The Kittiwake Trust

Borderline Books was first set up in the Netherlands in 2001 and was the original project out of which The Kittiwake Trust grew. The reason we didn't name the charity Borderline Books was in order to avoid limiting us to a single project. The kittiwake was chosen as a symbol of our work

as it is a bird without a home, coming to land only in order to nest, and when the fledglings are grown, they return to sea where they spend the rest of the year.


Our projects tend to cater for those with no permanent home, those fleeing war, persecution or domestic abuse. Also those who hover on the borderline in one sense or another, people who are imprisoned or displaced and those who are on the fringes of society.


The Kittiwake Trust became a CIO on 26 January 2016 with charity number 1165318.

The patrons of Borderline Books

Musician and activist, Peggy Seeger

Writer and speaker, Michael Rosen

Borderline Books remains an ever-growing project and one which we invite people to replicate all around the country.


In addition we run a Multilingual Library which will reopen in Gateshead shortly after having to leave our original home in Newcastle in early 2021.


The idea for the library grew out of a chance remark by a volunteer, that Borderline Books had more books in more languages than the universities in Newcastle have. From that moment we stopped giving those books away and began to work on building a collection. The library currently contains in excess of 20,000 books in  more than 120 languages and dialects.


In October 2020 our library was awarded the title of Library of Sanctuary and was the first such library in the North East


As far as we are aware, our library is unique in the UK. There is a Multilingual Library Scotland, a Multilingual Children's library as part of the Public Library in Sheffield and we know that Coventry is in the process of building a Multilingual Library there. We will be happy to support any and all of these projects in whatever way we can.

We have already donated duplicate copies to all these projects.


Professor David Crystal is patron of the Kittiwake Trust Multilingual Library.