join us for this online talk celebrates the work of one of Britain’s greatest film actors. James Mason was indisputably the biggest British film star of the 1940s, a golden era for the national industry.

Launched by The Man in Grey (1943), he quickly became identified with brutish villainy in a series of wildly popular Gainsborough melodramas such as The Wicked Lady (1945). His romantic appeal was then confirmed by his role as Ann Todd’s remote, sadistic guardian in The Seventh Veil (1945). Mason also appeared in more critically respectable films during this period, notably Odd Man Out (1947), but he was frustrated by his image, and found the British film industry parochial and unadventurous.

Mason left for Hollywood in 1947, and was based there for over a decade. He never achieved the mainstream success he sought, or ever really escaped his villainous image, but he appeared in a number of exceptional films, including The Reckless Moment (1949), A Star is Born (1954), Bigger than Life (1956) and North by Northwest (1959). He later judged his American venture as a mistake, but he looks in retrospect to have made some of the most interesting films, and worked with some of the most important directors, of the era. 

This talk will discuss his image and career in this period, the hommes fatal he played so well, the portrayals of barnstorming brutes as well as the nuanced depictions of failure and despair. It will also consider his corresponding public persona, which was characterised by blunt criticisms of both the British and Hollywood industries.

Book your place for James Mason, the man that got away on Eventbrite

A Day in Rome with Olga Cuckovic - Tuesday 25 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Discover your own Rome with the expert guidance with our Roman envoy, Olga Cuckovic. What to do if you only have one day in Rome? We all know there is an embarrassment of choice, but what do you do if you have never been and don’t know where to start?

Imagine you don’t have any reservations that would interfere with your itinerary and join us on this whirlwind tour to find out what is best to do in Rome at different times of the day.

If you believe you need some guidance and advice in advance of this special day, follow our Roman envoy, Olga Cuckovic, on this practical and multi-layered visit. Find out what choices you have on different days of the week, which meals are typical for the region and learn a few words that will get you new Roman friends instantly.

Book your place for A Day in Rome with Olga Cuckovic on Eventbrite

In conversation with director Mike Leigh - Wednesday 26 May

  • 7pm to 8.30pm

Join us online to meet acclaimed director, Mike Leigh in conversation with library staff.

We are thrilled to present this interview with the award-winning director of such classics as Naked, Secrets and Lies ,Vera Drake and Peterloo, to name just a few of his extensive opus. Here is your chance to hear from the great man himself about his creative process, where he finds inspiration and how he goes about writing his scripts.

We are particularly interested in finding out about his work as a writer and how the written word relates to his work as a director. We want to know how he feels about books and libraries and how these have influenced his work.

This promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans of Mike Leigh’s to hear the great director in an informal setting of a conversation with library staff. Mr Leigh has kindly agreed to take some questions from the audience at the end, so get your questions ready.

Book your place for In conversation with director Mike Leigh on Eventbrite

Truth is Dead with photographer Alison Jackson - Thursday 27 May

  • 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Do cameras tell the truth? Find out at our online event with BAFTA-winning photographer Alison Jackson.

We are thrilled to welcome Alison Jackson, a multi award-winning artist, photographer and filmmaker who will present her recent Truth is Dead series featuring evocative photographs in which look-a-like doubles pose as public figures, celebrities and royals.

From Kim Kardashian to the Queen of England, these doppelgängers simulate intimate, and even exposed situations to raise questions about celebrity culture and the public desire for gossip.

Stemming from her initial hatred towards the medium of photography, Jackson is 'proving that it is easy to lie, that the camera lies, and that you cannot trust your view on photography'.

Book your place for Truth is Dead with photographer Alison Jackson on Eventbrite

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