Corbridge Library will be closed today, Wed17 Jan. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Items can be renewed online or by telephoning 01670 50 50 16. Please note that this is an automated system and you will need your library card number.

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

Use Britannica Online

If all the information from online Britannica was in book form it would be 29 volumes. Imagine trying to look through all that information in a hurry! With all the information online you will be able to find it quickly and easily at the click of a button.  Library members can use Britannica for free at home or in the library.  All you need is your library card.  There are three versions of Britannica - Adult, Junior and Student.

The Britannica Library Junior is the ideal choice for helping children between 5 and 11 years old with their homework and finding out more about the world on an age-appropriate website.  

Britannica Library Student is written for 12-18 year olds. The encyclopedia is ideal to use for help with homework and coursework topics - and it is also fun to use for general knowledge.

October is Black History Month and Britannica Library have a great feature on it.  Read some inspiring life  stories – from Mo Farah to Martion Luther King.  Try a quiz, crossword, or wordsearch,  - there’s even a lesson plan for teachers.  Take a look at the feature by clicking here.  Or see a timeline.

If you prefer you can go straight to Britannica and start using it.  Just click on the resource you want to use.

BritLibraryAdult BritLibrarylogoStudent1 BritLibraryJunior

Use Britannica Library online at home or in the library … what will you discover today?  Check out other Northumberland Libraries online resources here

National Poetry Day

It is National Poetry Day on the 8 October and to celebrate in our blog this week we will be featuring a Poet of the Day.  On the day (8 October) why not come to the Northern Poetry Library to celebrate National Poetry Day and see the launch of its new website and digital platform. Find out about the major Arts Council grant the Northern Poetry Library has been awarded and the exciting poetry residencies taking place across Northumberland this autumn. Also celebrating will be a trio of poets from Stannington-based Red Squirrel Press: Ellen Phethean, Kathleen Kenny and Tom Kelly, plus a few surprise guests.  Admission is free but contact Morpeth Library to reserve a ticket!



Poet of the Day 

Day 1 - Jackie Kay

Jackie was born in 1961 to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father but was adopted and brought up by a white couple in Glasgow. This mixed parentage and upbringing inspired her first poetry collection ‘The Adoption Papers’, which was commended for the Forward Poetry Prize and won the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year. Jackie’s subsequent poetry collections continue to explore cultural and sexual identity, and the complications of love.

She is deeply influenced by the Scottish traditions of balladeering and music, as well as the rhythms of jazz and blues music. The political activism of her adoptive father also comes through strongly in her work.

Finding herself often pigeonholed according to her colour, sexuality and nationality, Jackie has written in a variety of forms and genres to avoid categorisation as a writer. So as well as her poetry, she has successfully written children’s stories , short stories and memoir.

Check out her work in the Northern Poetry Library:


‘Other Lovers’


‘Two’s Company’

‘The Adoption Papers’

For more information on Jackie Kay visit  and 


Day 2 - W H Auden 

One of the giants of twentieth century British poetry, W H Auden is nowadays still best-known for his poem ‘Funeral Blues’ ('Stop  all the clocks….’) which featured in the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. But what is perhaps not so well known is that Auden had a lifelong passion for the wild and remote moors of the North Pennines. Growing up in Birmingham, he was always drawn to industrial landscapes. He spent many childhood holidays roaming the lead mines of Northumberland and Durham and at one time wanted to be a mining engineer.

Auden moved to the United States in 1939 and became an American citizen. But throughout his life he revisited the ruined lead mines and peat burns of the North Pennines in his poetry,  and in person when he could. Rookhope, Alston Moor and Allendale all feature heavily in poems such as ‘New Year Letter’ and ‘Amor Loci’.

Find out more at:


Day 3 -  Gillian Clarke

Gillian Clarke is one of contemporary poetry’s most influential figures, becoming the third National Poet of Wales in 2008 and receiving the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2011. In 1990 she founded the respected Ty Newydd writers’ centre in North Wales. Although brought up in a Welsh-speaking household, English was considered to be a more ‘educated’ language and Gillian didn’t learn Welsh until her teens.

She is not afraid to write about current topics and news stories but always with a mind to the rich heritage of Welsh poetry going back to the Dark Ages. She feels passionately that poetry should be accessible for everyone throughout out their life and puts this into practice by regularly giving poetry readings and appearing at festivals. In 2012 a seasonal poem ‘Home’ was displayed in John Lewis’ Christmas window.

Find out more at:


 Day 4 - Jacob Polley 

Born in 1975, Jacob Polley represents a new generation of British poets. Born in Carlisle, he recently moved across the Pennines and now lives and works in Newcastle. His three poetry collections to date have all been acclaimed and Jacob has twice been shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize .

Jacob’s poetry is restrained in its use of language but vivid in its use of metaphor and exploring his Cumbrian upbringing. It can be compared to Ted Hughes’ poetry in its affinity with the natural world but is also focussed on contemporary human concerns. It is underpinned by a fascination with supernatural forces and human malevolence, which is translated into atmospheric descriptions of the eerie and the uncanny.

Jacob’s three collections are all in the Northern Poetry Library:

The Brink

Little Gods

The Havocs

Find out more at;


Day 5 - Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight is one of Britain’s most distinguished modern poets and perhaps not as well-known as she should be.  Born in the US to European Jewish parents,  Fainlight moved to Britain at the age of 15 and throughout her life has  explored feelings of exile and otherness in her work. She also homes in on the minutiae of everyday life and transmutes them into universal experiences.

Fainlight  was a close friend of Sylvia Plath’s towards the end of Plath’s life and their poetry shares a connection. Fainlight’s poems are often autobiographical, recalling objects and memories from childhood. More recently they have, perhaps inevitably, focussed more on ageing and loss.

These collections are available from the Northern Poetry Library:

New & Collected Poems

The Knot



Find out more at

Keep your little one busy with help from the library!

You are never too young to join the library - our youngest readers get their own special membership card and under 4s can take part in Bookstart Bear Club. All of our libraries provide children's books.  Click here to find out more about what our Libraries have for babies and children.

‘Sharing books with your child is one of the nicest activities you can do. It develops so many skills and it all happens very naturally when you read and talk about books with your child.’ (Bookstart mum)

A number of our libraries also run regular storytime sessions.  These libraries run story and rhyme time sessions  -  please contact the individual library for more information.

  • Ashington Library - Story and Rhymetime every Tuesday during term time 1pm till 1.30pm.
  • Bedlington Library - Story and Rhymetime every Friday during term time 2.15pm till 2.45pm.
  • Bedlington Station Library - Bedlington Children's Centre Story and Rhymetime (Including a craft activity)sessions for the under 5’s take place the first and last Wednesdays in the month from 3.30pm till 4.30pm.
  • Berwick Library - Bookstart Bear Club for 6mths to 3 yrs every week on Friday mornings 11am till 11.30am during term time.
  • Blyth Library - Bounce and Sing for 0 - 4yrs every Friday 9.30am till 10am.
  • Cramlington Library – Storytime and Crafts for 0 - 4yrs.  Every Tuesday during term time 10am till 11am.
  • Guide Post Library Bedlington Children's Centre Story and Rhymetime (Including a craft activity)sessions for the under 5’s take place twice a month during term time.
  • Morpeth Library - Storytime and Crafts for 0 - 4yrs. Every Wednesday during term time 2.15pm till 2.45pm.
  • Newbiggin Library - Sing, Giggle and Wiggle run by Newbiggin Children's Centre takes place regularly on a Monday during term 10 am till 11am. Please check our events guide for exact dates.

Please check our events pages for up to date information on all our events.

Summer Challenge Reading Challenge Prize Draw Winners

The prize draw winners for this year's Record Breakers Summer Challenge Reading Challenge have been announced:


First prize of a new bike:  


Alistair Leathead – Seaton Valley


Runners up  Family swim pass: 


  • Lilia Purvis- Alnwick
  • Matty Watson –Bedlington
  • Harvey White – Newbiggin
  • James Billingham- Heddon

Well done to everyone who took part in the Summer Reading Challenge and we hope you will all be taking part again next year.

Summer Reading Challenge finishes for another year

Across the County children have measured themselves against the tallest man, produced paper planes for friendly flying competitions and tried to create the longest paper doll chain as part of the Guinness World Record inspired Summer Reading Challenge.

The real winners were the 2925 children who helped read their way through over 62,000 books issued from 6 July- 12 September.  2005 children completed the Challenge of reading at least 6 books over 3 visits to their local library. The presentation ceremonies are taking place in libraries and schools this month, as the children receive their medals and certificates in recognition of their reading achievements.

Taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge helps children to keep up their reading skills over the summer holidays as well as experience the fun and enjoyment of reading. The children & parents at Blyth Library presentation recorded their experience of taking part –

“I think my reading has improved. I read a lot more now" Maddi aged 10 ;

"It was really good great! Om read so good & it brings a lot of confidence" parents of Om aged 4  

"I found out that lots of people can do amazing things" Lauren aged 11  

Councillor Val Tyler will draw the winners for this year’s prizes next Wednesday 23 September as the libraries submit the names of two children drawn from the completers at their branches. The top prize is a new bike and there are also prizes of 4 family month swim passes donated by Active Northumberland. 


Here is Zander Moncrieff a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer at Hexham Library who has given 40+ hours volunteering time over the summer. The photo was taken during the Hexham Library presentation event that was held at Hexham Abbey on 15 September.  Also in the photo is Hexham Mayor Cllr Trevor Cessford and Children and Young People's Librarian Jackie White.


Jackie Collins

Multi-million-selling novelist Jackie Collins died last weekend at the age of 77 from breast cancer. She published her first novel way back in 1968: The World is Full of Married Men. It was an instant bestseller and she never looked back. In the course of a career lasting 47 years she sold over 500 million books and was the UK’s fifth richest author.

Jackie’s selling point was her insider knowledge of the Los Angeles celebrity and party scene, especially during its 1980s and 90s heyday.  Her books are fast-paced, with punchy dialogue and bite-sized chapters. They’re ideal for short, ten-minute bursts of reading on the bus or Metro. A lot of people are snooty about her writing but she never held any pretensions about the literary qualities of her books. What she was proud of were her female characters: strong, powerful women who went out and got what they wanted. The fact that they were making it in the modern world (unlike the strong women in ‘clogs and shawls’ sagas) appealed to a generation of young women creating their own careers and independent lives.

Check out her books in our libraries. Her last, The Santangelos, published this month, is just arriving in libraries now and we have an extensive backlist of her older titles. To find books by Jackie Collins click here.  if your library does not have the book you want you can reserve it for free from another Northumberland Library.


Facebook Competition

Like us on Facebook and send us a photo of your pet* reading a book - either posting it to our Facebook wall or sending it by private message.


  • First Prize is a 3 month gym membership
  • Second Prize is a Blyth Beach Hut Hire
  • There are also 5 Runner up Prizes of a Family Swim

*Photos of your ‘pretend pets’ are also eligible. The closing date for photos is 21 Sep 2015. A panel of judges will choose the winning entries.competition


Great British Bake Off

Do you wish you were a contestant on the The Great British Bake Off or perhaps you are feeling inspired after watching the show.

   gbbobigbook britishbaking 

  greatbritishbakeoff  maryberry1

So why not pop down to the library and pick up a cookery book. From cakes and pies to recipes for three course meals we are sure to have some books to provide you with some inspiration!

Search the library catalogue for cookery books by clicking here.  If your library does not have the book you want, you can reserve items from other Northumberland Libraries for free and get them sent to your local library. 


Summer Reading Challenge

recordbreakersNearly 1500 children from across the County have so far completed the Challenge of reading at least six books from their local library. There are still a few more days to go for children who are taking part, to complete the Challenge. The final date for completing is 12 September, so to ensure children are rewarded with a ‘gold’ medal and certificate visit your library this week.

The Summer Reading Challenge is run by the charity The Reading Agency.  Every year there’s a different theme. This year’s theme was ‘Record Breakers’ and the aim of the challenge is to get children to sign up at their local library and read six books during the summer holidays.  The Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children 4 – 11 years. 

Lots of activities have taken place in libraries over the summer. Craft events included the opportunity to make and fly a record breaking paper aeroplane! There was also author and artist workshops, as part of the popular ‘Spellbound’ programme.

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 in September.

All children who complete the challenge will also be entered into a prize draw.

The first prize is a bike. There will also be 4 additional prizes of 4 Active Northumberland family swimming passes. The passes are valid for 1 month and will give access for up to 2 adults and 3 children to any of our 10 pools across the county.

There will also be a school prize and that is a storytelling session from Don White – Storyteller with the School Library Service .

Visit the Summer Reading Challenge website for more information.

Northumberlandia Storytelling Competition


In association with Northumberlandia and the Land Trust and The Wildlife Trusts, Woodhorn Trust and Shoofly publishing, Northumberland Libraries earlier launched a storytelling competition. The idea was to create a new Northumberland legend inspried by the Northumberlandia landform sculpture. 

12 year old Milly Davis took first place with her story Northumberlandia. Now published as an eBook you can download it here for free! 

Northumberlandia by Milly Davis