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Mum reading to toddler

What's on in Hackney libraries

Children readingSummer at Hackney Libraries

Have a look at our amazing free workshops and performances this summer and make sure you join us for a programme with a difference.

Join the Summer Reading Challenge, produced by the Reading Agency. Read six books and get your medal and rewards along the way. This year's magical theme is 'Mythical Maze'.

Sign up for the Arts Awards Discovery and get your unique and nationally recognised qualification this summer. For children aged 5 to 15 years old.

Summer events guide

Volunteer with us this summer

Are you aged 12-17? Would you like to:

  • gain valuable work experience and employment references,
  • contribute to your community,
  • develop confidence and social skills, and
  • have fun?


Pop into your local library for more information.

Reading activists

Reading activists is a creative reading and writing project across England, led by young people.

We are looking for people aged 12-17 to get involved and help set up reading and writing hubs in their local libraries, giving them opportunities to volunteer, run events and activities and contribute to the website. If you have an interest in creative writing or reading activities or have a project we can run in the libraries, we would love to hear from you.

There are three reading activists groups: Clapton Library,  Dalston CLR James Library and Hackney Central Library. To get involved come to an event, pop into your local library or email

Clapton Library

Arts Awards discovery session

29 August 2pm-3.30pm

For children working towards their Arts Awards Discovery qualification. Come along and complete your booklet at the library. Ages 5-15.

Chatterbooks reading group (ages 8-12)

Every third Wednesday of the month, 4pm-5pm

Are you aged 8-12? Do you like reading, talking about books, and meeting new kids? Clapton's new Chatterbooks reading group meets every third Wednesday of the month, 4pm-5pm. Just come along and join in the fun! Contact or call 020 8356 1620 for more information.

University of the 3rd Age (U3A)

This is a self-help group that is continuously evolving, and suitable for people who are no longer in full-time employment, but believe that 'learning is for life'. Sessions are available on the following days:

  • 1st Tuesday of month, 2pm-4pm, Science
  • 4th Tuesday of month, 2pm-4pm, Book Reading Group
  • 1st and 3rd Friday of month, 2pm-4pm, Philosophy

Visit for more information.

Under 5s session

Every Thursday, 11am-12pm

Term time only. Stories, games and toys for little ones and a place for parents and carers to have a chat and make new friends.

Reading group for adults

First Thursday of the month, 6.30pm-8pm

For more information about what we are reading visit the Clapton Library reading group's blog.

To join the group please email , call 020 8356 1620 or pop in to the library.

Regular class visits from local schools

The library is happy to accommodate regular class visits from local schools. If your school is interested in participating, contact Clapton Library to discuss with a member of library staff.

The Wordlovers Society

Second Tuesday and last Thursday of each month, 5.30-7.45pm. 

A group for anyone interested in poetry and creative writing. Please bring some of your own written work to read out or perform to the group. All levels very welcome. Facilitated by writer KG Lester. For more information email


Dalston C.L.R. James Library

Hackney Community Law Centre

Every Tuesday, 6pm-8pm

Free legal advice for consumer and debt issues, please call  020 7633 4531, leave a message with your name and contact details to book a place.

Ping pong for over 50s

Every Wednesday, 11am-12 noon

Fun and fitness in this weekly session.

Under 5s Storytime

Every Thursday, 11am-12 noon

Fun storytelling session with music and refreshments.

Under 5s toy library

Every Friday, 10am-12 noon

A wide range of toys to play and borrow, run by the Seabright Children's Centre.

Children's games club

Every Friday, 4pm-5pm

Try amazing board games and have fun in this exciting club. For children 5+.  Children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult.

Baby rhymetime

Every Saturday, 11am-12noon

Fun storytelling and rhyme sessions with toys and musical instruments. 

NHS Stroke Drop-ins

Every second and fourth Monday of the month, 11am-5pm

Reading activists

Every third Monday of the month, 5.30pm-6.30pm

Are you 11-19 years old? Then get involved with your local library with opportunities to volunteer, run events and contribute to reading activists websites.

Chatterbooks reading group

Every fourth Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm-5.30pm

A reading group for 8-12 year olds, a time to have fun with people your own age talking about books you like, quizzes, competitions and prizes.

Creative writing with AMBA African and Caribbean Heritage Writers Group

Every fourth Tuesday of the month, 5.45pm-7.45pm

This mutual support group welcomes novelists, short-story writers, playwrights, poets and other creative writers of all abilities and experience. Free 18+ and facilitated by Ngoma Bishop, please contact:

Creative writing for children

Every first Wednesday of the month, 4.30pm-5.30pm

Are 7-14 years old? Come and take part in this fun writing group.

Hackney Film Club

First Thursday of every month, 5.30pm

Showing new and cult films from international film festivals. Free film screenings for all library members aged over 16 years. For more information and bookings see the Facebook page, ask library staff or contact

Adult reading group

Every fourth Friday of the month, 6.45pm-7.45pm

Come along to this session to discuss the month's chosen book. 

Councillor surgeries 

The surgeries are held on a rota basis as follows, drop-in sessions: 

  • First Thursday of the month, 6.30pm-7.30pm
  • Second Saturday of the month, 12 noon-1pm
  • Third Friday of the month, 6.30pm-7.30pm 


Hackney Central Library

BAREtruth Theatre presents Little Stitches directed by Alex Crampton - Four plays about FGM (Readings)

Tuesday 2 September, 6pm-7.30pm

Some 140 million women and girls worldwide have suffered FGM.  In the UK an estimated 66,000 women have been affected by FGM, and, despite being criminalized nearly 30 years ago, there has only been a single prosecution. BAREtruth brings together four writers to explore the human stories behind the statistics. This event is free and open to everyone.

The Health Spot: Gaby's Kitchen: healthy salsa and dips

Tuesday 2 September, 11am-1pm

Come and find out how to make a selection of healthy salsa and dips including guacamole, spicy bean dip and red pepper and cucumber salsa with Gaby's kitchen. Places are limited, so please book by contacting Hackney Central Library. 

The Health Spot: Blood pressure checks

Tuesday 2 September, 12am-2pm

Get your blood pressure checked from 12 to 2pm. TLC Care Services Outreach Community Health Advisors provide NHS Health Checks and health MOTs (blood pressure checks and BMI) that can help you to prevent heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and kidney disease. Part of The Health Spot's September focus on blood pressure awareness (Incorporating 'Know Your Numbers' - National Blood Testing Week).

Chatterbooks Reading Dragons - reading group for boys

Thursday 18 September, 4pm-5pm

Are you aged between 8-12 years old ? Do you enjoy books and reading? Do you like quizzes, competitions and games? Do you want to have fun with people your own age and talk about the books you like?

September's book is Shoutykid: How Harry Riddles Made a Mega-Amazing Zombie Movie by Simon Mayle.

Coffee, cake and book group

Thursday 2 October, 10.30-11.30am

A lively book group focusing on classics and international texts. For lovers of Austen to Tolstoy via Dostoevsky and cake. At our next meeting we will be discussing Map of Love by Adhaf Soueif. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, 1999, in The Map of Love, Ahdaf Soueif weaves an account of the consequences of British imperialism and the fierce political battles of the Egyptian Nationalists through the love story of Anna Winterbourne and Sharif al-Baroudi set against the continuing political turmoil of the Middle East. Please collect your copy at Hackney Central or reserve online through the library catalogue. For further information or to be added to the book group's mailing list please email and

The Health Spot: Knitting workshop with St. John at Hackney

Tuesday 7 October, 11am-1pm

If you'd like to learn to knit, need to improve your technique or just want to exchange tips and tricks or moans and groans, this session is for you. Provided by St. John at Hackney. Places are limited, so please book by contacting Hackney Central Library.

The Health Spot: Stop smoking 

Tuesday 7 October, 12am-2pm

Want to quit smoking? The NHS Stop Smoking Service will be in the Health Spot from 12-2pm to give you advice on how stopping smoking will change your life for the better. Part of the Health Spot's October focus: Stoptober.

The Health Spot: Men's health talk and massage tasters with Hands Inc. 

Tuesday 4 November, 6pm-7.30pm

Come and get a free massage at the Men's Health session. Hands Inc. will run the session and they offer a variety of activities to help you keep body, mind and spirit in balance. There will also be a talk from a guest speaker. Places are limited, so please book by contacting Hackney Central Library.                                              

The Health Spot: Prostate Cancer UK

Tuesday 4 November, 12-2pm

Prostate cancer may affect your life, work and relationships but there are ways to deal with these changes. There are different treatments available for different types of prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer UK can help you to understand the options. Only men have a prostate, it sits beneath the bladder and is about the size of a walnut and can grow larger as men get older. Part of November's Health Focus: Movember (Men's health).

The Reading Activists @ Central

Are you 11-19 years old? Then why not get involved with your local library? There are loads of opportunities to volunteer, run events and contribute to the Reading Activists website. Come along to our next meeting or if you would you like to find out more pop into your local library or email

The Reading (Lane) book group

Every third Wednesday of the month 6.30-7.30pm.

A lively book group discussing contemporary, provocative and exciting fiction in a friendly and informal reading space. At our next meeting on 17 September, we will be discussing The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. At 848 pages, full of narrative,and an original structuring device, The Luminaries is a richly evoking text of a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust and a gripping mystery. For further information or to be added to the book groups' mailing list please email or

Punchy Brunch

Every third Thursday, 1pm-2.30pm, women only

Ladies, are you busy trying to get your cash flow going, networking, planning your next venture or multi-tasking to the hilt? Is the big question 'when do you find time for you'?

Come along to Punchy Brunch to share your tips and ideas with other like-minded women on how we can live our lives at optimum health by making sure we balance both body and mind. Each month we'll discuss a different topic (new topics welcome) and occasionally we'll have a guest speaker. Relaxed yet informative. Bring along your light brunch and let's get on the road to being healthy and wealthy. 

Career advice service

Every Tuesday, 10am-5pm

If you would like help developing your CV or help searching for and applying for jobs,  book an appointment with an NCS Career Advisor. You can explore your career options, discuss training routes and get help to develop an action plan to help achieve your goals. 45 minute appointments available throughout the day - please contact 020 7247 2428 or speak to library staff for further details.

Teenage reading group

First Wednesday of the month, 6pm-7.30pm

This group is currently on holiday and will resume in September. The teenage reading group is a reading group for young people aged 13 and over. Why not join our group? You get to choose the book, have a great time talking about it and it's a fun way to meet new people. Please speak to a member of staff for further details. 

Free community law shop sessions

Every Monday, 2pm-5pm

These free sessions let Hackney residents speak to qualified advisors about their housing, employment, immigration, welfare benefits and debt problems. The sessions are kindly sponsored by the Council and Matrix chambers. No appointment necessary.

Kids' chess club

Fortnightly on a Saturday, 2pm-4pm, ages 7-14

All players welcome - from beginners to the more advanced. 

Health checks with TLC Care Services and the Stroke project.

Fortnightly on a Wednesday, 11am-4pm

Everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes or kidney disease. The good news is that these conditions can often be prevented - even if you have a history of them in your family. Have your free NHS health check at these special drop-in sessions at the Central library and you will be better prepared for the future and be able to take steps to maintain or improve your health.

The ESOL carry on reading group

First Thursday of every month, 6pm-7.30 pm

A group for English learners who want to improve their reading and speaking and meet new people, run by an ESOL qualified teacher. This is not a class, it is an informal group where we read and discuss books. For further information please contact Lisa on or phone on 020 8356 3000.

Under 5s story session

Fridays, 11am-12noon

These sessions will not run during the summer holidays. Please contact the library for dates.

Toy library

Tuesdays, 10am-12noon

A wide range of toys to play with and borrow. Age 5 and under - just turn up. Run by the Ann Tayler Children's Centre (Term-time only).

Exhibitions at Central library

Did you know the Central library has exhibition space available for the use of local people, community groups and organisations? If you are interested in putting on an exhibition or for further details please contact adrian.morris@hackney

Central Library user group 

Do you love your library? We will be holding meetings at Hackney Central Library 3 times a year where customers can discuss the library with us. We want to know what you think of the library; what aspects you like and what you feel could be improved. The first meeting was held in March 2014. If you are interested in attending our next meeting please speak to a member of staff or email


Homerton Library

Homerton Family Film Club - Disney's Aladdin

Saturday 6 September, 2pm-4.30pm

No unaccompanied minors, adults or genies. Flying carpets allowed.

Chatterbooks reading group launch event - film showing: Holes

Thursday 11 September, 4pm-6pm

If you're 8-12 years old and enjoy reading, then why not come and join our Chatterbook Reading Group? We'll kick off our launch party with the film 'Holes'. Popcorn and refreshments will be provided. For more info contact Homerton Library on 020 8356 3000 or email or

Vital EET Supplementary School

Mondays and Tuesdays, 4pm-6pm and Saturdays, 10.30am-12.30pm

Vital EET Supplementary School offers Primary, Secondary and 6th Form academic tuition for age group 5-18 years during both term and holiday time as well as various adult courses and the Mayor of London Brighter Futures Mentoring Programme for boys aged 10-16 in Hackney.

To find out more and/or register, call: 07970 327 743/07541 909 634 or email:

Adults' reading group

Third Monday of the month, 6.30pm-7.45pm

The next session will take place on 15 September 2014. We will discuss The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. New members welcome. Contact: or Homerton Library: tel. 0208 356 3000.

Storytime for under 5s

Tuesdays, 11am-12pm

A fun storytelling and toys session for under 5s in the children's library. Come and listen to stories, music, play, participate in simple activities and socilaise with other parents and children. Just turn up. Term time only.

Contact: Homerton Library 020 8356 3000


Shoreditch Library

Mythical Maze Games workshop

29 August, 2.00-3.30pm

Adventurous, thrilling game playing sessions for young people interested in this summer's reading challenge. Ages 5-11.

Adult reading group

Every second Thursday evening, 6.30pm-7.45pm

After a break for the summer the next meeting is on the 11 September, when we'll talk about Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres. You can pick up a copy of the book from the library. For more information contact Siobhan Downes on 

Baby rhyme and bookcrawl

Every Wednesday, 2pm-3pm

Join us for an enjoyable storytelling and baby rhyme sessions with toys and musical instruments. Refreshment provided. These sessions will not run during the summer holidays.

Computer sessions for people with learning disabilities

Every Thursday, 2-4pm

Just drop in.

Chatterbooks reading group

First Monday of every month, 4pm-5pm

  • Are you aged between 8-12 years old?
  • Do you enjoy books and reading?
  • Do you like quizzes, competitions and games?
  • Do you want to have fun with people your own age and talk about the books you like?

Contact the library for more information.

Drop-in sessions

Every Friday, 10.15am-1pm in the ICT suite

  • Computing for beginners
  • Employability skills
  • Book club
  • Level 1 award in personal money management
  • Combined teacher/assessor (PTLLS) course

Interested? Just turn up or Contact Tanya 020 7467 1327 or Phil 07880 558 695.

Hoxton East and Shoreditch Ward Councillors' surgery

First Saturday of each month, 10.30am to 11.30am

Therapeutic reading group

Every Monday, 1pm-3pm

An informal group meets to read aloud and discuss short stories and poems in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. People who have been suffering from depression or mental ill-health are particularly welcome. For more information please ask library staff or call Leon Oliver on 020 8316 8736 or e-mail


Stamford Hill Library

Krypton Training

First Wednesday of the month

Krypton Training, supported by Hackney Libraries, provide help with: 

  • filling out application forms
  • writing covering letters
  • CV techniques
  • self-employment
  • customer care
  • motivational skills
  • one-to-one personalised sessions
  • interview techniques

No booking necessary; just turn up on the day.  

Dance, drama and creative writing

Mondays, 10.30am-2pm

From the University of the 3rd Age, a self help group that believes that learning is for life.

Pilates and Tai Chi

Mondays, 2pm-4.30pm

From the University of the 3rd Age, a self help group that believes that learning is for life.

Folk dancing

First Wednesday of the month, 10.30am-12.30pm

From the University of the 3rd Age, a self help group that believes that learning is for life.

Councillor's surgeries

  • New River ward. 2nd Monday of the month 4pm-5pm and last Sunday of the month 1pm-2pm.
  • Springfield ward. 2nd Monday of the month 4pm-5pm.

Meet your local councillors to discuss issues affecting your area.

Akaba: creating steps to employment, education and training

Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm

Akaba is a Nigerian Yoruba word that means steps or ladder. The Akaba project helps African and Caribbean men with emotional difficulties  find suitable employment or training. Akaba accepts referrals from statutory and voluntary agencies as well as self referrals. For more information contact Laura Fontaine on 020 8211 1656 or

Meditation for the over 50s with Amarjit

Every Friday, 1.30pm-2.30pm

Learn how to relax and reduce stress with free meditation sessions.
For further information or to become an AgeWell member contact 020 7241 5909.

Adult reading group

First Thursday of the month, 6.30pm-7.30pm

For more information please contact or call 020 8356 1964.

Computer sessions for people with learning disabilities

Every Wednesday, 10am-12pm
Just drop-in.

Under 5s session

Every Wednesday, 2pm-3pm

Join the staff at Stamford Hill Library throughout the year for storytelling and baby rhyme sessions, craft activities, musical instruments and toys. We provide refreshments and give away stickers when you attend any of the sessions and everytime you collect five stickers you will get one of the ten beautiful Book Crawl certificates.


Last Wednesday of the month, 4.30-5.30pm

A fun reading group for children aged 8-12. For more information please contact or call 020 8356 1964.

Toy library 

Every Tuesday, 10am-12noon and 1pm-3pm

A wide range of toys to play with and borrow. Age 5 and under - just turn up. Contact Diane or Jess on 020 8806 4130 ext 22 for further information.


Stoke Newington Library

Poetry appreciation group

Monday 8 September, 6pm-7.30pm

An informal and friendly group meets once a month to read and discuss a range of poetry. This month we will be looking at poems suggested by group members on the theme of war.  For more information please ask library staff or email

Classical music appreciation group

Monday 29 Sep, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Getting started with computers - sessions for people aged 50+  

Every Thursday, 11am-12noon

Are you new to computers? Would you like to practise searching the internet or finding information online?  Do you need help to set up an email account? Staff will be on hand to offer guidance, support and advice specifically for people 50+. Places are limited, so booking a PC in advance is advised - please ask staff to help. For more information please ask in the library, or call 020 8356 3000 and ask for Stoke Newington Library.

Richard's Reading Group

Every second Tuesday, 7pm (adults)

Taking its annual summer break, the group reconvenes Tues 9 September, to discuss Gunter Grass' classic 'The Tin Drum', a surreal take on German history during and after WW2. Places available. If you are interested, please contact

Jamie's reading group

Every last Tuesday, 7-9pm (adults)

If you are interested in joining the group, please contact

Stokey teenage reading worms

Last Thursday of the month, 4.30pm-5.30pm

Are you 13-17 years old and love reading? Choose books to read, discuss them with your peers and meet writers. For more information please ask library staff or email

Chatterbooks reading group

Third Thursday of every month, 4pm-5pm

Are you aged 8-12, enjoy reading and meeting new people? New members welcome to collect book from library and join in the discussion on the day of the meeting. Refreshments provided. Make new friends, enjoy activities, arts and crafts plus days out, games and competitions. For more information, please call the library on 020 8356 5235.

Under 5s storytime session

Every Wednesday, 2pm-3pm, in the children's library

Stories, games, toys and musical instruments for little ones and a place for parents and carers to have a chat and make new friends. Refreshments are provided. Bookcrawl certificates for children who have read four books and collected four bookcrawl stickers.

Rhymetime for underfives

Every Saturday, 11am-12pm, in the children's library
Stories, toys and musical instruments for little ones and a place for parents and carers to have a chat and make new friends. Come, learn new rhymes and songs and sing along. Refreshments are provided. Bookcrawl certificates for children who have read four books and collected four bookcrawl stickers.

Games club for children and teenagers

First Tuesday of the month 6pm-7.30 pm

Are you aged 7+ and love a challenge? Join our Games Club and learn to play a variety of exciting board and fantasy/strategy games - Formula One, Warhammer, Monopoly, dominoes, chess, draughts, cards and more. All level players are welcome - from beginners to advanced players. Bring your favourite board game with you to be played. Free refreshments.


Woodberry Down Library

There are no events scheduled at the moment.


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Page updated: 29 Aug 2014 

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Contact details

Hackney Libraries
Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY
Opening Times
For renewals and information phone (020 8356 2539 - Renewals Line) Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, or email:
Tel:020 8356 2539 (Renewals Line)