Cumbria Libraries online resources - The Library Edit

Some of the best websites and online resources to get you through lockdown - all chosen by library staff, and helpfully grouped by theme.

If you are interested in music, art, theatre, galleries, museums and all things cultural, these are "must visit" websites…..

Seeing the North with Sankey 

Sign up to the dedicated Facebook page for this fabulous project run by Signal Film and Media which explores Cumbria and the North through the eyes of the Sankey photographers. There are plenty of opportunities to poke around in British photographic history and opportunities to share stories and get involved in volunteering.


Artwork Archive

An informed perspective on how to be a cultural and artistic participant from your couch while at home with tips and links to help you make the best of this season's offerings.


British Tattoo Art Revealed: the virtual edition

This fascinating exhibition of British Tattoo art was planned as The Historic Dockyard at Chatham's Spring exhibition, but, a week before opening, Britain went into lockdown and so the doors closed and the exhibition currently sits in the dark. As only a handful of staff have had the pleasure of viewing it, the exhibition can now be seen virtually, online.

The Guardian

The critics pick of the best new arts shows to enjoy on TV, radio and online 

JPBrewer's flickr stream

While in quarantine, why not have a fresh look at classical paintings, online

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Music making, games and activities from the musicians of the Royal Philharmonic

National Theatre live at home 

A new play released every Thursday with bonus cast and creative content. Watch Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, from Thursday 30 April 2020.


Secret Sofa from Secret Cinema 

Dress up each Friday night and stay in to watch some of the greatest films alongside thousands of others - Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge is showing this week on 1 May 2020.

Recommended by the Royal Academy...   

Nine top-notch virtual exhibitions to watch online from the comfort of your home.

The British Museum may be closed, but you can still explore this iconic building online and discover 2 million years of history and culture through virtual tours, galleries, podcasts and resources. 


School of Life offers short videos on the Philosophy of Life - perfect for children and young people

The Social Distancing Festival celebrates and showcases amazing talent from all over the world, with live streams and artist events


Head over to the British Independent Film Awards website for some of the best short films of recent years, nominated for the British Independent Film Awards.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams 

Perhaps we need the beauty of dreams more now than ever…  fall under the spell of Dior's enchanted treasures in this documentary about the V&A's exhibition with links to the museum's video and photographic archive.


Andy Warhol - Tate Exhibition Tour

For a different kind of art, travel to the Tate online for their Andy Warhol exhibition which explores the artist through the lens of the immigrant story, his LGBTQI identity and concerns with death and religion


What is Yarn Bombing?  

This is a really interesting article about the knitted and crocheted wonders that show up these days on our trees, lamposts, monuments and benches with some fabulous examples and even a Yarn Documentary.


The Way I See It

The BBC doing what it does best - these are educational and revealing podcasts by leading creative thinkers who each choose an artwork from the Museum of Modern Art, and talk about how it inspires, provokes, thrills or surprises them. 

And children can be Culture Vultures too… 

m6 Theatre Company

A Tiger's Tale inspired by the book Tiger on a String about a family of acrobats who travelled the world.  When WW2 broke out they returned to Yorkshire with Fenella, a Sumatran tiger! Downloadable activity pack accompanies the film.

Useful websites to support your health and wellbeing…

NHS Looking after young people and children during the Corona Virus

Tips and guidance on how to best care for young people mentally and physically with useful further support links also.

Welfare Support

A Cumbria County Council booklet covering a wide range of welfare support that is available to people who may be struggling because of coronavirus.  Physical copies should be distributed to households this week for people to keep and use as they need it.

10 Days of Happiness

The Covid-19 pandemic brings big challenges for our mental health, whether you're isolating at home or trying to live with the new restrictions. This program can help you cope and find a little more happiness in these crazy times.

10 Days of Happiness is a free online coaching program which guides you through daily actions for happier living. It is designed for challenging times, based on the latest research from positive psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural science.

Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation website has a range of content designed to give you more information about mental health and to help you to look after your mental health. There are podcasts, videos, inspiring stories and information about getting help if you're struggling. The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak, and their website also has a dedicated coronavirus webpage


Whether you're living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information is vital. The Mind website offers a wide range of information and support, as well as a dedicated Coronavirus support page

Reading Well books

In these challenging times, The Reading Agency's expert-endorsed ReadingWell booklists can help you look after your mental health and manage long term conditions. The books are all chosen and recommended by health experts, as well as by people living with the conditions, and their relatives and carers.

The titles listed below are from the Reading Well collections and are available to download as e-books from our BorrowBox platform  

Reading Well for mental health (Adults)

  • A Manual for Heartache - Cathy Rentzenbrink 
  • A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled - Ruby Wax 
  • Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder - Chloe Catchpole
  • Break Free from OCD - Fiona Challacombe
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Elaine Iljon Foreman
  • Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving - Julia Samuel
  • Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig 
  • The Boy with the Topknot - Sathnam Sanghera 
  • A Manual for Heartache - Cathy Rentzenbrink 

Reading Well for young people - Shelf Help

  • Blame My Brain - Nicola Morgan
  • Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens - Sheri van Dijk
  • Face - Benjamin Zephaniah
  • House of Windows - Alexia Casale
  • I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
  • Kite Spirit - Sita Brahmachari
  • Mind Your Head - Juno Dawson
  • The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens - Jennifer Shannon
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
  • The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens - Jennifer Shannon
  • The Teenage Guide to Stress - Nicola Morgan
  • The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B - Teresa Toten

Reading Well for children

  • Check Mates - Stewart Foster
  • Clownfish - Alan Durant
  • Ella on the Outside - Cath Howe

Reading Well for people with long term conditions

  • Arthritis: Exercise Your Way to Health - Paula Coates
  • Asthma: Answers at Your Fingertips - Mark Levy
  • Coping With the Psychological Effects of Illness - Fran Smith
  • Diabetes for Dummies, 5th edition - Alan L. Rubin
  • Fighting Fatigue: A Practical Guide to Managing the Symptoms of CFS/ME - Sue Pemberton
  • How I Rescued My Brain - David Roland
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Megan Arroll
  • Type 2 Diabetes in Adults of All Ages (Second Edition) - Charles Fox
  • Understanding and Dealing with Heart Disease - Keith Souter

Covid-19 information

For the latest information about Covid-19 



There are so many reasons to quit smoking, but never a more important time than right now during the coronavirus pandemic. #quitforcovid is a campaign to support people to give up smoking. 


Every Life Matters

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. This website offers expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health.

The Money Advice Service

Set up by government, this website offers free and impartial money advice, with advice and guides to help improve your finances, Tools and calculators to help keep track and plan ahead, and support over the phone and online.

NHS Fitness Studio exercise videos

Take your pick from 24 instructor-led videos which cover the aerobic, strength & resistance, and pilates and yoga categories. These workouts have been created by fitness experts, InstructorLive, and range from 10 to 45 minutes, so whether you want to tone your abs or try belly dancing, this is the place to go.

The 2.6 Challenge 

Join in with the 2.6 Challenge to help save the UK's charities. Whatever your age or ability, you can take part. They're not looking for superheroes, but for Home Heroes, to help those charities who would have benefitted from The London Marathon, had it run, and who have had to reduce or stop services at a time when vulnerable members of society need them most. 

Press-ups, hula hooping, online workouts, chair exercises - they all count!

#StayInWorkOut with Active Cumbria

And if you are looking for ideas for the 2.6 Challenge…..Active Cumbria have brought together a brilliant list of online exercise websites into one handy place. The recommended sites are for different ages and abilities, to keep you active in and around your home. There literally is something for everyone here!


Paths for all

This Scottish charity, which usually delivers health walks, has devised some top tips to help you make the most of your one hour a day social distancing walk.


Silloth Virtual Walk

Simon McCall, a Walk Leader for Walking for Health, has put together a short virtual walk of Silloth, in Cumbria, located on the shores of the Solway Firth


Free online counselling for young people over 11. 


Mental health information and self-help guides 


Online self-help guides

A wide range of downloadable self-help guides from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust 

Recovery College online 

Information and online courses - includes a free online course for everyone in response to the recent global Coronavirus pandemic.

Every Mind Matters

UK Government Mental Health and Wellbeing advice including NHS recommended Apps 


Good Thinking

Online wellbeing resources 


Suicide Prevention

Information and advice at Every life matters or Suicide Prevention Network

NHS Coronavirus children's resources

Resources for children and young people to help explain the coronavirus.  Includes stories videos and poetry

Read Teach Learn Think: 10 books to share as children return to school after lockdown

10 books suitable for nursery, reception and year one children focussing on managing emotions, handwashing, social distancing and Coronavirus in general.

Telephone/Text Helplines

NHS 111 

For NHS advice and referral for any health or mental health related issues 24/7

Samaritans 116 123

Whatever problems you are facing Samaritans are there to listen 24/7

SHOUT Text Shout to 85258

Crisis text service for support with any mental health concern 24/7

CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably 0800 58 58 58 

Helpline for men of all ages, open 5pm to Midnight.

Silverline 0800 470 80 90 

Information, friendship and advice for older people 24/7

Young Minds Parent Line 0808 802 5544

Advice for parents and carers worried about a young person 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Young Minds Crisis Messenger Text YM to 85258

Crisis text support for under 25s 24/7

Papyrus Hopeline 0800 068 4141

Support and advice for Young People. 9am to 10pm Monday to Friday. 2pm to 10pm Weekends.

The Mix 0808 808 4994 

Advice and support for under 25s 4pm to 11pm

Childline 0800 11 11

Support currently available 9am to Midnight, and online 1-2-1 chat 

Self-Harm Awareness for All (SAFA) 01229 832269

Cumbria based charity offering Counselling via telephone. Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Links to learning…

Here are some good websites and apps to look at to find fun, free activities for your children while they're learning from home


For students revising at GCSE and A-Level, this site has a wide range of free material, plus paid access to higher level resources.

Fable Vision Learning  

Free online resources from the educational publishing company which help promote creativity, communication, collaboration, cultural thinking and compassion for both primary and secondary age children.

Disney Education 

Free activities, resources and videos showcasing some of the most popular parts of Disney Theatrical's education programme.

STEM Resources 

Explore a range of free activities and resources focusing on the STEM curriculum, covering maths, science, computing and design technology for primary and secondary age children. The site is updated weekly with new material.

ICT Games 

Created by a UK teacher, ICT Games offers a range of maths and English games aimed at children in Years 1, 2 and 3.

Dyslexia online learning help

A learning package from specialist publishers Barrington Stoke offering  advice, information and free resources for parents and carers of children with dyslexia, including tips on reading and links to specialist support.

Dekko Comics

Free educational comic stories to help with school work during Covid 19.  Ages 9-12 (Primary keystage 2) relevant to national curriculum subjects Maths, English, Science and Geography.  Useful for reluctant readers, visual learners and dyslexic students.  Designed with dyslexia friendly features in mind.

Oak National Academy

This is a Government-backed collection online lessons and resources created by teachers in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Lessons and resources are updated every week and are suitable for primary and secondary school age groups.

TES Teacher Essentials

A wide range of free home learning lesson packs for use by parents, carers and teachers. The packs are presented by year group and cover early years, primary, secondary and special needs.


A national home learning website for parents and carers with advice from qualified teachers on home learning strategies, resources, behaviour and special educational needs. There is also a helpline - 03303 139162 - which is open 6 days a week.

National Literacy Trust Skills Academy 

This programme is now free online. A reading intervention which improves Year 7 and 8 students' reading, rewarding their progress by unlocking exclusive video tutorials from some of the UK's best freestyle footballers, beatboxers and breakdancers.


Tinkercad App 

This is a free app aimed at teachers and children across primary and secondary age groups, using 3D design, electronics and coding to imagine, design and create.

DK Find Out 

Quizzes, videos and colourful animations to engage primary school children in learning from home, plus ideas for parents on how they can help with their child's learning.

NASA Kids Club 

Lots of fun activities and resources to help primary school children learn about space.

Puffin Schools 

To support teachers, parents and caregivers now tackling home-learning, the Puffin Schools website has been restructured to make Puffin books and resources accessible to children who need them. A huge collection of easy to discover resources to bring stories to life, including bite size activities and new categories such as Writing Prompts, Activity Ideas and Picture Book Packs.

Small Talk 

Chat, play and read activities aimed at 0 to 5 years

First Palette 

A large collection of free printable resources and craft activities for children, parents and teachers, and great ideas for creative learning activities for early years/primary age children.


Free access to children's creative writing activities led by authors, including a 10 minute creative writing challenge. Suitable for primary and secondary school children.

The Big History Project 

Aimed at secondary school level, this site is a joint effort from teachers, scientists and other experts bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to history.


From Spanish to Japanese, learn a language for free via the website or by downloading the mobile app. For primary age children up to adult.


Helps primary and secondary school students learn computer programming skills in a fun way.

Tiny Happy People 

Simple Early Years activities, play ideas and tips for parents to develop their child's communication skills.

National Literacy Trust Family Zone 

For ages from birth to 12, this site has ideas and guidance on simple activities around reading, writing and language development.

Usborne Play and Learn at Home 

Lots of fun resources to help keep children engaged in learning at home, from birth to 11 years. All Usborne ebooks are reduced to 99pence until the end of April 2020.

The Maths Factor 

Resources from this site, created by Carol Vorderman, will be free for the duration of the Covid-19 school closure period. Following the maths curriculum, there are challenges and activities for children aged 4-12 years.

BBC Bitesize 

Starting on Monday 20 April, BBC Bitesize will publish daily online lessons aligned to the National Curriculum for all ages. There will also be a dedicated TV channel filled with learning content, podcasts on BBC Sounds and educational video on iPlayer.

For older students, BBC Four is teaming up with the Red Button to deliver evening programmes to support GCSE and A-Level students.

A comprehensive list of websites covering English, maths, science, PE, wellbeing and SEND identified by educational experts, offering free resources and support for children of all ages.



Widely used by teachers and schools, Twinkl has created a school closures online resource pack for parents with ideas and advice on all aspects of the curriculum from ages 3 to 12+

Rhyming Multi-sensory stories 

This website has been put together by a SEN literacy teacher and is full of useful information, ideas, inspiration, and free resources based around multi-sensory stories adapted to suit a range of abilities from curious toddlers to teenagers with complex needs.


The Government has launched online training to give UK school pupils the opportunity to learn and develop cyber security skills, including the National Cyber Security Centre's CyberFirst summer courses. Aimed at secondary school age children.

Home Learning from Stonewall 

Stonewall have launched a set of home-learning packs, covering Frida Kahlo, Different Families, Maths Problems, English Activities, Creativity, and LGBT History.

Great School Libraries 

Online ask-a-librarian service. Parents can post questions on where to find resources, ideas or just general support needs and they'll be answered by an expert. For early year up to secondary school age children.

Crash Course Kids 

YouTube videos on a range of subjects but particularly focusing on science and engineering based topics for primary age children.

Reading, rhyming and other fun stuff…

Chris Haughton Read-alongs 

Chris Haughton, author-illustrator of favourite books such as Oh No George! and Goodnight Everyone is keeping children across the world busy with his read-alongs, live art tutorials and activities.

Tom Palmer 

Join the author of the popular Football Academy series on his website for daily stories and other free reading-related fun for families at home.

Bear Hunt 

All around the world people are putting bears in their windows for families to spot on their daily walks! For early years and primary school children, this site has reading recommendations by theme, age group and subject, and activity sheets for children to make their own bear and bear ears.

Football School 

Join Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton for Football School Friday at 10am on the Football School YouTube channel.


Blue Peter Badges 

Competitions and tasks to win Blue Peter badges


List of cool author and illustrator events taking place online - updated every weekday.


Stories from Cressida Cowell, learn to draw with brilliant illustrators, get ready for Pyjamarama on the 1st of May and many more fun activities centred around books and reading on the Booktrust website.

Community Learning and Skills online

Learn a new skill or find a new interest with hundreds of online courses to choose from.

National Literacy Trust Zone-in 

Created for 13 years+, this dedicated section of the National Literacy Trust's website has weekly activities and resources designed to help you people build new skills and inspire their literacy during the lockdown period. Topics range from CV planning and comedy writing to freestyle football and beatboxing.

Be inspired and get creative, with these amazing websites…..

Isolation Art School on Instagram

Projects, lessons and tips by artists to help people get creative while housebound during the pandemic. Set up by Keith Tyson who won the Turner Prize in 2002, with activities for adults and children


Paul Smith

In this Get Creative at Home Masterclass which is part of the BBC Culture in Quarantine programme, the designer shows how he finds inspiration in everything from high art to everyday life.


Crafts Council

Hands on making activities for home school from early years to Key Stage 5



#StayAtHome is a selection of free creative courses offered by the experts in online creative development courses for adults.

Origami Way

A website with easy to follow instructions and examples to help you turn sheets of paper into butterflies or some of your favourite characters such as Yoda or Pikachu!

Access Art 

Simple advice for parents and some well-explained activities for drawing, animating, making and keeping calm at home

Fun Palaces

Tiny Revolutions to connect with others in the real world with creative challenges from Fun Palace 

Get Creative at Home

Activities page of the campaign to highlight and make known all of the new opportunities that are being developed to help people express themselves at this time


Keri Smith

Finding inspiration right where you are with creative assignments by author/artist Keri Smith 

Make a film (National Film and Television School)

With the help of award winning filmmakers, find out how films go from script to screen with this free (super awesome) 6-week online film production training course from the BFI Film Academy's National Film and Television School. Suitable for secondary age upwards, the course starts on 11th May 

Make a Miniature Book (The British Library)

This webpage has some delightful examples of the teeniest, tiniest books you have ever seen. Beautiful, and perfect in every way, these books were designed to help children learn by reading to their dolls, and there are examples of books from the library of Queen Mary's Dolls' House, as well as books made by Charlotte Bronte and her siblings. There are also full instructions for children on how to make a miniature book at home for their toys.

Grayson's Art Club    

A not to be missed opportunity to find out how you can unleash your creativity with one of Britain's leading artists - Grayson Perry will help you find your inner artist during lockdown on Channel 4 and on the Channel 4 website.


Sadler's Wells Theatre 

Fun family Dance Workshop for children aged 2 to 6 years.  


Access Art    

Fabulous tutorials (from the people who know how to make teaching resources) to share visual arts inspiration at home.  

Join in with artist Rob Biddulph's draw-along videos, which he posts on Twitter


The Royal Academy offers wonderful online tutorials for all ages, including stop-frame animation, making our own paintbrush and printing with fruit and vegetables, or online life drawing for the more adventurous. Something for all the family!


Find a fantastic selection of colouring, drawing, crosswords and puzzles for all the family on the website of Themegroup Creative Agency

Why not take part in a Photography Challenge with Camera Cabin

Try This At Home

As you would expect from the Natural History Museum - a classy offer of nature themed craft activities to do at home


Game of our Lives

Help the National Football museum to create a permanent fan-led collection of personal memories by posting your stories, photos and videos of the beautiful game.


Get creative on behalf of your cat 

We like to keep the Edit broad and here are 15 DIY projects to playfully connect with your pet.


Family Art Activity Resources from the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

We recommend Marino Marini's Horse and Rider of Modigliani's Portraits using a banana to draw the curves.


Jarvis Brookfield about the Creative Block

Jarvis, an artist living in Leicester gives some useful and interesting tips on how to overcome this universal problem.

Experience the great outdoors, inside, as you #StayHome  

Nature Detectives

The woodland Trust have pulled together some simple, nature-based activities which you can enjoy together with your family at home or in your garden.

National Geographic Kids

This website is linked to the subscription magazine but without either registering or subscribing to the magazine, you can find amazing facts about animals, science, history and geography, along with fun competitions, games and more.


Pawprint Family

Aimed at scout leaders, teachers and parents this website provides ideas and opportunities to help them deliver everyday adventure and skills for life. Many activities can be completed indoors. (Please note that the site offers badges which can be purchased, but they are not needed for any of the activities).

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum website provides a range of nature-themed activities and crafts which you can do in and around your home with your family.


Environmental Film Festival (Washington DC)

Free streaming of films from the world's premier showcase of environmentally themed films.  The festival celebrates Earth and inspires stewardship of the environment through the power of film

Forestry England

Some excellent tips and resources for getting up close with nature through forest bathing, storytelling and being mindful at home

Institute of Zoology Wild Science podcasts 

Delve into topical issues in zoology, conservation and the environment, from saving species and protecting the planet, to finding out about the animals living across the globe, including in London's own river Thames

Jan's 30 day nature tonic

Slightly weird but undoubtably relaxing… why not step outside with Jan and give it a go. Research shows that being in nature is good for our mental health, and for our natural immunity to disease and Jan has decided to share the beauty of her daily walk with us all.

World Geography Games

Challenging and entertaining quiz games to improve your knowledge of the world

Steve Backshall 

Tune in every Wednesday morning at 9.30am as the TV Nature presenter goes live on his Facebook page to talk about his favourite subject….wildlife!


You can also see recordings of his previous live sessions on YouTube



The largest live nature cam network has everything from gorillas to flying foxes, great horned owls, wild dolphins or sea otters. Enjoy the natural world raw, unscripted and unedited as it unfolds in real time from Kenya, Africa to the riverbanks of Katmai, Alaska and everywhere in between.  


National Geographic 

Daily quizzes, videos, science experiments and even at-home classroom resources to inspire family exploration of the natural world


Online map quiz games, covering both Europe and the U.S


Tutorful geography

A great list of top Geography websites, YouTube videos, and resources 


Woodland Trust 

10 simple nature activities for kids to do at home

Apps, Podcasts, and TV shows with real screen-appeal…..

For children

Your Mindful Garden

Daily mindful activities for young children voiced over by actor Stephen Fry.


Little Chapters of Chill

5 audio short stories for children written by children's author Sue Cheung and narrated by Giovanna Fletcher, author and wife of musician Tom Fletcher. Each lasts 8-12 minutes with a mindfulness exercise in each story.


Children's TV - Litflix

TV adaptations of favourite children's books including:

The Adventures of Paddington - Nick Jr

The Highway Rat - Sky Kids

Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes -  Sky Kids

The Demon Headmaster - CBBC

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants - CITV

For adults

Television:  HealthCheck UK Live

Programmes guiding viewers through the challenge of keeping mentally and physically healthy whilst quarantined at home during lockdown.  Available on BBC iplayer.


Free gardening app allowing you to identifying plants and flowers when out and about.


Birdnet : Bird sound identification

Record bird sounds on your phone via this app, and it aims to identify the type of bird from its call.  From nearly 1,000 of the most common species of North America and Europe.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame : Sesame Workshop

A cartoon mindfulness app for younger children (2 to 5) helping the monster to problem solve a number of challenges and remain calm. 


Free online colouring app - a fun and calming online colouring app that can help reduce stress and anxiety.

YouTube Kids App 

This app has a dedicated learning category, collating great videos about science, nature, space and other topics - aimed at early years/primary age children.


Isolation stories ITV 4th - 7th May and online on the ITV Hub.

Four 15 minute stories written by award winning producer and screen writer Jeff Pope looking at different people's experience of lockdown. Stars include Sheridan Smith, Philip Glennister and Angela Griffiths.  Mon 4th - Thursday 7th May with a documentary about the making of the series screened and available from 7th May. 


Read On : The Audiobook Show (RNIB) 

A weekly show recorded at the RNIB talking book studios. Talking to favourite adult authors and narrators. Also RNIB Tech Talk podcast for blind and partially sighted people who are interested in accessible technology.  RNIB Connect reports in podcast form from RNIB Connect radio.  RNIB Sport for blind and partially sighted people interested in sport.

Stuck at Home 

Daily kids' entertainment podcast from children's radio station Fun Kids. Stories, interviews, fun things to keep you entertained and more.

The Penguin Podcast 

Conversations with some of our leading authors and creative thinkers, as we seek to understand how they write and where their ideas come from. Guests bring to the interview a handful of objects that have inspired their work.  Promising to "bring to life the stories behind the books to understand where ideas come from".  Penguin Random House Audio, which won two Gold Awards at the New York Festivals Radio Awards last night (21st April), explained it was increasing the frequency of its podcast in light of "a rise" in recent weeks in podcast listening as a result of people spending more time at home.  Upcoming confirmed guests include Curtis Sittenfeld, Mark Gatiss and David Harewood.

Fun Kids Book Club  

Children's radio station Fun Kids meet and interview top authors who talk about their books and read chapters from them.  Recent podcasts include Michael Rosen, Julian Clary, David Walliams and Tom Fletcher.

The Week Junior Show   

Behind the scenes of the award winning current affairs magazine for 8 to 14 year olds. Debate about the week's hot topics and in 'Real or Rubbish' discover whether news is fake or the real deal.

David Walliams Marvellous Musical Podcast (Classic FM)  

David Walliams goes on a fun, musical journey of discovery meeting some of the most famous names in the history of music.  For children and families to enjoy.

BBC Homeschool History

Fun history lessons for all the family, presented by Horrible Histories' Greg Jenner. Full of facts and jokes, the series brings to life a broad range of historical topics, many linked to the school curriculum. Live episodes broadcast on Mondays at  9.30am on  Radio 4, catch up via the BBC Sounds App, and also online 

Coffee break Languages

Listen to free podcasts and learn English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish or Chinese on the go, where and when it suits you. Short 15 minute conversational sessions. 

George the Poets Podcast (BBC Sounds)

Award winning podcast from Ugandan born London spoken word poet George, social commentator and recording artist.  Gold winner at the British Podcast awards.

How Did we Get Here?

How Did We Get Here gives listeners access to real life conversations with a clinical psychologist on family and parenting issues.

Presented by one of the UK's top TV hosts, Claudia Winkleman and her good friend, clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, the sessions recorded offer deep insight into every day issues with practical advice on resolutions.

Off Menu

Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster ask a different special guest/celebrity each week to put together their ideal menu of starter, main, dessert and drink and in doing so reveal quirky and intimate sides of their character you'd never have imagined.

Spotlight on Youtube


A youtube created website where young people and their parent/carers can find videos that might be useful for their schoolwork.  It links to videos and livestreams on a variety of subjects including coding, fitness workouts, maths, natural history videos and writing projects.

Let's Go Live

Youtubers and TV hosts Maddie Moate and Greg Foote stream live daily with chat and activities around a great variety of different topics from birdspotting, dinosaurs, garden workouts, space, volcanoes and more.  Although live, all shows can be watched again.

Celebrity Substitute

Starting 7 May, inspired by the millions of students around the world learning from home, the show will get celebrities to team up with teachers to hold lessons over the internet.  Features Ken Jeong, one of the judges on the recent TV show The Masked Singer.

Stream #withme

On 30 April a collection of famous British Youtubers and celebrities were asked how they were coping with being at home and set online challenges.  It features stars including inventor Colin Furze, Youtube English teacher Lucy Earle, and vloggers Daniel Howell and Phil Lester (aka Dan and Phil).  Although they were live streams raising money for NHS charities together, they can be watched again on Youtube.

Oti Mabuse dance classes

Strictly Come Dancing and The greatest dancer star Oti Mabuse, and her husband Marius, have been filming dance classes for young people and adults to enjoy.

If books and reading are your thing, these are "go to" websites …..

360-degree Library Tour

Missing your library fix? Take a tour of King's College Library at Cambridge University. The university library was established in 1441 and is home to notable collections of rare volumes, medieval manuscripts, and early printed books. Roam the all-wood labyrinth of aisles and nooks in this online tour, which features short biographies of scholars who left their mark on the college.


Free Winnie The Witch ebook

The adventures of children's book characters Winnie the Witch and her black cat Wilbur, delight children and their adults alike, and Oxford University Press has just published a lockdown-themed free e-book called Winnie and Wilbur Stay at Home. The title is available to download on the OUP home learning hub Oxford Owl for Home. The 41st book of the Winnie and Wilbur series, shows lots of situations which families in lockdown can relate to, from trying to tackle home learning to joining in with the clap for our carers and NHS staff. At first they find it difficult, but in the end they discover that staying home can be magical if you have each other.


Generation Lockdown

A writing competition for 7 to 17 year olds sharing stories of life in lockdown.  Judged by children's publishers and all winning entries to be included in a specially produced published book.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone 

Online reading of the first Harry Potter book read by a host of famous Harry Potter loving fans, with the first chapter read by HP himself, Daniel Radcliffe!

What to read next?

An ingeniously created tube map of what to read next for 7+ years readers if they have exhausted David Walliams, Tom Gates, Michael Murpurgo and others! 


The Bookgig website offers a directory for the fantastic choice of live online festivals, gigs and events with bestselling authors for adults, young people and children. Upcoming live events planned for May include David Baldacci, Robert Webb and Adele Parks. 


Calibre Audio offers a digital library service which is free to join for everyone who has a print disability and is prevented from reading due to sight loss, MS, MND, Dyslexia, ME, brain injury or any other disability. Their digital library service includes 11,500 unabridged audiobooks and over 3,000 titles specifically for children and young people, available on streaming, download, memory stick and MP3 CD

Cumbria Library Service Online Book Club

We have launched our first ever virtual bookclub - join us on Facebook and on Twitter to discuss books, and generally have a natter. Staying socially connected is very important for keeping up morale and for supporting everyone's mental health as we adjust to this new way of living, so why not try our new virtual Reading Group - keep in touch and keep reading whilst social distancing!

A title a month will be chosen, available in ebook and eaudio format on our Borrowbox platform.   @CumbriaLibraryService    @Cumblibraries

Everybody Worries : Free ebook for children

Everybody Worries written and illustrated by Jon Burgerman is a bright and friendly picture book, in which children learn that it's okay to worry about coronavirus. Rhyming couplets keep the tone gentle and supportive, with plenty of ideas for dealing with coronavirus in a positive way. 

Free Tom Palmer story and resources 

The RAF Museum's Children's Author in Residence, Tom Palmer, has written a time travelling short story, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Join Yusra, Lily and Danny on their amazing adventures.  One chapter revealed each day with downloadable activities and resources, between 29 April - 7 May.

Author Anthony Horowitz has announced that he will share the writing process of his new Diamond Brothers book, Where Seagulls Dare, with children, online via his website. Readers will be invited to give him feedback and chapters will be shared as the lockdown continues, with the full, finished novel set to publish with Walker in 2021. Read the chapters as they appear here:

National Literacy Trust  - The Book Of Hopes : Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children In Lockdown

Completely free for all children and families, this extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children's writers and illustrators. It is dedicated to the doctors, nurses, carers, porters, cleaners and everyone currently working in hospitals.

BookTrust HomeTime offers something fun for the family including storytime with free online books as well as videos, games, book-themed quizzes, competitions and rhymes - you can even learn how to draw some of your favourite book characters.


The Harper Collins Children's Books website has lots of book recommendations, free audiobooks and fun activities to keep the children entertained 

The Harry Potter At Home hub is casting a Banishing Charm on lockdown boredom. Here you'll find all the latest magical treats to keep the kids occupied: craft videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more - for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world. 

Julia Donaldson has a weekly broadcast to entertain families during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Gruffalo author will perform stories, songs and poems, and will be joined by her husband. Illustrators from her books, including Axel Scheffler, Rebecca Cobb, Lydia Monks, David Roberts and Nick Sharratt will also feature. The broadcast is every Thursday at 4pm on The Official Gruffalo Facebook page, and her own website includes activities and singalongs:

Puffin is offering regular readings and draw-alongs from its list of authors on Mondays and Friday 3.30pm BST, via its YouTube channel. You can also watch them via the Puffin website, where you will also find book recommendations, meet the author features and downloadable games and activities


Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books, based in Newcastle, have a weekly story time every Friday at 10am on their Facebook page, with authors reading from their books 

The Bookshop Band has a huge and loyal following of fans and have played in Carlisle Library and at Borderlines Book Festival in the past. Their Lockdown Book Show streams live every Friday at 8.30pm. These are musical taster concerts with songs inspired by five books loved by band members, Beth Porter and Ben Please, which they think you may enjoy during lockdown. 

(The concerts are free, but they have also included a donate button, and 40% of everything earned will go towards two charities: one for musicians and one for booksellers.)


On Tuesdays at 5pm BST At Home with Penguin streams authors including Marian Keyes, Richard Osman and Caroline Criado-Perez, live from their homes, where they reveal how they're coping with life indoors, and what they're reading and watching to get through lockdown. You can also catch up with previous episodes.

And finally, don't forget the Cumbria Library Service website, where library members can access a range of online services including FREE ebooks, eaudiobooks, digital magazines, comics and newspapers

…..and if you are not a library member you can access these services right away by joining the library online.

Stuck in a reading rut? Not sure what to read next?  whichbook is the perfect solution to help you find what you are looking for.  The page has a series of "sliders" which you move to indicate your preferred choice on a range of "must have" reading criteria including mood, emotion, plot shape, type of main character, even the country the book is set in, then see which titles come up as recommendations. Don't fancy any of the books suggested to you? Just change your choices and try again - there are millions of different individual permutations possible. 

360 library tour: A.K. Smiley Public Library

This small library in the city of Redlands, California, was built in 1898 and is designed in the Moorish style. In this 360-degree tour, you can wander through the historic building and explore its vaulted ceilings, reading nooks, and beautiful stained glass windows, which depict symbols associated with libraries and learning. You can also visit the book shop in the basement, where you can catch a glimpse of their mascot, Swimmy the fish, who is a card-carrying library member.

The Children's Bookshow: letters from lockdown

Illustrated handwritten letters from children's authors and illustrators writing about lockdown and encouraging children to write their own lockdown letters to either post or hand deliver to those close to them.