The Multilingual Library




Afrikaans - Albanian - Amharic - Arabic - Bahasa-Indonesia - Basque - Bengali - Bosnian - Breton - Bulgarian - Catalan - Chinese - Croatian - Czech - Danish - Dari - Dutch - Dzongkha - English - Esperanto - Estonian - Faroese - Farsi - Finnish - French - Fulani - Galician -German - Greek - Hebrew - Hindi - Hungarian - Icelandic - Italian - Irish - Japanese - Kannada - Khmer - Ki-Congo - Klingon - Korean - Kurdish - Latin - Latvian - Lingala - Lithuanian - Malay - Maltese - Mongolian - Montenegrin - Nepalese - Norwegian - Oromiffa - Pashto - Polish - Portuguese - Punjabi - Romanian - Russian - Scots - Serbian - Sinhalese - Slovak - Slovene - Somali - Spanish - Swahili - Swedish - Sylheti - Tagalog - Tamil - Thai - Tigrinya - Turkish - Urdu - Venetian - Vietnamese - Welsh - Zulu




The Kittiwake Trust Multilingual Library opened in the summer of 2015. The idea was born after some students who were volunteering with Borderline Books remarked that we had more books in more languages than the local universities have. From that moment on we stopped giving away books in languages other than English and decided to open a library so that they could be shared with everyone.

From the outset the library was welcomed by students, refugees, those brushing up their language skills before going on holiday and by teachers at all levels in education.



Our collection now comprises over 11,000 books in 81 languages (and Geordie). Our volunteers come from 12 different countries and speak around 15 languages in all. This is wonderful as it enables us  to catalogue the books in different scripts such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian etc. It's a long job, but once it is completed (or at least caught up with) we will be able to give accurate figures of the numbers of books and languages available.

The Library also has a meeting space available for language classes, conversation groups, refugee support groups, translators groups and others. Please contact us for details if you are looking for a meeting space. Priority is always given to projects connected with language, linguistics, and migration.

The library is entirely volunteer- run and attracts volunteers from many different countries many of whom are language students. Where possible the volunteers are paired up in order to support language practice.

We hold regular Storytelling sessions for children in various languages. Please keep up to date on the latest plans on our Facebook page.




Festivals and Celebrations

In our library we celebrate festivals of the world such as the Chinese Moon Festival, Diwali, St Patrick's Day and others, we remember Black History Month (every month), European Language Day, Mother Tongue Day and many more. Our window displays often tell stories from history in books, maps, flags and pictures.

We hold storytime sessions in different languages - currently the Arabic Storytime is on the last Sunday of the month at 2.30 in the afternoon.

We also hold occasional days to focus on one or other language spoken by our volunteers, so keep up with what we are doing here and on Facebook and Twitter.


Latest Blog Posts

How to Use a Multilingual Library

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In April 2016, our patron David Crystal enlightened us as to why multilingual libraries matter. Bilingualism (multilingualism in our case) is a mental exercise, makes you more creative, helps you enhance your interpersonal skills and meet new friends, it raises awareness of the world you live in and is also a great plus to have on your CV. In the globalised world, knowing more than one language is more and more beneficial, and, luckily, it is also easier and easier, particularly when you can take advantage of places like the Kittiwake Trust Multilingual Library in Eldon Garden. ...

Why Multilingual libraries matter

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On Thursday 28 April 2016, world renowned linguist, author, editor, lecturer and broadcaster David Crystal came to the Kittiwake Trust Multilingual Library in Eldon Garden and gave a talk entitled Why multilingual libraries matter. David Crystal reflected on why libraries are so important, and why multilingual libraries are the most important of all. As of that date, he has also become Patron of the library. ...