Library services

The library service has something for everyone whether you're looking for a new book, want access to the internet or you want to try our home library service.

​Northumberland Libraries operate three mobile libraries from bases across the county, serving people in villages and remote rural areas.

Mobile library timetables 

Central area timetable
(Morpeth Mobile covers areas: Longhirst, Pegswood, Blagdon, Felton, Cambo and Whittingham.)

West area timetable
(Hexham Mobile covers areas: Ovingham, Stamfordham, Humshaugh, Stocksfield, Newbrough and Slaley.)

North area timetable
(Alnwick Mobile covers areas: Kirknewton, Crookham, Holy Island, Warkworth, Craster, Bamburgh, Belford and Seahouses.)
If you would like a mobile library to visit the area you live in, you should first read the service criteria document to check whether you are eligible to receive the service. To request a copy please contact the Mobile Library Service by emailing mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk
Northumberland County Council runs a Home Library Service, which is delivered by volunteers across the County. It is a service specifically designed for housebound customers and involves a volunteer visiting the customer on a regular basis, discussing their book choices with them and delivering and returning items on their behalf. Any Northumberland resident who is concerned that their disability or mobility needs could prevent them from accessing a library service should contact the Home Library Service by emailing: mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk
Customers can sign up to our email notification service where they will be informed by email of any changes to their regular service or times when the mobile library is unable to visit you as planned (for example in severe weather conditions). To sign up to this service please contact the Mobile Library Service by emailing mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk
This service delivers books and audio books free to your door if you are unable to visit the library yourself. Whether you are interested in becoming a customer or a volunteer, find out more here.

If you are unable to visit the library yourself, one of our Home Library Service volunteers can come to you.

The Home Library Service delivers items free to your door if you are unable to visit the library yourself, and have no-one to visit on your behalf.

There is no charge for borrowing any items.You can choose how many items you borrow - up to 20 at a time.

A volunteer will bring the books to your home every 4 weeks, at a time that suits you.
Download a PDF version of the application form. 

You can take your completed form to your local library or post it to your library - click here to find your library's address. Alternatively, you can email the form to mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk
Help us make a difference to people in your community by volunteering for the Home Library service. Northumberland Libraries wants to make its service accessible to everyone.

We are looking for volunteers to deliver books to people who are unable to leave their homes. Volunteers deliver items to people in their own homes.
Download a PDF version of the volunteer form.

You can take your completed form to your local library or post it to your library - click here to find your library's address.  Alternatively, you can email the form to mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk

Find out more about the volunteering role below. 
Volunteers deliver items to people in their own homes. If you are a keen reader, you will have the chance to select stock for your customers, or if you would prefer, library staff will choose the stock. You can take a note of any requests customers may have for specific items and pass those on to library staff.

You will be delivering a much appreciated service to people who would otherwise be denied the pleasure of reading. You will also gain experience that will be useful in other walks of life and develop your skills in dealing with a wide range of customers.
How many people is a volunteer expected to visit?
There is no fixed number. This can vary according to how much time a volunteer can spare and the demand from customers.

When do I have to do it?
Visits are every four weeks and the number of customers varies according to how much time a volunteer can spare and the customer demand. The visits are organised to suit you and the customer, but you must then keep to the agreed day and time.

How far is a volunteer expected to travel?
A volunteer will only be asked to travel a reasonable distance.

Do I need business insurance?
Your car insurance should include cover for voluntary work, but check with your insurers. If you need to pay an extra premium, the Library Service will reimburse you.

Will I be given training?
Yes. A short session will be provided covering the library service and some basic health and training issues.

What would I be expected to do if the customer was ill?
If the situation was an emergency, then you would ring the emergency services in the same way you would deal with any emergency. If you had cause for general concern, you would report to your contact person at the library you use as your base so that appropriate action could be taken.

Do I have to handle cash?
No. The service is free, but if items were damaged by the customer we may want to make a charge. In that instance library staff would collect any payment.

How do I volunteer?
Fill in the Volunteer Application Form that is available above. Please return the printed form to your local library or email it to mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk

A member of staff will take your name and phone number and a librarian will be in touch. We will take up the references you supply.
​We try to ensure our libraries and services are as easy as possible to access.

Please contact us if you have any particular concerns by emailing mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk

If you can't get to the library?
You can access our services through the following ways if you are unable to visit a library yourself: Using our computers
All of our libraries have specially designed computers for disabled users with a large text keyboard, a large screen and a tracker ball mouse available upon request. Please note requested items may not always be available on the day so where possible please make requests in advance by contacting the individual library or by emailing mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk

The PC desks are height adjustable and all PCs have text magnifying software and other accessibility options.

If you need help using the PCs or would like more information please ask your local library staff.
Northumberland Libraries has signed up to a six-step guide to help support people with sight loss, working with organisations such as RNIB, Calibre (which provides books in audio format) and groups of visually impaired people, to find out what they wanted from public libraries.
Audio books, or spoken word books, are available in many titles for adults and children, on CD and MP3 Playaway. They can be loaned for 3 weeks for free to children, concessions, partially sighted and blind people.

The majority of books are now published in audio format as well as printed. We have qualified staff to help you and teach you how to use audiobooks. Audiobooks are listed in the online catalogue as 'spoken word'.
Our Audio Book Groups are for people who have a visual impairment or face barriers in reading printed books. These friendly groups offer an opportunity to share books, listen to new authors or old favourites, hear other people’s views and recommendations, and meet new people with a shared interest. 

Meetings are held once a month. Members take home an audio book on CD then return to the next meeting for a relaxed & informal discussion lead by the group leader. Refreshments are provided and members are fully involved in choosing the books their group will read.  

The following libraries host Audio Book Groups:
  • Hexham Library – meets on the last Thursday of the month from 1.30 - 2.45pm
  • Morpeth Library – meets on the first Thursday of the month from 1.30 - 3pm
  • Ponteland Library – meets on the first Monday of the month from 10.30am - 12noon
There are over 1000 eAudiobooks available for free download from our RBDigital system. Find out what eAudiobooks are available here. You can borrow up to 6 eAudiobooks for free.  When downloading eAudiobook you can select the amount of time you wish to borrow the item for ranging from 1 to 21 days. There are no overdue fees and if you finish early you can return it early!
The RNIB offers a Talking Books Service. It is free to use and to be eligible to join the service you have to be a UK resident who is blind, partially sighted, or have an impairment that prevents or limits you from reading standard print.   They have 23,000  titles available by digital download to your favourite device through RNIB Overdrive, or on DAISY CD and USB stick, delivered direct to your door. 
Using a font of at least 16 points in size, large print titles are perfect for people who have poor vision.  Large print books can be borrowed for free and reserved in the same way as normal books. It is free to reserve a book. 
Learn more about the library PCs and wifi availability.

Computer access
Most Northumberland library offers free Wi-Fi , access to the internet, MS Office and printing using the People's Network computers. Scanners are also available in some of our libraries. Computers may be used for up to two hours a day. You may be able to use a computer for longer if demand allows. Children under 16 must have parent or guardian permission to use the PCs.

Please note there are currently no public PC facilities at Lynemouth and Hirst.  However, WiFi is available.

The council uses filtering software to block access to websites that could be judged to be inappropriate.  However, the filtering software is not infallible and can sometimes block sites that may not be inappropriate. If this happens a form will appear online where you can request to have the block removed.

Click here to view the Acceptable Use policy. 
The maximum session that can be booked at a time is one hour. Additional time can be booked if a computer is available.

You do not have to book in advance but the PCs can get busy. Computer booking can be made one week in advance by phoning or visiting your local library.
  • Wireless internet access is available in most of our libraries. Anyone with a wireless enabled laptop, tablet, smartphone or other portable device can use it.
  • You do not need to be a library member to use Wi-Fi, but you will need to enter your email address to log in.
  • You will not be able to print from the Wi-Fi connection at our libraries, if you want to print you will need to save your information and logon to one of the library's computers. 
  • You will also not be able to use our online resources of -  Ancestry, Find My Past, British Newspaper Archive or Access to Research if you are using WiFi.  In order to use these resources you will need to logon to a library computer.
  • You can use the WiFi to download ebooks, eAudio and eMagazines and also use Theory Test Pro.
  • To connect to Wi-Fi in libraries, select the 'Active_Northumberland_Free_WiFi' network then open your internet browser. An authentication page should automatically appear where you will be prompted to complete a short form.
Using the computers
  • Computer use is free of charge for up to two hours per day for library members (£1 per additional half hour).  £1 per half hour for guests or visitors using the PC facilities.

Printing and scanning
  • Printing charge: 15p per side for black and white and 50p per side for colour.
  • Scanning charge: Free to use the scanner but to print a copy of a scanned document the printing fees apply.

Photocopying
  • Photocopy charge for A4: 15p per side for black and white and 50p per side for colour.
  • Photocopy charge for A3: 30p per side for black and white and £1.00 per side for colour.
  • Photocopy charge for community groups: 10p per side for A4 black and white and 20p per side for A4 colour photocopying.
Northumberland has over forty reading groups or book clubs. The groups are friendly, informal places to discuss books and make friends.

Interested in joining a reading group?
"Reading groups bring people together, improve members' wellbeing and help local communities to engage." - The Reading Agency.

If you are interested in joining a reading group or book club, please get in touch with us by email. We can then give you more information on who to contact for individual reading groups. Please also see below for reading groups in Northumberland. 
We support the running of our reading group service, whereby we have collections of multiple copies of individual titles that anyone interested in running a reading group, (based in a library or somewhere in the community) can borrow copies free of charge. For more information please email mylibrary@northumberland.gov.uk 

For useful information and tips on setting up a reading group visit Reading Groups for Everyone.
Reading groups meet in a variety of places ranging from members homes and the library to cafes and other public places. Take a look at our list below:

Alnwick
  • Fairfields Reading Group meet the third Tuesday (approximately) of every month at 5.30pm at the leader’s home
Amble
  • Amble Reading Group meet at members’ homes on the last Wednesday of the month from 2-4pm
Ashington
  • Ashington Library Book Group meets at Ashington Library on the second Monday of the month 5.30pm - 6.30pm.
Bedlington
  • Bedlington Station Reading Group meets at Bedlington Station Library on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 2pm.  Bedlington Station Reading Group is looking for new members.  If you are interested please leave your contact details with library staff.
Berwick
  • Berwick Community Reading Group meets at Berwick Library on the third Friday of the month at 6pm.
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed U3A Book Group 4 meets at the leader’s home on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 4-5.30pm. 
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed U3A Book Group 5 meets at members' homes on the 1st Tuesday of the month from 2pm.
Blyth
  • Blyth Readers meet at Blyth Central Methodist Church on the last Friday of the month at 10am. No meetings in August or December.
Coquetdale
  • Coquetdale Reading Group meets every Monday at 8pm. No meetings in August.
Cramlington
  • Another Good Read (U3A) meets at members' homes on the first Tuesday of the month at 2pm.
  • The Bibliophiles Reading Group meets the first Monday of every month (except August) at the leaders home from 1-3pm.
Ellington
  • Ready Readers Group meet at members’ homes on the third Wednesday of the month at 7pm.
Hexham
  • The Knitted Leeks Reading Group meets at members' homes on the first Thursday of each month at 8pm.
  • Hexham Library Book Group meets at Hexham Library once a month on the second Monday of the month at 6pm -7pm.
  • Slaley Book Group meets bi-monthly on the first Tuesday of each month at members’ homes.
Lynemouth
  • Lynemouth Library Reading Group meets monthly at the library on the third Monday of each month (excluding August and December)  at 2.00 pm.  The meetings are friendly and informal and new members are always welcome.
Morpeth
  • Causey Park Reading Group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 6.30pm.
  • The Group with No Name meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm.
  • Morpeth VIP Book Group meets at Morpeth Library on the first Thursday of the month at 1.30pm - 3pm.
  • Morpeth NWR meets every two months in the evening.
  • Morpeth U3A Literature Group two meets at members' homes on the second Wednesday of the month.
  • Morpeth Men’s Book Appreciation Society meets monthly at The Sour Grapes, Newgate Street, Morpeth. Only open to men.
  • County Hall Reading Group meets at various lunchtimes. This group is happy to welcome new members, but as work based group the meetings are variable.
Newbiggin
  • Seasider Readers meets at Newbiggin Library on the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm.
  • Ponteland
  • A Half Good Read Reading Group meets on the fourth Tuesday alternate months at 2pm.
  • Bookworms St Mary's meets at members' homes on the second Wednesday of the month in the evening.
  • Ponteland Bookworms meets at Ponteland Library on the last Tuesday of the month at 10.30am.
Prudhoe
  • Prudhoe Library Reading Group meets at the Parish Hall, Prudhoe on the third Tuesday of the month at 6.15pm.
  • Prudhoe U3A Book Group 2 meets monthly in the afternoon, days variable.
Tynedale
  • Bluebell Reading Group meets at members' homes every 4 - 6 weeks on Thursday at 8pm.
  • Gunnerton Reading Group meets at members' homes every 6 weeks on Wednesday at 7.30pm.
  • Haltwhistle W.I. Reading Group meets at members' homes on the second Tuesday of the month at 2pm.
  • Haydon Bridge Book group meets on the third Thursday of the month at 8pm. This group is currently full but a waiting list is in operation.
  • The Hill Top Browsers Group meets at members' homes on the third Monday of the month at 7.30pm.
  • Horsley Book Club meets at the Hearth Coffee Shop on the first Friday of the month at 4.30pm.
  • Wark Reading Group meets on the last Wednesday of month at 8pm. 
  • Wylam First School Mums Reading Group meets on a Friday 8pm (variable).
  • Haltwhistle Library Reading Group meets at the Comrades Club (Haltwhistle) the last Tuesday of the month at 7pm.
Widdrington
  • Widdrington Station Reading Group meets at Widdrington Library on the first Friday of the month at 2.00pm.
While we are updating our online catalogue, please view our reading group collections here: