This page gives some more details about the Sling Library venue and Open Sessions. If you’ve got any questions not answered here, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deposits for Hired Items
For all carrier or sling hires we will ask you to provide a (refundable) deposit to cover the retail value of any items hired. This can be taken by Cash or Paypal (if using Paypal it works best if you’re able to download the Paypal smart phone app before you come along). We can now also accept most debit and credit cards! There is a cash point outside Tesco Express, which is across the road from where the Library Open Sessions are held.
Sling Library Venue
**All Open Sessions are now held at 194 Beckenham Road, BR3 4RJ**
The South London Sling Library is held in our home-from-home space at 194 Beckenham Road, BR3 4RJ, which is opposite a Tesco Express and almost on the corner with Kent House Road. The Sling Library entrance is via the right hand gate and down the right hand side of the house. Please don’t come to the main front door of the house as we won’t be able to let you in while a session in running!
There is plenty of space to park buggies in the entrance as you come in, or outside on the decking beyond the door. Please ensure that buggies are parked considerately and do not block any doors or exits.
How to get to the Library
Use the Transport For London website to plan your journey: Plan a Journey
Train: We’re within walking distance of Kent House (2 mins), Clock House (10 mins), Penge East (15 mins) and Penge West (15 mins) mainline Railway Stations, which are all in zone 4. Not all of these stations have step-free access so do check on the TFL website for accessibility.
Tube/Underground: The closest tube stop is Brixton, which is on the Victoria line. You can change at Victoria or Brixton to get the mainline overground train service to Kent House.
Tram: The closest Tram stop is Beckenham Road (5 mins), which is on Tramlink line 2. Bus: Buses 194, 227, 354 and 358 all go down Beckenham Road and past the house (see the bus map linked below). Other buses that run close by to Penge or Beckenham include 54, 75, 176, 197, 352 and 356.
If you’re driving to us, we are on a main road (the A234) and very easy to get to from all over South East London and Kent. Free parking is available on Kent House Road, Plawsfield Road, Barnmead Road and many other local streets. Please don’t park on the house driveway unless you have a Blue Badge.
We are very close to Section 10 of the Green Chain Walk between Beckenham and Crystal Palace, most of which is also cycle paths. There is space to park bikes outside the Sling Library entrance, down the side of the house. Please don’t let your bike obstruct any path or doorway.
How much do the Open Sessions Cost?
It costs just £2 per adult for anyone coming to get information, help or advice and to try on carriers. An honesty pot is by the sign-in table to collect contributions. Funds raised are put towards the running costs of administrating the Sling Library and paying for our lovely assistants so that we’re able to help more people during Open Sessions.
It’s free to drop in to an Open Session to return borrowed carriers or to buy from our shop.
What happens at an Open Session?
Wondering how it’ll all work when you come along? Read on!
When you come along we’ll welcome you in and you’ll be sent through to our home-from-home workshop room. There’s a sign-in sheet by the door, and a pot for your £2 (we can provide change for this if needed). Once you’re signed in, find yourself a seat and make yourself comfortable! You’re very welcome to breast/bottle feed your baby as needed, and we have a changing table in the WC too. There’s comfy seating for babies plus toys and books for older babies and children.
Open Sessions do get very busy and trying carriers can be surprisingly time consuming so expect to be with us for at least an hour. We work on a broadly first come, first served basis, but everyone is helped in the same room and we try to help as many people at once as we can. While you wait you’ll be able to watch and listen to other people trying things and getting advice; if you see someone else trying something you’re interested in too, then let us know and we’ll include you too! You can also ask questions, though please be patient if there is a wait before we’re able to give you our full attention.
When it’s your turn, we’ll ask whether you have any particular carrier/sling/carrying needs or wants and suggest one or two options for you to try first. We’ll help you try them on and check for fit, suitability, ease of use and comfort. If the first one doesn’t work then we can suggest something else so be open minded as what turns out to be the perfect option for you may not be what you were expecting!
If at any point you simply want to hire what you’ve seen/tried on, then just ask to fill in a Hire Form and we’ll send you back through to our admin space to sort out the paperwork. Please remember to sign out so we know who’s present. You can also buy many of the most popular slings and carriers in our little shop :)
I want to try X specific carrier; will it be available?
If you’re hoping to try a specific sling or carrier then please bear in mind that we’re not able to guarantee which products will be available when you come along as this will depend on what’s been hired/returned at the time. As loans are for a minimum of 2 weeks, not all of the carriers will be available at every session. The Library operates on a first come first served basis and so you may not always be able to borrow the carrier you first wanted. We will almost always be able to offer you a similar carrier to borrow instead, or to advise when the carrier you’d like to try is expected to be returned.
We may also advise that a specific carrier you might have heard of may not be suitable for you and/or your baby. Again, we’ll be able to suggest suitable alternatives for you to try :)
Who Runs the Open Sessions?
Almost all of our sessions are run by Marie-Yianna and Emily. We’re both qualified babywearing consultants and very experienced with slings and carriers, though Emily is our resident sling and carrier expert and runs most of the advice and fitting side of things in the workshop room. Marie-Yianna sits in our shop/admin space and deals with all hires, returns and sales, as well as being able to offer helpful carrying and parenty suggestions from her enormous knowledge.
Please note that Sling Library staff are parents too! We run the Sling Library alongside our other work, study and parenting commitments. We may have our own child/ren with us during sessions so please be understanding if we need to attend to their needs.
SAFETY AND SECURITY NOTES
- Open Sessions can get extremely busy and aren’t always the ideal teaching environment. For safety reasons we’re not usually able to help you to do a back carry with your baby at an Open Session, though you can practice back carries using a doll. There may not be time to do more than help you to try a sling once before you borrow it. If you have more detailed or complicated questions or needs, or if you just feel that you’d like more time to try different options and to get the hang of using a carrier/s in a calm setting, then you’d probably find a private consultation or small group workshop more helpful.
– In case of a fire, please leave using the Sling Library entrance, head towards the main road, cross safely at the crossing and assemble across the road by the Tesco Express carpark.
There may be baby gates in place; for the safety of any children present please ensure that these are kept closed at all times. Please do not tamper with or move any other baby-proofing that is in place.
While at the library, all of your possessions and any children that you have brought with you remain your full responsibility at all times. It is your responsibility that they are safe and well supervised; we cannot take responsibility for any theft, damage or harm that may come to your belongings or children while you are here.
A small selection of baby-safe toys are available to play with (e.g. wooden toys, rattles, and soft or board books). Please ensure your children are supervised when playing with the toys, that you let us know if any are damaged or dirty, and that your little one doesn’t accidentally take anything home with them!