Winchester Science Festival 2017

Winchester Discovery Centre hosted Winchester Science Festival over the weekend, the working project of the not-for-profit organisation Winchester Science Foundation. Over three days people of all ages interacted with fun science demonstrations, information stands and a varied programme of science talks. Our libraries’ fine selections of scientific books e-books and e-magazines had never been more popular!

Now in its sixth year, Winchester Science Festival seeks to inform, engage and entertain the general public with fun and cutting edge science communication and education. A big focus of the festival is to inspire young minds so Friday is Families Day, where this focus takes priority, while throughout the weekend under-19s have free entry to all talks. Winchester Discovery Centre staff enjoyed the science and technology choices for young summer reads!

The festival is also a site for Hampshire-based scientific and technological services and institutions to promote themselves and the world-leading ingenuity right on our doorstep. Representatives provided a range of fun demonstrations and interactive exhibits, including chemical science experiments, dry ice, and electrical demonstrations as well as a volcano-shaped pinball feature demonstrating the potential of stem cells in healthcare. Mini Professors, who run classes in Winchester and Basingstoke Discovery Centres, also promoted the fun science offers even at preschool age.

The weekend opened with 3 sold-out events on Friday. Dr Ben Littlefield’s Festival Opener demonstrations of the explosive chemical processes of life – with audience participation, but not to be tried at home! Science presenter and rapper Jon Chase continued the high energy performance, the audience joined in with his fun and fact-filled raps to explore some of the norms and extremes of the solar system.

On Saturday the wet weather arrived, but the Discovery Centre provided the perfect option to see the festival and continue with Summer Reading Challenge 2017! And there’s still time to sign up at your local library and get started.

The Animal Agents theme was extended to science with Dr Seshadri Nadathur’s ‘A Cosmic Detective Story’, looking to the night sky to be a cosmic detective yourself. Dr Lucie Green, the first female presenter of the BBC’s Sky At Night series and leading solar scientist, described ‘Our Brilliant Sun’ as we know it and as we may come to know it with future space missions. On Sunday Carrie Anne Philbin from the Raspberry Pi Foundation spoke about Digital Making: Creativity and project-based learning with Raspberry Pi, which related heavily to Hampshire Libraries’ upcoming projects and courses in two branch Makery studios.

This was the perfect reminder that the Hampshire library-based science and technology fun continues throughout the summer and beyond. Follow Fleet and Fareham’s Makery pages and sign up at to find out more.


Featured image credit: Dave Hughes, Hampshire Skeptics.

Fleet Library Official Reopening

Fleet Library officially reopened its doors on Wednesday 26th July, unveiling a modern, forward-thinking library that is clearly cherished by its local community. The summer season momentarily deserted us, but the wet weather only highlighted the value of such a fun and open space for its visitors.

With the ground floor refurbishment being completed in May yesterday’s official ceremony signalled a new start for Fleet Library, and in particular the launch of The Fleet Makery. This brand new space kitted out with IT, coding tools and equipment to help customers develop new skills which will make them more digitally aware and confident in using new technology. The Makery offers the environment and facilities for technical play and digital application, with courses to launch in the near future for curious minds young and old. From Lego rebots to Scratch coding to 3D printing, there’s much to anticipate. For further updates about this exciting new part of the library digital offer, sign-up  with your email address.

The official ribbon-cutting was attended by Ranil Jayawardena M.P. and Councillor Andrew Gibson, the County Council’s executive member for culture, recreation and countryside. Councillor Gibson said: “The new and refurbished facilities add so much more to Fleet Library, which already plays a vital role in the community and offers so many valuable services to our residents. It is important that we invest in our buildings and meet the changing demands of customers and make the most of emerging technology.”

The ground floor has been refurbished and there have been partial works to the first floor, including self-service technology for books, magazines, audio books and all other item borrowing. A new accessible toilet has been installed on the ground floor and a new entrance built as customers could previously access the library only via The Harlington.

The ceremony also saw the unveiling of the Wall Art Design competition winner Sebastian and runner-up Niall, whose work will be incorporated into the Children’s Library wall art in branch.

New Forest and Hampshire County Show 2017

The New Forest Show 2017 has now begun, three days of agricultural fun and entertainment for all the family on 25th, 26th & 27th July 2017 between 8.30am and 6.30pm.

Taking place in Brockenhurst in the heart of the National Park, the New Forest Show offers visitors 30 acres of showground for the whole family to explore. 2017 marks the 97th Show which takes place annually at the end of July and is now rated among the top ten agricultural shows in the country. If you, friends or family are at the Show, please show your support by visiting our stand located in block 25 on Southern Avenue. See below for more information.

The variety of attractions on offer reveals the richness of experiences Hampshire has to offer. What better time to explore the county’s rich heritage in Hampshire Libraries’ countryside or local studies collections?:

Glorious Hampshire : the beautiful and varied landscapes of a very English county by Colin Roberts.

This book celebrates the character and contrast of Hampshire’s countryside with a collection of fine art photographs taken in all seasons. The sweeping landscapes of two National Parks – the New Forest and the South Downs – are represented in panoramic style, as are the lush green valleys of the county’s renowned chalk streams.

Also you can loan from our extensive magazine collections in branch, or via our online RBdigital magazines service :

Country Living UK

August 01, 2017 issue of Country Living UK

Whether you live in the town or countryside, in Country Living you’ll find a wealth of ideas for your home and garden, learn about traditional crafts, keep informed of rural issues, enjoy irresistible dishes using seasonal produce and, above all, escape the stress and strain of modern-day life.

Country Life

July 19, 2017 issue of Country Life

The Quintessential English magazine, undoubtedly one of the biggest and instantly recognisable in the UK today. It has a unique core mix of contemporary country-related editorial and top end property advertising. Editorially, the magazine comments on a wide variety of subjects, such as architecture, the arts, gardens and gardening, travel, the countryside, field sports and wildlife. With renowned columnists and superb photography Country Life delivers the very best of British life every week.


See how the ‘Must See Top 10 Attractions’ listing offers everything from a daring Motorcross Show to a Cake Baking competition to a Magical Fairy Garden Meadow:


Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motocross Display

Jamie Squibb is returning to the Show in 2017 and we can’t wait to welcome him back with his exciting motocross stunt display.

Jamie and his team from squibbfreestlye will be entertaining visitors twice each day in the East Ring!


find out more

Agricultural, Cattle, Dairy, Show

Cattle Milking Demonstrations

Watch live milking demonstrations in the Cattle Section and learn about the milking process from our much loved dairy farmers.

Find out all about the history of the cattle section at the Show.


find out more

Bake and Cake

Admire entries into our first ever baking competition where men, women and children are invited to enter their pastries, preserves, cakes and more!

Or if you enjoy baking, why not enter for yourself?


find out more

Fun Kitchen Workshops

This new addition to the Show will provide families with the opportunity to learn new skills, explore tastes and cook up some tasty treats.

Six workshops will be taking place each day at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm.

Visit Fun Kitchen at the Show on 7th Avenue to book your space on a workshop at the Show! Available for children aged 5 & over (children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult)


Local Produce Market

Foodies will be in heaven when they visit the Local Produce Market where they will find live cooking demonstrations from top local chefs, lots of fresh local produce to taste and the opportunity to meet producers from across Hampshire.

Don’t forget to say hello to Roy with his Sow and piglets!



find out more

Family Fun Area

– Enjoy all day entertainment for all the  family in the wonderful area of the  showground dedicated to children.

-Watch a fun packed programme of  entertainment including: circus workshops,  Sing Now Choir and Nasira Belly Dancers.

-Participate in a variety of children’s activities  including face painting, colouring walls.


Celebrate 100 Years of Ford Tractors

Join our Old Time Farming Section in celebrating 100 years of the Ford Tractor. See how the tractors have changed over the years and watch them take part in the Grand Parade in the Main Ring every day.


find out more

The Stewarts Meadow

Visit The Stewarts Meadow which has been transformed into a Magical Fairy Garden for 2017! Meticulously grown on the showground, the meadow is unique and a wonderful backdrop for photographs!


Heavy Horse Musical Drive

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch sixteen pairs of heavy horses take part in the World Famous Musical Drive.

find out more

Summer at Hampshire Libraries

The summer holidays have arrived and we have lots of exciting events taking place across the summer at Hampshire Libraries!

With this years Summer Reading Challenge theme being animal agents, Hampshire Libraries have some really exciting animal themed events and activities taking place!

Wednesday 26th July

Amazing animals at Aldershot Library , Fleet Library and Farnborough Library 

From millipedes to spiders, snakes and frogs to rats and lizards, join ZooLab for animal handling, role play and story telling. Sessions last 1 hour; all children must be accompanied by a responsible adult – accompanying adults free. For children aged 4+ Advance Booking Essential.

Cost: £3.75 (accompanying adults free)

Wild animal craft at Hythe Library

Drop-in crafts session for the summer holidays, join us for Wild Animal crafts between 2pm and 4pm. This is a drop in session and there is no need to book in advance, but parents/carers should remain in library during the activity.

Summer Reading Challenge craft activity at Emsworth Library

Come and have fun making paper craft activities. Every Wednesday from 26 July to 30 August. Drop in between 9.30am and 12noon. Parents and carers to stay.

Thursday 27th July

Slithering snakes at Fordingbridge Library

Get up close with real snakes from Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre. Also make your very own snake to take home! Suitable for children aged 8 and over.

Cost: £5 per child

Tuesday 1st August

ZooLab present Animal Detectives at Andover Library

Join ZooLab for a fantastical tale of Mystery and Intrigue. Our giant land snail super sleuth has a fiendish mystery to solve. All members of the ZooLab animal team; from millipedes to spiders, snakes and frogs to rats and lizards, are on hand to help get to the bottom of the ultimate whodunit! With animal handling and audience participation, this is a show not to be missed! Tickets are per handling child, one accompanying adult free, 2 sessions available:- 1.30 to 2.30pm or 3 to 4pm Spaces are limited so advance booking is highly recommended.

Cost: £5 per child

Wednesday 2nd August

ZooLab presents Animal Detectives at Stubbington Library

Join ZooLab for a fantastical tale of Mystery and Intrigue. Our giant land snail super sleuth has a fiendish mystery to solve. All members of the ZooLab animal team; from millipedes to spiders, snakes and frogs to rats and lizards, are on hand to help get to the bottom of the ultimate whodunit! With animal handling and audience participation, this is a show not to be missed! Tickets are per handling child, one accompanying adult free. 2 sessions available:- 9.30 to 10.30am or 11am to 12noon Spaces are limited so advance booking is highly recommended.

Cost: £5 per child

Thursday 10th August

On the trail of animals from the plain at Leigh Park Library

Join us in making simple paper crafts with plenty of sticking, gluing and maybe even glitter! Thursday 10 August from 10am to 12noon. Tickets available from the library. Suitable for ages 4 to 8. Parents and carers to stay.

Saturday 15th August

Animal agents at Tadley Library

Berkshire Search & Rescue Dogs will explain how humans and their dogs work together to find vulnerable missing people. You will also get the chance to meet one of the hard working but incredibly friendly search dogs! For ages 4+ All children to be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Cost: £1 (accompanying adult free)

Thursday 17th August

Animal agents at Gosport Discovery Centre

Bug Wrightson and Oppo are a Level 3 Operational Search Dog Team. Together, they will explain how search and rescue dogs are used to find vulnerable missing people. You will also get the chance to meet Oppo, a hard working but incredibly friendly search dog who LOVES cuddles and strokes! For children aged 4+ Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult Advance Booking Essential.

Cost: £1 per child (accompanying adult free)

Children’s craft drop-in at New Milton Library

Come to New Milton Library and have fun making your own ‘Slip and Slide’ and ‘Bernice Bear’ Thursday 17 August 10am-11.30am No need to book, just turn up. Parents/carers to stay in library.

As well as all these themed events, we do have lots of other types of events and activities happening across the summer too, so make sure to have a look on our website!


Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is known for her classic animal tales, writing a total of 26! In remembrance  on her birthday we have put a booklist together of 5 of these timeless classics.

Please look on our online catalogue for more of her stories.

The tale of Peter Rabbit

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published by Frederick Warne in 1902 and endures as Beatrix Potter’s most popular and well-loved tale. It tells the story of a very mischievous rabbit and the trouble he encounters in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden!

The tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck

Poor Jemima. All she wants to do is lay her eggs in peace, and be allowed to hatch them herself. At last she flies off and finds the perfect place. Little does the silly duck realise that the charming gentleman who has lent her his woodshed is busily planning a delicious meal of . . . roast duck! Jemima was a real duck belonging to Beatrix Potter, who lived at her farm, Hill Top.

The tale of Squirrel Nutkin

Beatrix Potter’s famous tale of a naughty squirrel who loses his tail is as popular today as it was when it was first published over 100 years ago.

The tale of Little Pig Robinson

Little pig Robinson goes to market for his aunts and, after a series of unexpected and amazing adventures, including an unexpected sea voyage, settles to a pleasant life on an island in the South Seas

The tale of Mr. Tod

A children’s story about the unfriendly relations between a disagreeable fox and an uncouth badger and the problems they create for the rabbits living peacefully in the forest.

Summer Reading Challenge

Get ready for the Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge kicks off on Saturday 15 July – sign up for free at your local library. 

This year’s theme is Animal Agents and features characters created by award-winning artist Tony Ross, best known for illustrating the Horrid Henry book series.  The Animal Agents need the help of young readers from 4 to 11 years old to help solve a baffling crime involving clues, suspects and smelly red herrings.  Visit our Summer Reading Challenge website for links, tips and videos.  We’re expecting around 25,000 children to take part this year in Hampshire.


Meet the Animal Agents

Bernice the bear heads up the Animal Agency.  She’s tough on crime and very fond of honey breaks during her busy days.

Slip and Slide, also known as the Snake Twins, make a charming duo.  Not many criminals can slither out of their grip.

Bart the bloodhound has a nose for trouble.  He may not be fast on four paws, but he can sniff out clues in double-quick time.

Daisy the rabbit can dart about at super speed in her turbo-charged chair, so she’s always tops at keeping tabs on any suspect.


Read the books and catch the crook!


Meet the Suspects

Mrs Atkins may look like a friendly, grey-haired granny, but Bernice the bear says never trust appearances.  Is there a crafty crook lurking beneath that cuddly cardigan?

Angel is the straight A student who always comes top of the class.  But is this perfect pupil a criminal mastermind in her spare time?

Mr Bannerjee is a clever businessman who always has his eyes on the prize.  But Bart the bloodhound thinks he can sniff out some dodgy dealing on the side.

Cory is the coolest dude on a skateboard but when the wheels stop spinning, Slip and Slide wonder if he’s taking us all for a ride!



We’d love to hear how you are getting on.  Have you read something you love?  Or a book you just couldn’t stand.  Let us know by leaving a comment below.