Formed in 1998, the Friends of West Hampstead Library (FoWHL) is a community organisation consisting of around 400 library users – mostly local residents but also people who work in West Hampstead or are passing through.
Our main aim is to ensure that, at a time of deep cuts in council budgets, the library remains open, and continues to provide the level of core services that library users need and want, and which local residents fund through their council tax.
Like the library itself, membership of FoWHL is free. To become a FoWHL member and receive notice of all future events, or to send an email, click here
If you are not on email, keep an eye on the FoWHL noticeboard (by the lift, inside the library). Or follow us on @FoWHLNW6
comes to the library
Readers of the New Yorker magazine will be delighted to learn that the respected monthly is now available at West Hampstead Library, all thanks to a generous donation from one of the Friends.
As many library users will be aware, owing to ongoing budget cuts over the last few years, Camden Libraries have stopped subscribing to a number of newspapers and journals.
So in May FoWHL put out an appeal to members and first to respond, with her latest copy of the New Yorker, was Janet Nabney.
Thanks Janet, and if you subscribe to a magazine that you think library users might be interested in, and if you are able to hand on your copy within a week or so of the end of the month, then please do get in touch.
(Please note that the library staff must approve the title, that copies should be in good condition and that the library will not be able to retain back copies.)
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Before you head off for your hols, here are some dates to note in your diary:
Saturday September 9 members of FoWHL will be handing out leaflets outside the library once again, this time to promote the Children's Library. Watch out for details of some special activities on that day.
Thursday September 13 the ever popular Tata Isa French music sessions will return after their summer vacances. For more details of their sessions, click here.
Also on Thursday September 13, in the upstairs library, FoWHL is hosting another poetry evening with our Writer in Residence Ted Booth and FoWHL stalwart Flick Rea. Last year Ted and Flick focused on Hampstead Poets, and a glorious evening it was too. This year? We await their deliberations...
Finally on Tuesday October 24 our special guest is musician Graham Gouldman, once of 10cc and for many years one of British pop's most prolific songwriters. Remember 'For Your Love' by the Yardbirds? That was one of Graham's. And 'Bus Stop' by the Hollies. And 'No Milk Today' by Herman's Hermits… the toe-tapping list goes on. Graham will talk about his career, and - whoopee! - he has promised to bring his guitar. (Note: nearer the time we will take bookings for this event via Eventbrite.)
Former residents of Grenfell Tower deserve to have their stories told, North London novelist, Linda Grant told a gathering of the Friends at West Hampstead Library last week (July 5). The Orange prize-winning author of seven novels (photographed above by Janet Nabney) said that reports of the tragedy had so far not brought to the fore the people caught up in the fire, whether as survivors or victims.
Grant, whose latest book, The Dark Circle, was shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize, told the audience that she made the move from Guardian feature writer to novelist after writing articles about ‘the day in the life’ of people caught up in public tragedies, including an IRA bombing. ‘The features editor told me to write about people whose lives were changed by public tragedies - by asking them what happened from the moment they woke up to the end of the day and writing it up in detail.'
'I don’t think journalism like that exists today. Of course we need news reports analysing the background to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. But I can’t help feeling there’s something missing. I would like to know about the everyday lives led by residents of Grenfell Tower and how they came to be caught up in this terrible tragedy. I believe it would also be good for people to hear these stories.'
Born in 1951, Grant grew up in Liverpool in a house where ‘my mother read Harold Robbins and my father Damon Runyon’. She herself had three library tickets ‘which were in use all the time - I'd read all three books and by the end of each week, I'd be back for more. One of my best memories is the time when a brand new modernist library was opened in my suburb of Liverpool. It was the place to be. All I ever wanted was to be a writer.'
The Dark Circle, a story based in a TB sanatorium in Kent during the early years of the NHS, 'is about the late 1940s, a time I’ve always been fascinated by,' Grant explained. 'It was a grim, austere time that predated the prosperous '50s of TV and the Coronation, the decade in which I was born‘.
FoWHL has donated a copy of The Dark Circle to the library, so hopefully it should be on the shelves soon. Meanwhile several of her other novels and non-fiction works can be found both here and at other Camden Libraries plus at our friends and neighbours, West End Lane Books.
Reading Agency's SUMMER READS
• Please note this website supersedes our previous website at www.fowhl.co.uk