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Lancashire
Friday, July 19, 2024

Libraries of Sanctuary status awarded to Lancashire’s library network

In recognition of the vital role they play in supporting people seeking sanctuary, Lancashire County Council’s entire library network has received the Libraries of Sanctuary award.
The Libraries of Sanctuary award recognises and celebrates those libraries that go above and beyond to show solidarity and welcome to sanctuary seekers and refugees, and to let others know about the positive contribution refugees make to our society and the benefits of a welcoming culture to everyone.

It is awarded by the national charity, City of Sanctuary UK, which supports communities to make their schools, theatres and libraries safe places for people who are seeking refuge.

Around a year ago, Lancashire libraries formally pledged our commitment to become recognised as Libraries of Sanctuary and have worked to ensure our libraries are welcoming and safe spaces for all.

We have reached out to those seeking sanctuary in our communities to use and visit our libraries, inviting them to activity sessions and hosting library tours. We have also shared our learning and raised awareness with other organisations and those within our communities.

There is a set of minimum assessment criteria which all applicants are expected to achieve, as well as a thorough assessment by a panel before the Libraries of Sanctuary award is granted.

Janet Doherty, operational libraries manager, Lancashire County Council, said: “We set ourselves the ambitious goal early on of applying for all of our 64 libraries to be Libraries of Sanctuary.

“Our efforts have been rewarded with a successful application leading to us become a recognised Libraries of Sanctuary.

“While we are happy to have achieved this, we know that this is just the beginning of our journey.

“We will continue to strive to further develop good practice, create engaging activities and offer support to people seeking sanctuary and other new arrivals into our communities, further fostering a culture of welcome and inclusivity.”

To mark the award, a special event was held at Nelson Library, where members of the community were invited to celebrate with live music, a moving poetry reading and an array of halal food and drink. 

The Libraries of Sanctuary award was presented by Jennifer Jaynes from Preston City of Sanctuary to County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that our libraries and welcoming spaces that are inclusive to all.

“Our libraries offer a range of support and activities for all to benefit from and to engage with, so please pay a visit to your nearest library to see how they can help you.

“For more information about Libraries of Sanctuary visit: Library of Sanctuary Award – Libraries of Sanctuary (cityofsanctuary.org)
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