Reading reminder

Take pleasure in reading and cast away the winter blues. The Asian Readers’ Group will be meeting again soon. See the poster below for details:

ARG poster Feb 030216

Light refreshments will be available. All welcome.


New Year – new reading group

IMG_2328The ALAG Reading Group will be resuming its monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month on Wednesday 6th January 2016. For those of you who like to read in Urdu, Hindi and / or Panjabi this is a great way to share your love of reading with facilitator Gulshan Iqbal.

The group will be meeting at Slough Library from 1.30 -2.30pm. Attendance is free and open to everyone. Light refreshments will be available. Bring your friends and enjoy!

Asian Readers’ Group starts at Slough Library

ALAG is proud to share some great news with you. Following on from activities which took place during Cityread 2015, members have been working in partnership with staff at Slough Libraries to provide a regular,  free reading group for those members of the local Slough community who choose to read in Urdu, Hindi and / or Panjabi.

The group will meet once a month on the first Wednesday starting on Wednesday 2nd December 2015 from 1.30 – 2.30pm. ALAG Chairperson, Gulshan Iqbal will facilitate the group whose first task will be to choose a new name and what they plan to read.

Anyone who reads or speaks the above languages is welcome to attend and light refreshments will be available. Poetry, fiction and author biographies will be just a few of the things open to discussion. Come along and join in the fun!

Asian Readers' Group 021215

Many thanks  to Simon Smith, Head of Slough Libraries and Audience Development Office Gaby Koenig for their help and support throughout the planning process and beyond.







Cityread 2015 – final events

As Cityread 2015 comes to an end – what a busy month it has been! We would like to share pictures and reports from the final two events that ALAG has been involved with.

BTG 250415AFirstly, Brent Tamil Group (BTG) members pictured here held a delightful discussion based upon the book Rivers of London and the Tamil translated synopsis. Dr Murugesan Muthu used both films and presentations to bring the book to life. BTG member Yamuna Thamendiran had this to say:

“Dr Murugesan did an excellent session including using video clips between reading from the BTG 250415Bsynopsis. We had 21 attendees. Many of us enjoyed the story and Dr Murugesan’s hard work and effort has made this event a great success. His additional work along with the actual translation has given a clear understanding of what Cityread London is all about.”  ALAG would like to thank Brent Libraries and the BTG for all their support of the ALAG translation and Cityread London. Dr Murugesan is pictured below with author Ben Aaronovitch.

Kilburn Lib _ City read event - 20Apr2015ALAG’s final Cityread event was held in association with Redbridge Libraries on Tuesday 28th April at Redbridge Central Library. ALAG members Aruna Shah and Kamaljit Bedi facilitated using the Hindi and Gujarati synopses and this is what Aruna had to say about the event:

Kamaljit and I enjoyed the reading and very lively discussion that followed. The audience participation was humorous and ALAG Redbridge6 280415involved. Each one of the attendees had a story or an anecdote to tell. Some of them relating to magic and supernatural experience and incidents from their past. A couple of ladies recounted their own families’ experiences about a haunted house in Kent, by the river and how they appeased the spirit by carrying out a ceremony on the river.” [Sound familiar?] The group used the ghosts, spirits and rivers as a platform to delve back into their lives back home, culture, customs and traditions. Kamaljit read most of the translation but we steered the discussion and audience participation quite early on, which made it very lively. The group received us very well and stayed on for more than an hour. In fact, a number of them asked us to come back to their next meeting!

Rhonda and her colleague, Saima had put in a good effort both in coordinating the group and distributing the translations. The group was mainly Urdu speaking women with a couple of Gujarati speaking women and a lone Gujarati man, who was very vocal with hilarious stories loved by all. We were very impressed by the group dynamics and a truly multilingual and ALAG Redbridge8 280415multicultural event. Given the group’s involvement, we didn’t  discern any language barriers. We were very inspired by the whole experience and ready for next year!”

Very many thanks to Rhonda Brooks, Development Librarian at Redbridge Libraries and Saima for organising this wonderful event. This is what Rhonda had to say after the event:

Your ALAG colleagues Aruna and Kamaljit have recently left following a very enjoyable and successful session. 19 attended – mainly Urdu speakers – but they all managed to communicate well and had a very lively session. Thanks for sending Aruna and Kamaljit to lead the group – it was lovely to meet them and have them at the library – and they did an excellent job of leading the group“.

Click on the link below to read some of the feedback from the attendees. Comments are written in Urdu, English and Gujarati:

NRRG ALAG event Quotes 280415

Cityread 2015 is here!


Cityread London is celebrating all the wonderful places and people that make London the very magical City that it is by encouraging Londoners to read the chosen title: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. A wide range of activities for adults and children are on offer throughout April 2015 and details of what is happening in your borough can be found here.

ALAG (Asian Librarians and Advisers Group) have also had a major input in the celebration as we have created a translated synopsis of Rivers of London in Gujarati, Hindi, Panjabi, Urdu and Tamil. Most of the translations have been done by ALAG members to ensure that the programmes on offer are inclusive and cater for the diverse populations resident throughout London. In previous years these translations have created quite a buzz as can be seen by clicking on this link to view an article published in Asian Image news during Cityread 2012.

So far Brent, Hillingdon, Harrow, Wandsworth and Redbridge have taken up the offer to use the translated synopsis with their customers for various Reader Development events facilitated by an ALAG member. As the promotion continues throughout April 2015 it is expected that other library authorities will also be introducing Rivers of London and author Ben Aaronovitch to Londoners from all backgrounds, interests and reading abilities.

Cityread 2015 Balham 280315ALAG have already kick-started the month by facilitating a Cityread event at Balham Library, Wandsworth on Saturday 28th March. ALAG Chairperson Gulshan Iqbal read the Urdu synopsis and 15 ladies from the local community enjoyed a lively discussion, sharing experiences of possession and the supernatural. Needless to say magic and family feuds also proved to be interesting themes taken from Rivers of London.

Look out for the next Cityread event in Wandsworth at Tooting Library on Saturday 11th April where Dr Murugesan Muthu from the Brent Tamil Reading Group will facilitate what should be another interesting and enjoyable discussion on behalf of ALAG:cityread-alag-2015-tooting-wandsworth-tamil-event-1104151

Cityread 2014 – forthcoming events

Things are really hotting up with a whole array of events to celebrate Cityread 2014 and the whole of London and beyond reading My Dear I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young.

English not your first language or you prefer to read in another language? No worries, ALAG have produced a synopsis of the book in Bengali, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), Gujarati, Hindi, Panjabi, Tamil and Urdu. Take your pick from some of these events where the story set in World War 1 will be read and discussed in a variety of languages.

Brent Cityread Urdu flyer 240314



Brent Cityread Tamil flyer 240314

My Dear I wanted to tell you….

MDIWTTY book coverCityread 2014 is on its way!

ALAG  are really proud to be working with Stellar Libraries and the Cityread team once again and this time we have expanded our language offer to Bengali, Cantonese, Gujarati, Hindi, Mandarin, Panjabi, Tamil, Urdu and of course English.

ALAG are providing a translated synopsis of the chosen book for Cityread London 2014:

My Dear I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young  to seven library authorities in London: Brent, Harrow & Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston, Redbridge, Wandsworth and the Chinese Community Centre in Soho.

Cityread is all about bringing reading to life and bringing Londoners together. Providing  these translations will ensure that ALL Londoners have the opportunity to take part in the many events and activities planned by each London borough. It’s not too late to request a translation for your library customers in time for  Cityread 2014  which will run throughout April.

For more information contact:

Sebastian Faulks in Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi comes to Hounslow

ALAG members Kamaljit Bedi, Aruna Shah, Monna Rizvi and Gulshan Iqbal lead the discussion

ALAG members Kamaljit Bedi, Aruna Shah, Monna Rizvi and Gulshan Iqbal lead the discussion

The Asian Librarians and Advisers Group (ALAG) were proud to host one of the first events to celebrate Cityread London 2013. Throughout April all 33 London boroughs will be promoting A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. The story is set in London, about Londoners and cleverly entwines the lives of familiar London characters such as an Underground Tube driver, a Polish footballer recently signed by a London club, a banker, a barrister, a literary critic and author. Not to be outdone in bringing London’s diversity to the pages, Faulks also includes an Asian chutney magnate about to receive his OBE from the Queen, his disillusioned Muslim son and an MP. This rich cocktail of characters is brought to life and is as diverse as London itself.
To celebrate and build on this diversity ALAG have provided a translated synopsis of the book in seven languages: Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Panjabi, Tamil and Urdu and on Thursday 4th April a group of ladies from the Women’s Reading Group gathered at Hounslow Community Centre to read and discuss Sebastian Faulks’ book. Despite the snow and cold weather, the warmth of samosas and a cup of tea added to the harmony in the room as discussion flowed in Hindi, Panjabi and Urdu.

ALAG member Kamlajit Bedi gave a superb account of the story line and characters in Hindi and Panjabi while Aruna Shah explained in Hindi, the author’s background and what had inspired Faulks to write about contemporary London with people, places, occupations with which the women present were very familiar. They could easily identify with issues like drugs, transport, mental health, the banking crisis and economic downturn and this came across loud and clear in the ensuing discussions. Songs and Urdu poetry completed the event, led by Chair Gulshan Iqbal who commented: “I feel we whetted their [the audience’s] appetite enough for them to want to read the book”. In fact, one woman borrowed Gulshan’s own book (which was autographed by the author) and another one, when asked if she wanted to take a copy of the translated synopsis, said she was going to the library to borrow the same book to read in English!

ALAG members are very pleased with the response to this event and would like to thank all the library authorities that have purchased the translations for their diverse communities, giving borrowers the choice of reading in their preferred language. Look out for further events, details of which can be found here:

Audience show their appreciation of Sebastian Faulks' A Week In December

Audience show their appreciation of Sebastian Faulks’ A Week In December

Audience listen to the reading in Hindi, Urdu and Panjabi

Audience listen to the reading in Hindi, Urdu and Panjabi

Sebastian Faulks event in Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi – get ready for Cityread 2013!

With just a couple of weeks to go ALAG members are proud to announce that we will be holding a special Reader Development event for the public, to read and discuss the translated synopsis of A Week in December in Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi. You can see the language experts / facilitators in action and take part in the ensuing discussion with the audience on Thursday 4th April 2013 from 1 -3.30pm. The venue is: Hounslow Community Centre, 9 Montague Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, TW3 1JY.

Light refreshments provided. All welcome -note that this event will be suitable for those familiar with either the Urdu, Hindi and / or Panjabi languages – but ALAG members will be available to explain what is being said in English, so do please come along.

To book a FREE place please email: or

Cityread London: the whole of London reads Oliver Twist in April 2012

Cityread London is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens by encouraging Londoners to read the chosen title: Oliver Twist. A wide range of activities for adults and children are on offer throughout April 2012 and details of what is happening in your borough can be found here:                             Image

ALAG have also had a major input in the celebrations as we have provided a translated summary of the Oliver Twist story in Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Panjabi, Urdu and Tamil. Most of the translations have been done by ALAG members to ensure that the programmes on offer are inclusive and cater for the diverse populations throughout London. These translations have created quite a buzz as can be seen by clicking on the link below to view an article publised in Asian Image news:

So far Brent, Hounslow, Harrow, Greenwich and Haringey have taken up the offer to purchase the translations but as the celebrations continue throughout 2012 it is expected that other library authorities outside of London will also want to make them available for their reading groups.

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