Keep up to date with all the latest news and events from Northumberland Libraries by reading our blog.

Summer Reading Challenge 2017, Animal Agents


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 DSC4217The Reading Agency and libraries are delighted to present the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge, Animal Agents - a whole host of clever creatures, ready to solve all kinds of crimes! This band of furry, slippery and feathered friends is specially trained to use their skills and natural instincts to unravel mysteries – with a huge helping of fun along the way.

What is the Summer Reading Challenge?

  • The Summer Reading Challenge is run by the charity "The Reading Agency" and takes place every year
  • Every year there is a different theme
  • This year's theme is "Animal Agents"
  • The aim of the challenge is for children to sign up at their local library, read six books during the summer holidays by  visiting  the library three times.
  • The Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children aged 4 - 11 years. Children can sign up at any Northumberland Library and it is all completely free.

Enrolling your child

  • Children can sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge from 8 July until 9 September 2017
  • The last date to complete the challenge is Saturday 26 August 2017
  • On joining, children will be given fun materials to get them started and additional incentives will be awarded as children progresses through the Challenge. Materials include stickers, collector folder and bookmark.
  • Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the long summer holidays but the Summer Reading Challenge helps children to keep up their reading skills and confidence.
  • Under 4's can take part too!  They will be given a 'Pre-School Card' and will have to collect six stickers.  On the back of the card there are activities that under 4's can do with their parents or carers
  • Materials for Children with Visual Impairment are available.  Please ask at your local library for more information

Activities in Libraries

There will be lots of activities taking place across libraries over the summer.

  • Ever wondered what a snake feels like or a tortoise? How about getting up close to a Gecko?  Come along and meet the friendly animals from Creatures up Close, during our animal handling events.
  • Learn how to be a super pet owner with events from Blue Cross for Pets.
  • Discover how to be a responsible dog owner and safety around dogs at our fun and interactive events with the Dogs Trust.
  • Explore the world of cats during fun activities with Cats Protection and receive a free goody bag during the event!  
  • Meet a real life dog detective from Northumbria Police at Cramlington Library

We have some exciting animal events lined up so there's lots to do during the summer holidays at your local library. Find out more and reserve tickets at Northumberland Libraries Events

Prize Draws

We have 3 prize draws for family days out to be won throughout the Challenge.  The prizes are: Hall Hill Farm, Kirkley Hall Zoo and Whitehouse Farm. The draws will take place on Friday 14 July, Friday 21 July, Friday 28 July and Friday 4 August 2017.  Keep checking our Facebook page for the results.


What happens when my child has completed the Summer Reading Challenge?

  • Children who have completed the Challenge will be invited to a special presentation in September and they will   get a "gold" medal and a special certificate.
  • Under 4's who have completed the Challenge will be presented with an "Animal Agents" certificate.
  • All children who complete the Challenge will also be entered into a prize draw.

We are already preparing for the Challenge in libraries. If you can't wait until then, you can find out more, watch the official trailer, play games, enter competitions and lots more at the official Summer Reading Challenge website.

Keep checking our blog and social media pages for more library updates over the coming weeks. 




Illustrations ©Tony Ross for The Reading Agency and Photos © Dale Cherry 2017 for The Reading Agency, with thanks to Newham Council and Calverton Primary School

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National Bookstart Week 2017 - we had a great time!

Children from across Northumberland joined in the fun for National Bookstart Week 5-11 June, with Let's Explore Outdoors themed activities, songs and stories.  All children taking part received a copy of Everybunny Dance! by Ellie Sandall, as well as bunny ears and themed rhyme sheets.

Featured photographs come from Berwick Library Friday morning stores and rhymes, Widdrington Library with nursery children from Grange View School and Ovingham Under 5's


Widdington Library

School pupils from Grange View First School were invited to Widdrington Library to receive their Treasure Packs.  They listened to the National Bookstart Week book "Everybunny Dance" by Ellie Sandall.  Children also took part in a colouring in activities with their teacher and staff from the library.


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Berwick Library

Lots of little ones and their parents enjoyed themselves at the National Bookstart Week themed "Everybunny Dance" story and rhymetime event.  Everyone joined in the fun and sang "Little Peter Rabbit", "Round and Round the Garden" and many more from the rhyme sheet.


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Ovingham Under 5's

The under 5's at Ovingham took their activities outdoors.  A good time was had by all, wearing their bunny hats and singing songs.



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Copies of Everybunny Dance! and other freebies are available from your local library

Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer Drop-In Sessions



Volunteers Wanted

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The Reading Agency and libraries are delighted to present the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge, Animal Agents - a whole host of clever creatures, ready to solve all kinds of crimes! This band of furry, slippery and feathered friends is specially trained to use their skills and natural instincts to unravel mysteries – with a huge helping of fun along the way. 

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Would you like to help younger children read over the summer?

Would you like to get some skills that will be great for your C.V., university application or Duke of Edinburgh Award assessment?

If you are between the ages of 13 and 24 and want to help promote reading to young people then become a Reading Hack with Northumberland Libraries.

Roles available include:

  • To help staff to administer the Challenge
  • To talk to children about the books they’ve been reading
  • To help children choose new books
  • To help with summer activities
  • To help to create in-library displays
  • Helping children to use the Summer Reading Challenge website
  • Using activity sheets and other ideas to help children share their reading choices with their peers

Drop-in Sessions


We will be holding a series of 'drop-in' sessions to tell you about being a Reading Hack and helping library staff run this year's Summer Reading Challenge. The Challenge asks children in the County to read six books during the school summer holidays for which they are awarded a certificate and medal and other goodies.

If you would like to know more then come to a drop-in session at:
Ashington Library - Monday 12 June, 3.30pm to 5.00pm
Hexham Library - Wednesday 14 June, 3.30pm to 5.00pm
Berwick Library - Thursday 15 June, 3.30pm to 5.00pm
If you wish to know more then contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Illustrations ©Tony Ross for The Reading Agency

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Celebrate Elmer Day on Saturday 27 May 2017

Elmer Day is a national celebration of popular children’s character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.  So why not borrow an Elmer book to celebrate!  We have lots of different ones to choose from.  


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Elmer Day Events

A few of our libraries will be holding events to celebrate too!  Take a look below for more information:

Join us for Elmer themed stories, crafts and games. Children are welcome to dress up in their brightest clothes. Suitable for Families with children aged 2 – 7 years.

Wednesday 24 May at Hexham Library 10.30am - 11.30am. This event is suitable for under 5 years.

Saturday 27 May at Berwick Library 11.00am - 12.30pm.  This event is suitable for 0-5 years.

Tuesday 30 May at Alnwick Library 10.30am - 1.00pm. This event is suitable for over 5 years.

Tuesday 30 May at Haydon Bridge Library 2.30pm - 3.30pm. This event is suitable for 0-5 years.

Wednesday 31 May at Morpeth Library 2.15pm - 2.45pm.  This event is suitable for 0-6 years.

Thursday 1 June at Prudhoe Library 2.30pm - 3.30pm.  This event is suitable for 0-5 years.


There will also be colouring sheets and activity sheets available at Bellingham Libraryfor drop in activities for children to do when in the library (available during normal opening hours). 

Half Term May Events in Northumberland Libraries

Looking forward to May Half Term, we will be hosting Books & Art Workshops in a number of libraries from the 30 May to 1 June. These free workshops will be hosted by three fantastic artists, and will use elephants for the focus of inspiration.  Come along to make your own elephant story box or your own bejewelled elephant mobile.

Books & Art workshops

Tuesday 30 May - 10.30am - 1.00pm - Alnwick Library

Tuesday 30 May - 2.30pm - 4.00pm - Amble Library

Wednesday 31 May - 10.30am - 1.00pm - Blyth Library

Wednesday 31 May 2.30pm - 4.00pm - Widdrington Library

Thursday 1 June - 10.30am - 1.00pm - Hexham Library

Thursday 1 June - 2.30pm - 4.00pm - Ponteland Library


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books & art

New Extended Opening Hours at Ashington Library

The new Ashington Library is now open!  The address of the library is Ashington Library, Portland Park, Ashington. NE63 9JY.

The opening hours will be as follows:-

Monday   7.00-22.00
Tuesday   7.00-22.00
Wednesday   7.00-22.00
Thursday   7.00-22.00
Friday   7.00-22.00
Saturday   9.00-18.00
Sunday   9.00-21.00

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Upcoming Events in Northumberland Libraries

 Looking forward to Februrary Half Term, we will be hosting Books & Art Workshops in a number of libraries from the 20th to the 22nd of Feb. These will be workshops hosted by three fantastic artists, and will centre around the theme of "2017 - The Year of the Rooster".


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With this in mind, we have created a new online booking system for all our events with Eventbrite. You can now book your place on all our events at the following link:


Golden Guide Northumberland 2017

Golden Guide Northumberland 2017. The essential guide for over 50s in Northumberland.

Find new social and leisure activities, plus expert help with your health, your home and your finances. 

It's lively, it's local and it's FREE! 

Click to read online, or to find your nearest free copy: 


Local Artists Decorate Corbridge Library

Two local artists have voluntarily given up their time to decorate the walls of Corbridge Library and Tourist Information Centre. 

Chris Younger painted a Kielder Dark skies scene in the entrance porch. Chris is a Fine artist, landscape painter and mural painter. As well as working as a teacher but also paints scenes for television sets such as "The Dumping Ground".

Andrew Sales painted our BFG themed walls in our children's library area. Andrew studied art at Loughborough university before moving back to the North East. He is inspired by artists such as Van Gogh and is always looking for new projects and challenges.

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Christmas Reading Challenge

Join in the festive fun!

From Monday 28th of November until Saturday 31st of December, we will be holding a Christmas Reading golden ticket1Challenge.

Every time you visit the library or join a friend, you will receive a golden ticket. One lucky winner will be chosen at random. The more you visit, the more chances to win the prize of a Christmas goody bag!