A new chapter as people are welcomed back to Covid-safe libraries
October 1, 2021
There’s a lot going on at your local library…
The children’s summer reading challenge had the theme ‘Wild World Heroes’ and was linked to the WWF and inspired children to explore ways of helping to save the planet.
Cramlington Town Councillor Mark Swinburn (pictured) was delighted to present certificates to youngsters at Cramlington library who completed the challenge.
Cllr Swinburn said “Cramlington Library is a fantastic resource for people of all ages and the reading challenge is very popular with youngsters. It’s great to see a child become engrossed in a book and use their imagination. Well done to the library service for creating these exciting reading challenges.”
And a new campaign has been launched as Northumberland Libraries throw open their doors to welcome back the public post Covid lockdowns.
The ‘Turn the Page on a new chapter’ initiative aims to promote the positive impact libraries have on local communities following a huge resurgence during the worst of the pandemic.
As people found themselves confined to their homes with limited leisure opportunities, Northumberland libraries service came into its own – offering vital entertainment, enjoyment, reassurance and companionship.
Many people took advantage of the libraries’ services, many for the first time with membership standing at more than 57,755.
Since Covid began there has been a 302 per cent increase in people signing up for the digital library, with 125,793 ebooks and eAudiobooks downloaded. There have also been 144,118 “PressReader” sessions, allowing members to access newspapers and magazines from around the world.
The launch of the new campaign coincides with National Libraries Week, an annual celebration of all that libraries offer in the 21st century, from free access to hundreds of books and ebooks, events and clubs for adults and children, the availability of computers and IT, friendly meeting spaces and helpful, well-informed staff.
Cllr Jeff Watson, cabinet member for libraries at Northumberland County Council, said: “Library services are far more than buildings.
“During the lockdowns staff went the extra mile to ensure that even when members weren’t able to go into a library they could still enjoy reading.
“We introduced things like the ‘befriending’ service where staff would keep in regular touch with anyone who was feeling isolated and have a chat over the phone about what books they were enjoying.
“We also offered a ‘select and collect’ service, where staff would carefully choose books for members to be collected at a time suitable to them.
“Virtual support and reading groups were set up to help new mums and we delivered to more than 200 members with our doorstep delivery service.
“Now we are delighted to be able to welcome people back into our 30 Covid-safe libraries, where staff are really enjoying being able to chat face-to-face.
“We certainly are ready to Turn the Page on a new chapter for the service with a programme of both virtual and physical events planned for the rest of the year, fresh new stock and a digital offer accessible to all.”
Libraries week events include online ‘virtual author’ events with Glenda Young who will talk about her latest gritty drama set in the early 1900s ‘The Miner’s Lass’ (Oct 5); Scottish crime writer Denzil Meyrick (Oct 6) will discuss his best-selling DCI Daley series, which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. And, very appropriately, on October 8 Freya Sampson will chat about her novel “The Last Library”. A book about our love of books, libraries and the community they bring together, filled with eccentric and eclectic characters.
There will also be a ‘chose a poem workshop’ at Morpeth Library on October 7 at 18.15. All the events are free.
To find out more, or to register, go to
And, storyteller and comedy actor Gav Cross will be performing “Twisted Tales for Terrible Children” in Berwick, Cramlington and Ashington libraries from October 4 to 6. There’s something in the family show for everyone in the show, from stories and jokes to morbid sing-a-longs. A family ticket is £10 or £3 per child and £5 for adults. All performances will adhere to the latest government Covid-19 guidelines.
*To find out more about Libraries Week go to http://librariesweek.org.uk/