Wednesday 24 January 2024

Some Great Library Events – but where can you find them online?

 Guest post by local historian Philip Grant

Brent Libraries What’s On leaflet for Spring 2024


I know that Brent Libraries have a good programme of free events, and I wanted to let you know about some of them, so I went to my usual online source, the Brent Culture Service Eventbrite site. As you can see, this ‘home of events from Brent Libraries’ has lots of followers, and has previously given access to nearly 500 events for local residents:


But when I scrolled down to find out what was on offer for the next few months, this is what I saw:


I knew that could not be right, because I am “booked” to give a free library talk myself in March! I contacted the Library Development Officers, who organise these events, to find out why there was nothing on Brent’s Eventbrite website, and was told that they have a new one. Instead of Brent Culture Service, it is now called Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage, which I think is a much better description. But how many people know about it?


I tried “googling” that name, but did not get any “hits” for this new Eventbrite website! I got the address from my Brent Libraries contacts, so before I go any further, let me pass it on to you:


You can now pick up a leaflet in your local Brent Library, setting out all the events on offer this Spring. However, it says it the orange sun at the top of the cover picture: ‘Advanced bookings required for most events.’ Those bookings have to be made on Eventbrite, and the leaflet does not give the website address that I’ve just given you above. It does provide a QR code, but if, like me, you are not yet able to use such things, that is little help.


It is a “What’s On” booklet, with the website address printed on the front cover, so surely you can get details of all the Brent Libraries events from that online source, can’t you? That site currently lists 212 events, but:



The events in the Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage booklet are not on the Council’s main What’s On listings, but they must be in the Events section of the “Libraries” pages on the website, mustn’t they? After all, this is headed: 


Library Events - We have lots happening across all our libraries, from regular kids events to family learning. Find out what is happening near you.’ 


I’m afraid you would be disappointed, because all that appear there are the current (“Exploring grief and loss through art”) and next two exhibitions at The Gallery at Willesden Green.


Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage management and Brent Communications really must sort out this lack of effective online publicity for the programme of free events at Brent Libraries! I know that a lot of effort, by Library Development Officers and others, has gone into providing this programme. It is unfair on the local community, as well as on those Libraries, Arts and Heritage staff members, if hundreds of people who could benefit from these events miss out on them because of the current lack of online information.


As well as giving the Eventbrite website address (see link above) I will mention a few events coming up soon which may be of interest to “Wembley Matters” readers.


Five Little Ducks story and craft workshop at Wembley Library


There are regular weekly Booktrust Story and Rhyme Time sessions for under 5s at all six Brent Libraries, but this coming Saturday and Sunday there is also a number of special events for National Storytelling Week at Wembley and Willesden Green Libraries.


Veganuary event at Kingsbury Library on 30 January


Next week’s coffee morning event at Kingsbury Library (Tuesday 30 January, 11.15am) is “Veganuary: Trust your gut!”, making healthy snacks with chef Nishma, of the award-winning vegan food business, Shambhu's.


Ealing Road Library hosts a regular STEM CLUB, providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics workshops for children aged 8-11. The same venue also provides Family Film Club events during half-term and school holidays – the next one is on 15 February, when “The Little Mermaid” is featured.


An author talk at Ealing Road Library on 12 March


Ealing Road Library also has a coffee morning event on Tuesday 12 March at 11am, where you can meet Brent-based author, Manoj Kerai, and find out what inspired him to write his novel, “The Burning Bride”. Kilburn Library has regular coffee morning events as well, the next one is on Wednesday 7 February, as does Harlesden Library, with its next coffee morning on Tuesday 20 February.


I hope this has inspired you to find out, from the Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage Eventbrite site, what free events YOU can enjoy at Brent Libraries over the next few months. 


Philip Grant


P.S. I did mention my next free local history talk, at a Kingsbury Library coffee morning on Tuesday 26 March at 11am, didn’t I?


Anonymous said...

That's great if you can squeeze in between all the residents sitting around to keep warm.

Philip Grant said...

I apologise for a typing error that I failed to spot before sending this article to Martin.

The STEM CLUB events are for children aged 8-11 (eleven)!

Martin Francis said...

Thanks Philip. Corrected.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (24 January at 16:26),

If there are our fellow residents who need somewhere like our libraries to keep warm, I'm sure you would not really begrudge them that comfort.

If they can also enjoy one of the Brent Libraries events at the same time, so much the better!

Philip Grant said...


As regular readers of articles and comments will know, I'm a great believer in letting those in power at Brent Council know if there is something I feel strongly about.

It is not just to complain or criticise, but to try to help them to "get things right", for the benefit of the local community, and Brent Council itself. I'm sure they would do a better job if more people took the trouble to let them know about things that don't seem right (although whether they will listen is often a problem!).

In that spirit, I sent the following email yesterday to the Lead Member responsible for Brent's Libraries, and the Council's communication with its customers. [I attached a pdf copy of my article above, so that the councillor did not have to incur the wrath of The Leader, by visiting the "Wembley Matters" blog!]

This is the full text of my email, headed "Brent Library Events - some online problems which urgently need resolving":

'Dear Councillor Donnelly-Jackson,

I'm sending the attached document to you, because as Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Culture you are best placed to forward it to the Council Officers whose action is required to sort out the problems I have identified.

The document is a copy of an article I've had published online today. It's key sentence, in bold type is:
'Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage management and Brent Communications really must sort out this lack of effective online publicity for the programme of free events at Brent Libraries!'

I began with the intention to write a guest post publicising the programme of events at Brent Libraries (as I've done several times before), but as I've explained and illustrated in the article, finding the details online was a real problem.

Library Development Officers, who I've worked cooperatively with for many years, produce an excellent programme of events. Physical publicity for them, in "What's On" leaflets and on posters displayed in libraries, is usually good. It is access to the information about the events online which really undermines their efforts, and is bound to exclude some local residents from the benefit and enjoyment of them (particularly as for many events, places at them need to be reserved online).

Having set out the problems, my article also gives the correct address for the Libraries, Arts and Heritage Eventbrite website, and publicises some forthcoming events, with "links" to the relevant Eventbrite pages. Now I will set out what I believe to be the action which Brent Officers need to take to address the problems:

1. The redundant Brent Culture Service Eventbrite homepage needs to have a short statement added to it, saying that details of events are now on the Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage Eventbrite website, and providing a "link" to that site.

2. The homepage for Libraries, Arts and Heritage on the Brent Council website needs to have a message saying that details and booking for its events can be found on its Eventbrite website, and provide a "link" to that site.

3. All of the Libraries, Arts and Heritage events need to be included in Brent Council's events system ( ), with a "link" to that when users "click" on the events boxes on the Libraries etc. pages on the Council's website. The details for Libraries, Arts and Heritage events on the Council's events system should also include a "link" to the relevant Eventbrite entry for that event, if booking is required or requested.

When forwarding this email to the Council Officers who need to take this action, please ask them to let you, and me, know when they have sorted out the current unacceptable problems that my article and this email have highlighted. Thank you. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.'

Philip Grant said...


I have received a reply from Cllr. Donnelly-Jackson:

'Dear Philip

Many thanks for your email and attached blog. I’ve asked officers to look into the issues you raise and respond.

Kind regards

Cllr Fleur Donnelly-Jackson

Lead Member for Customers, Communities, and Culture'

Hopefully, this is an example of what local people and councillors (including Cabinet members) can achieve by working together, rather than "the Council" (in its various forms) not listening when residents get in touch with them.

Jayne Aherne said...

I could not agree more - it is so difficult to find events at the library and so many people are missing out on really wonderful opportunities to learn, enjoy and succeed through what is on offer. I have spent ten minutes trying to find what time the Friday morning children's rhyme time/story time is on in Wembley Library and that is how I came upon your site. You are now bookmarked, very grateful

Philip Grant said...

Dear Jayne,

Thank you for your comment, which I have forwarded to my contacts at Brent Libraries, to reinforce the message that they need to improve online information about Library events, and quickly.

Next time you are in a Brent Library, I suggest that you pick up a copy of their "What's On" booklet, if you haven't already got one. (If you can't see them on display, ask a member of library staff - most are pleased to help.)

On page 3 of the Spring booklet you can see the times of the weekly story and rhyme time sessions for all six Brent Council libraries. Underneath are details of the special activities that are taking place at some of the weekly sessions over the next few months.

You can view a copy of the booklet on the Libraries page of the Brent Council website, but even that has some added problems. You used to be able to go to it at, but now it is at:

Trust Brent Council to make their website more user UNfriendly!

Philip Grant said...

To Jayne,

P.S. If you were not able to find the information on the story and rhyme time for under 5s at Wembley Library, this is on Friday mornings (in term time) from 11am to 11.30am.

Next Friday, 9 February, the "Lunar New Year" session is celebrating the Year of the Dragon.

Philip Grant said...


I'm pleased to report a positive response from Brent Libraries to my article above.

You can find the details, and a guide to where you can now find the information you need on the Brent Council website, in a follow-up article: