Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Libraries latest - August 2012

A lot's been happening in relation to Kensal Rise library recently - so here's a quick update with some stuff about places which are proud of their libraries - Chicago Central Library in particular).

First of all, if you haven't seen this film you must watch it - it's an excellent summary of the last 18 months, bringing us pretty much right up to date...

... to the viewings of Kensal Rise and Cricklewood Libraries organised by Cluttons on behalf of All Souls College at the beginning on August and recent meeting described by Margaret Bailey

"We met with All Souls Friday August 3rd. The meeting was cordial and there was a frank and open discussion by both parties. Thank you to Maggie, Pam and Paula for being a very strong team and putting the case for The Friends of Kensal Rise Library so well.
The College, who said they were sympathetic to our wish to have the library re-open wanted to know that whatever plan was put forward would mean the building had a sustainable future, and this of course means strong finance for leasing or buying the building.
This of course may be difficult for us to achieve, at least initially...... but we do have a plan .........
We continue to talk to other groups who have aims compatible with ours and will be putting our proposal to the College in early September.

Save Kensal Rise Library Fundraising Appeal - Crunch Time!

£14,858 pledged so far
Goal: £70,000 by September 7th 2012

Please put your money where your books should be! Libraries connect communities. Help our fight to prove it.

We urgently need financial support to strengthen our bid to All Souls. We need to raise enough funds to secure the first year of operations (which includes urgent repairs to the building). We have a strong business plan and are confident we can make the library self-sustaining in the long-run. But we need your help now. We are asking residents, friends, businesses and supporters to pledge a donation towards our target of 70K.

We need these pledges urgently - by September 7th when our proposal needs to be with All Souls College. We will only collect a payment if our bid to All Souls is successful. If we are unsuccessful, you will not donate anything.
Please take a moment to watch the video above  to explain more about the cause.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Daniels for their continuous support throughout our campaign, and for being the first local business to pledge 10K towards our target.

Please log on to our website for further details about making a pledge."

I can't put it any better than Margaret!

And Jodi has just tweeted this (in case you didn't see it)
Day 2: An AMAZING £15,500k PLEDGED! Need additional £55k by Sept 7th. PLS DONATE NOW!
In some places they do appreciate their libraries - Chicago, for example

The elevated "loop line" goes right in front of the library building

The library's wonderful gothic lights

No problem about returning your book after hours - you just post it in this bin

Sorry these next photos are a bit rubbish - it's the Library's mission statement from 1935, which they clearly still think applies today,

whereas here in Brent.....Public libraries at our service?  what a crazy idea

Chicago and Brent do have a few things in common - they both have large immigrant populations, areas of poverty, and bored teenagers.  Chicago's response to this is to maintain a large, well stocked and welcoming library in a large, handsome building, where librarians and security guards feel proud of the service they're providing.  I'm not making this up - I spent a whole afternoon exploring all 9 floors of the library and talking to the staff.

And on the ground floor, with its own separate entrance is the privately funded YouMedia center

where some of the art and poetry faces outwards into the street

Have a look at the teens section of their website

My friend Alison (@nemonemonemo) just tweeted this photo of Tromsø library (Tromsø's the Norweigian capital of the Arctic by the way).  What a great looking building, and...

"because of its convenient situation and spectacular architecture, the library has become a natural meeting place for the local citizens, and a "must see" experience for tourists. The vision of the library is to be a model library in the region of northern Norway. In 2006 the library was declared the Best Service Enterprise in Tromsø, an award given on behalf of the citizens of Tromsø. In 2008 the library was nominated as one of three for the award of "Library of the Year" in Norway, while in 2009 a general poll voted the Tromsø Library the best public library of the year."

But back to Kensal Rise library where the local community also have a vision and are as optimistic as ever, now running a children's holiday reading club as well as the pop-up library, and have some great ideas for fund-raising

So, as they say, put your money where your books should be... and please pass it on...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Weeds part 2

Remember the fenced off area of meadow in Hyde Park in the last post with the "Warning Plant Movements" sign?
You couldn't see from my rather dark photo what plants were there - but as well as some yellow and white flowers (sorry to be so unscientific but I just can't remember them) there were a few cornflowers and poppies but also CORNCOCKLE!

So what? Well, corncockle is interesting. It used to be a common weed in wheat fields (like poppies, cornflower and those yellow and white flowers), but you hardly ever see it now thanks to selective herbicides. Back to Richard Mabey's "Weeds. The Story of Outlaw Plants" again.

 This is what he has to say:

"Corncockle, a member of the pink family, with exquisite purple flowers... has seeds which ripen at the same time as wheat, are of much the same size and weight as wheat-ears, and which aren't easily separated out by winnowing. They turn flour - and the bread made from it- grey. The noxious glycosides in the plant, known as saponins, enter the bloodstream and cause a breakdown of red blood corpuscles and other cells. The condition (still common in India) is known as githagism, after the plant's Latin name Agrostemma githago and is characterised by lassitude, yawning, loss of weight and enteritis"

 So you really wouldn't want to be eating that

By the way, I know it's not exactly local, but the North American prairie garden at the British Museum is great.  That's echinacea at the front.  That's a medically useful plant, rather than a toxic one.

The info boards are great, telling you which plants were effective against snakebites and so on

The garden is at the front of the British Museum until the 25th of November.  And if you like taking photos of flowers with columns behind without the bother of finding a real temple (as I do) it's a must.
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