Newcastle Libraries can offer schools a wide variety of resources, activities and advice. Please see below for details of our services and for further information please contact Jen Brown, Jan Dumbell or Judy Zajac on 0191 2774100 or email

Keep up to date

 You can view our events on calendar and for library wide news subscribe to our popular e-newsletter.


Newcastle Collection teaching resources

The Newcastle Collection website has several teacher packs on subjects concerning the history of Newcastle such as crime and punishment, the Quayside, medicine and the civil war. Access the Newcastle Collection resources.

Children's reading group stock

The children's reading group collection was created to support Newcastle Libraries' own reading groups, but it can also be borrowed for free by schools. Within the collection we have a range of different titles, suitable for different reading levels. There are multiple copies of each title which are available for you to reserve and pick up from a Newcastle library of your choice. View the reading group stock.

Bulk book loan on class tickets

For further information contact the children's team on 0191 2774100 or email

Grid Club

This award winning website is closely linked to the school curriculum and provides children aged 5 to 12 with a fun way to learn. There are hundreds of activities covering 12 subject areas with games, challenges, creative ideas for making music, art and story writing and plenty more to explore.

The website is available via subscription but can be accessed for free in any Newcastle library. Alternatively children can use Grid Club at the homework club every Tuesday from 5pm - 6pm in City Library or every Thursday from 5pm - 6pm at East End Library.

Free online resources

We have a range of online resources which you can use with children and young people in school and which they could use for homework at home. All sites are available via the online resources page. They will need a library ticket to be able to log on to the following subscriptions:

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Junior for ages 5 - 11
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Teenage for ages 11 - 18
  • Oxford Art Online: provides web access to the entire text of The Dictionary of Art and the Oxford Companion to Western Art.  Updates and additions to articles and over 3000 thumbnail art images.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Biographies of deceased people who helped shape British History with cross-referenced information between in-depth articles. There are also links to related articles on external resources such as the National Portrait Gallery.
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Oxford Music Online: provides biographical information on classical and modern musicians from Amadeus Mozart to Aphex Twin. If you have Sibelius software enabled you can listen to various forms of music.
  • Times Digital Archive and Nineteenth Century Newspapers: the complete digital edition of The Times from 1785 to 1985, as well as 19th Century newspapers which include three northern titles; The Newcastle Courant (Daily and Weekly), The Northern Liberator and the Northern Echo. 

Early Years Library Loan Service

The Early Years Library Loan Service is a free service we provide to nurseries, playgroups, parent and toddler groups and childminders who require more than 20 books or who look after children with special needs. A box of resources can be issued and then changed termly. These are sent to and collected at a library branch, which is specified by the nursery / playgroup / school etc. Materials available include:

  • Resources for numeracy, literacy and personal, social and emotional development
  • Books for babies including board, bath and cloth books
  • Resources for children with particular needs and disabilities including books and videos with British Sign Language and Makaton, books with Braille and communication aid packs
  • Dual language books

Activities for young people

View the events calendar for details of the following:

School holiday activities

During the school holidays there are free events and themed activities in all Newcastle libraries. Reading and creative writing groups

Most libraries hold regular reading groups for young people of all ages. There's also a creative writing group which is run by New Writing North.


For 12 - 16 year olds

Children can be involved in initiatives such as the Summer Reading Challenge, the Juice Festival and the Northern Children's Book Festival. Volunteers have added experiences to their Record of Personal Achievement and some have volunteered as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Certificate in Community Volunteering.

For 16 - 25 year olds

Reading Activists Newcastle is a Big Lottery funded youth-led programme opening up creative reading and writing opportunities to disadvantaged young people aged 12 - 24 who would not usually use their library. It is managed by The Reading Agency and delivered in partnership with 18 library authorities in four regions (North West, North East, South East and London).

Working alongside librarians, Reading Activists organise creative reading and writing events, gaining new skills and accreditation for volunteering along the way, and meeting lots of writers, artists and other creative people. They help children read for the Summer Reading Challenge and give out books in their communities for World Book Night.

Reading Activists Newcastle steering groups meet every four weeks at 2.30pm in the City Library. For more information contact

Young people can join Reading Activists:Newcastle and can record volunteer hours on V Inspired, the national volunteering site for young people. It's great for adding to a CV.

National and local initiatives

The Love Books Conference

The seventh annual Children's Literature Conference will take place at City Library on Thursday 26 March 2015. The day will explore the important role of literature in the primary curriculum and will be a unique opportunity to share practice whilst celebrating the work of Newcastle schools engaged in developing a whole school approach to literature.

The key note speaker will be announced later in the year and afternoon workshops will offer ideas on how to develop the practice.

For more information or to book a place please contact or phone 0191 2774100.

All colleagues who work with primary aged children in Newcastle and the North East (e.g. teachers, teaching assistants, librarians, children's centre staff and other practitioners) are welcome to attend.

Delegate cost: £75 for full day session, lunch provided.

The Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national, annual scheme that encourages primary aged children to continue to read during the summer holidays. The challenge for the children is to read six books of their choice during the summer holidays. The children simply join at their local library. Three stages to the adventure give a sense of progression and certificates are awarded to the children who complete the challenge.

What Newcastle Libraries can do to help you with the Summer Reading Challenge:

  • We can organise class visits before the summer holidays in order to get all the children joined up to their local library.
  • Class visits can also be organised for the first two weeks in September in order for children to finish the challenge if they need to.
  • Certificates will be printed and delivered to schools so you can present them yourselves.
  • If requested, we can give you statistical data in September to show which of your pupils joined and completed the challenge.

Children can join up to the Summer Reading Challenge in all Newcastle libraries. Activities take place from late July to early September in every library. These are advertised on  on the events calendar and in the Newcastle Libraries e-newsletter. For more information on being involved in the Summer Reading Challenge contact Jen Brown on 0191 2774100 or email

The Big Juice Read

The Juice Festival, Newcastle-Gateshead's award winning festival for children and young people is back for the fourth year. Packed full of events that celebrate the creativity of young people, this year's will run from 19 - 30 October so look out for more details on the Juice Festival website.

The Northern Children's Book Festival

Northern Children's Book Festival 2014 is a unique festival which brings inspiring authors to every part of the North East. The festival has been running for 31 years and in 2014 we will be welcoming some extra special author guests to visit schools and libraries.

For two weeks, from Monday 10th - Friday 21st November, a host of fantastic and inspiring authors, poets, storytellers and illustrators will visit schools and libraries all across the North East.

The festival fortnight will culminate in a Pop-up Book Festival across two venues - Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, and Sunderland Central Library and Arts Centre. This event will be open to families to attend and feature an array of fantastic author events, performances and creative activities for children and their parents and carers to enjoy.

For further information please contact: Children & Young People's team on 0191 2774100 or email


Class visits

Class visits can be arranged with any Newcastle Library and can include curriculum tie-in and snapshot of library skills. These can be a regular or one off sessions, where bulk loan of library stock can be arranged for each class. To set up a free visit, please get in touch with your local library.

Author visits

If you would like an author / poet or illustrator to visit your school, but you don't know who to book or how to go about it, Newcastle Libraries can offer you advice. We have a number of good partnerships with different authors, as well as 'The Reading Agency'  who can broker author visits with libraries and schools. Below are a number of authors / poets and illustrators who we work with regularly and who we can recommend:

Please get in touch if you would like our advice in booking an author session or if you would be interested in bringing your class/school for an author session in the library. Phone 0191 2774100 or email

We also have visits from children's authors and illustrators at libraries throughout the year so please see the keep up to date section above to find out who's coming. Author sessions at the library are free.

Digital Pathways

Suitable for: year 12 and 13
Length: 10am - 3pm
Group size: minimum 10. maximum 12

Digital Pathways has been created by the British Library and develops digital research skills through an enquiry-led session. Students will learn to use online research, information literacy, critical thinking and enquiry skills to develop a research question inspired by an object in the Newcastle Libraries Collection. The second part of the day will allow students to produce an output to effectively communicate their findings.

If you are interested in taking part or require further information please contact Joanne Ghee on 0191 2774100 or email

Page last updated: 
5 January 2015
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