Library Service of Sanctuary

In November 2022 we were awarded the Library Service of Sanctuary Award by City of Sanctuary UK. All forty public libraries received the award in recognition of our work to support sanctuary seekers across Hampshire.

Supporting sanctuary seekers

Some of the work we have done in support of sanctuary seekers and new arrivals includes:

  • providing specialist training to help our team provide the best support
  • created a new ‘emergency’ library membership category for sanctuary-seekers to enable easy access to the service
  • found new specialist suppliers to provide books in other languages, including Ukrainian and Pashto
  • invested in PressReader and BorrowBox to give good access to international news sources, plus international fiction and non-fiction through our Digital Library
  • set up regular ‘Community Connections’ groups in libraries to provide social contact, children’s activities and a chance for new arrivals to meet others in a safe and welcoming environment. Search for our groups: Events in libraries
  • provided free English language classes
  • developed a staff network of ‘Sanctuary Ambassadors’ to ensure our activities, events and actions meet the needs of sanctuary seekers
  • translated our leaflets to make them accessible for new arrivals
  • providing meaningful work and volunteering opportunities for sanctuary seekers in public libraries
  • found partners to help us support new arrivals more effectively
  • used Refugee Week to build empathy and understanding amongst our communities – this work continues and later in 2023 we will offer a season of free events and activities for library users of all ages
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