Do More

…In Redbridge!

Leave a comment

The Cat in the Hat family fun!


On Saturday we headed to a reading of The Cat in the Hat by the world famous Dr Suess at Barkingside (Fullwell Cross) library.

The event was held outside and benches were lined up in front of the steps ready for the performance. Prior to the show starting people from the event were making balloon animals up and down the high street.

The performance was put on by The Discovery Centre who are based in Stratford in partnership with the Vision Redbridge Culture Team. If you haven’t been to The Discovery Centre yet I cannot recommend it highly enough, the 2 people performing  were really good and interacted well with the parents and children and really brought the story to life.

There was even a surprise visit at the end by The Cat in the Hat himself!

Once the performance was over with there was a chance to have your photo taken with the cat and his car, obviously I jumped at the chance of this.


We then headed inside the library to take a look at the arts and crafts that included face painting for £1.50 and making items from the story including  a hat like the cat’s, these were all free.

It was a great way to spend a few hours locally and not spend any money!

To see what other events are on take a look at Vision’s Do More guide.

Maybe I’ll get to see you and say hello at an event!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.


Leave a comment

Reading in a digital world


Reading for me is a deeply ingrained need and not having a book immediately to hand is like having a part of me missing. Even so, carrying a heavy paperback in a Mary Poppins size bag doesn’t create that glamorous image I aspire to when going into central London on a date or night out. However, the thought of sitting on the noisy, crowded Central line train for an hour with nothing to do but people watch or listen to the thud, thud of bass notes leaking from someone’s headphones fills me with dread and anticipated boredom. Pokemon Go doesn’t work underground and I’ve never got into candy crush (I’d far rather read). Luckily, I always have books downloaded, both on my phone and mini iPad, so I can disappear into the parallel universe of a novel whenever I’m travelling.

It is also very useful to have when the date I’ve arranged to meet in a particular coffee shop at a certain time turns up somewhat late. There’s nothing worse than sitting like Billy-no-mates at a table on your own, staring into the bottom of a cup of lukewarm tea.

Sadly, I’m not as young as I used to be (who is?), so have to make more of an effort to fight old age. Exercise is good for you – so they say. Hence my membership at Fullwell Cross gym. The only problem (apart from aching muscles and exhaustion) is that I find pedalling on a bike or working on the cross trainer deadly dull. Time drags watching the seconds click by. I’ve tried reading paperbacks but my ability to multi-task doesn’t stretch to cycling, reading and holding pages open with one hand at the same time. But with my iPad it’s easy. It sits happily propped in front of me and I just need to tap it to turn to the next page. I have the same book downloaded as on my phone and other devices (okay, I admit I’m a geek) and joy of joy it automatically asks me if I want to sync to the latest point read. The screen even tolerates the odd drop of sweat that proves I’ve had a good workout or that the air-con in the gym isn’t working.

So, while I still love reading physical books, I wouldn’t be without eBooks on my phone, iPad and computer. The only place where I would never read an eBook is in the bath. Water and devices are to be avoided at all costs as I know too well from experience – and expense.

Post Author: Nina Simon

On Friday 16 September readers around the world are celebrating eBook Day! Redbridge Libraries offer a free eBook download service via Overdrive. For more information on how to download free eBooks please visit our website.

Join in on our celebrations and tell us how you’ll be enjoying eBook Day by using the hashtag #eBookLove across Social Media!


Leave a comment

Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2016

On Thursday 7 July 2016, over 230 enthusiastic readers, budding writers along with their school librarians and teachers celebrated this year’s Redbridge Children’s Book Awards in a buzzing, exciting ceremony at Redbridge Town Hall.

Students from seventeen secondary schools and eight primary schools across Redbridge, Havering and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2015.

With such a vast and amazing selection of books voted upon, the final winners were announced. Car-jacked by Ali Sparkes, won the Children’s category and One by Sarah Crossan won the Teenage Category.

Ali Sparkes

We were delighted to have three of the shortlisted authors present at the awards ceremony – Ali Sparkes, Holly Bourne and Teri Terry.  Unfortunately Sarah Crossan, winner of the teenage award, was unable to attend but sent a lovely message.

I’m so delighted to have won The Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2016. Regional awards are so important in inspiring young people to try new books, and I’m just so sad I can’t be there to celebrate the shortlisted titles. I really hope you’ve all enjoyed reading the books and I do hope to meet some of you soon for book chats. Lots of love, Sarah.

The event was also an opportunity for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions that took place across the schools to be presented with their prizes. The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.


It was a tough decision for the judges, as there were so many great entries to choose from! Mia Thomas from Fairlop Primary won the junior poetry competition with her poem, 5 SensesAyesha Ahmed from Woodford County High School won the teenage category with the poem Am I Invisible. Suamaya Zanab from Wanstead High School won the junior short story competition with her story, ChangeAnnie Walker from Wanstead High School won the teenage category with her story, The Miserable Life of Ernie Thomas.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the event, especially the authors who gave up their time to be present, students and teachers who participated so enthusiastically and a very special thank you to my team in the Redbridge Schools’ Library Service who worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure the afternoon was such a success.


The book award is organised by Redbridge Schools’ Library Service and sponsored by MLS (Micro Librarian Systems).

Nina Simon, Redbridge Schools’ Library Service

Leave a comment

Holly Black and Emily Lockhart get the kids votes in the Redbridge Children’s Book Awards 2015

Reading for pleasure and creative writing is thriving in Redbridge schools.  On Thursday 25 June 2015, around 200 young readers, budding writers and their school librarians and teachers celebrated this year’s Redbridge Children’s Book Awards in a vibrant, exciting ceremony at Redbridge Town Hall.

Students from 14 secondary schools and 9 primary schools across Redbridge and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2014.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra, won the Children’s category and We Were Liars by E Lockhart won the Teenage Category.

          RCBA 2015 Authors and children               RBA 2015 Authors

We were delighted to have six of the shortlisted authors, Sita Brahmachri, Kevin Brooks, Keren David, A.F. Harrold, Polly Ho-Yen and Bali Rai, attend.  They answered varied questions from eager students and signed copies of their books.  Emily Lockhart, who was unable to attend, sent a message saying “I am honoured and happy.  Libraries have been my home since childhood and they are home to so many children and teens.  Long may we all read and share and celebrate books.”

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes by the Mayor, Cllr Barbara White.  The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.

Esther Ukhueleigbe from Ray Lodge Primary School won the years 6 and 7 poetry competition with her poem, Make it GreenKanishk Panchal from The Palmer Academy, Ilford  won the year 8 and above category with the poem Our Cursed Elements.

Jessica Johnson from Wanstead High School won the years 6 and 7 short story competition with her story, My Father, The WomanFreddie Cochran from Wanstead High School won year 8 and above  category  with his story, The Shirt.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Our thanks to everyone who attended, especially the authors who gave up their time to be present and who made the afternoon so special, students and teachers who participated so enthusiastically and most of all, the Redbridge Schools’ Library Service team who worked  very hard behind the scenes to ensure the afternoon was such a success.

The book award is organised by Redbridge Schools’ Library Service and sponsored by MLS (Micro Librarian Systems).

Nina Simon
Manager Redbridge Schools’ Library Service

Leave a comment

National Libraries Day: Users Reveal What the Library Means to Them

Every year, libraries everywhere provide joy, help and knowledge to their community. From their countless shelves lined with books waiting to be read, to the fantastic staff who help organise all the activities, there’s always something to gain from spending time at the library. That is why on Saturday 7 February National Libraries Day was celebrated, to appreciate all the wonderful things that the library does for its users. I went to Redbridge Central Library to see what was going on to mark the occasion.

It was very fitting to mark the whole occasion on the birthday of one of the most widely read and loved authors, Charles Dickens. So it only seemed right to have a Victorian theme running through the celebrations on the day. Nick Dobson was on hand to provide an insight into the life and career of Charles Dickens through pictures and readings from actor Allan Yeoman. Something a little bit more creative for the children was the crafts session where you could make your very own Victorian set of accessories including hats and fans. Seeing all the finished products almost transported you right back to the 1800s!

NLD mans comments

I was very lucky to have been given the task of finding out what the library really means to the community. Armed with a camera, clipboard and coloured pens I asked children, students and adults to complete the sentence ‘to me, the library is…’ to understand what it is that they will be celebrating about the library. I had some fantastic responses. Some people had so many answers they had to write them all down. Many of the students seemed to mainly appreciate the peaceful surroundings in the study areas, allowing them the right environment to succeed in their studies. The younger library-goers seemed to love the books and the activities on offer at the library. Other people wanted to celebrate specific services of Redbridge Central Library, including Redbridge Museum and the fantastic Heritage Services.

NLD boys comments

Being at the library on any day is always a great experience, but being there on National Libraries Day really makes you truly appreciate everything that the library is and does. Without the library, where would we be? I asked myself this as I walked away from the studying students, the cheerful children and all the other people enjoying what the library has to offer. I realised just how fortunate I am to have such a great facility on my doorstep.

Visit the website for more information on your local library

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar

Leave a comment

A celebration of libraries and the Arts: Fabula Festival is a true success!

After hearing about the library being jam-packed on Saturday, for the first full day of the Fabula Festival, I did not want to miss out. So, I went to along on Sunday to enjoy the talks, stalls and the company!

There’s something about being in the library on a Sunday, when it’s not usually open, that makes it feel all the more exciting. The doors opened at 11am and the library was ready to welcome everyone and anyone who wanted to enjoy the various authors coming to discuss their books and the creative workshops to get those creative juices flowing!

Fabula Festival is all about celebrating libraries and the arts, so it was really great to see people of all ages walk through those doors as it proved that there really is something for everyone at the library. A personal favourite of mine was the Ubuntu Arts workshop that had a glorious array of colourful beads, paper and decorations to create your own greetings card – be it for a birthday or a wedding, there was a chance to make any card you could think of.

Even I got stuck in with this one and was delighted to hear that everyone was enjoying themselves. There was a gentle buzz of children whizzing around the library for the treasure hunt and excited murmuring of the crowds waiting to see their favourite author. It really was the perfect way to relax on a Sunday afternoon, I thought to myself as I reached over for the box that overflowed with sequins and ribbons.

Fabula butterfly girlFabula boys cards

Not far away from the greetings card stall was Knitters which also attracted young children, parents and grandparents. One little girl beamed with excitement as she exclaimed her intent on making a woolly hat – yes, what a smart and convenient idea for this chilly time of year!

Just behind the Ubuntu Arts stall was a heart drawn on the window and in the heart were all these fingerprints of people who had visited the festival. Not only was it pretty to look at because of all the different colours people had chosen for their fingerprints, but it was a way of physically capturing the wonder of the Fabula Festival.

Fabula heart

There was also a very important guest at the festival. The Deputy Mayor of Redbridge popped by and perused the goings-on and she even left her fingerprint on the window display! 

I peeped around to see what else was going on and found the ‘Restart Party’ which was offering help and advice about maintaining and repairing technology – something that we can all benefit from these days! There was also a cake decorating workshop that got everyone’s mouths watering. All the author events were extremely popular which was more than understandable as they included: Clive Bloom, Khalil Ali and Claudia Lord-Lynch.

You could just tell that the day would be a successful one. As big groups left the library all in a good mood after the events, more people entered, ready to experience the Fabula Festival!

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar

1 Comment

The Summer Reading Challenge Proves To Be A Rewarding Experience For Both Young Readers And Volunteers

My name is Simi and I am currently volunteering as a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer at Redbridge Central Library. I wanted to become a volunteer because I see it as a good opportunity for me to work with children and young people as I want to work with children in the future. As an avid reader myself, I also wanted to encourage reading amongst children.

At the start, I was provided with my own name tag and Mythical Maze t-shirt (which I must say, is pretty comfortable!) I particularly enjoy having conversations with the children about what they love about reading their favourite book. From what I’ve seen, some young children love it when they are asked even the simplest questions about the books they read such as their favourite characters and favourite part of the book.

What I find challenging is communicating with young people around the age of 7-9 years because they often lose interest in reading. I found that children below the age of 6 are more engaged in reading books, maybe because the books they read have pictures that relate to the story whereas older children read books that have less illustrations. So the challenge for me is to get them to maintain their interest in their books.

Working at the library provides me with a safe and quiet working environment and also a chance to persuade parents to encourage their children to join the Reading Challenge as often, the parents approach me and ask me to suggest books for their children.

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is based on a “Mythical Maze” – and what a wonderful theme it is! Children love to explore and that is exactly what the word mythical suggests. It promises magical things for them to discover and enjoy. The great thing about volunteering as a reading activist is giving out prizes, often the final prize which is the medal, certificate and the last sticker for their maze. Some of the younger kids enjoy receiving their prizes which also acts as an incentive for them to read more books and get more prizes.

It’s always fun talking to children and young people and interacting with the other volunteers. The staff are also very helpful and encouraging. It can also boost your confidence and improve interpersonal skills. I would definitely recommend volunteering at your local library for the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge. As for me, I will definitely be looking forward to volunteering again next year.

For more information on volunteering visit the Libraries page on the Redbridge-i

Guest Author: Simi Menon