Tickets to the Afterlife
Redbridge, Newcastle and Kirklees Library services

“I’m really proud that collectively we’ve created something that’s really, really interesting as you go through the experience. It’s a reader development tool in a way because it connects you to books that we have in our libraries [Tickets to the Afterlife online experience].”
Anita Luby, Redbridge Libraries
Staff member
Image of installation in Library

Tickets to the Afterlife was a jointly delivered project across three library services. The project explored the role of public libraries as death positive spaces for conversations, debates and explorations about death. By using books, creative activities and social events organised by libraries, the project team aimed to create deeper public engagement around questions about death and dying in an accessible and non-threatening way.

Higher Education Engagement

The library services worked with a research team from Northumbria University led by Dr Stacey Pitsillides and Dr Claire Nally.


The project team hosted a series of author and book events, death cafes, film screenings, co-design workshops and panel event with academics. They ran a total of 11 online events for the public and two co-design workshops for staff. They also created a digital experience called Tickets for the Afterlife. This web experience was specifically designed with library audiences in mind as it is an installation with a literary focus that also connects participants to research and developments in end of life options.

Public Impact

This project provided the opportunity for people to explore the subject of death and dying in a supportive environment at a time when many people were experiencing bereavement and loss in their lives. It was an opportunity for people to come together to share their experiences and to learn new things.

As delivery pivoted to online events in response to the pandemic, it reached a wider geographic audience.

Impact on Library Staff

This project won the Libraries Connected Health & Wellbeing Award in 2021.

It has provided opportunities to innovate in service delivery. For example, the Tickets for the Afterlife website was re-imagined from a physical booth into a virtual experience which connects to library catalogues and enables library customers to automatically reserve a title that has been recommended to them. In addition library staff have developed new skills in delivering sensitive online events safely.

As a result of the project’s success, the concept is now being rolled out across the English public library network.

Key facts

Engagement type
Face-to-face in library
Workshops and talks
Self-directed activities
Universal Offer
Information and Digital
University of Northumbria

Further Information