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To celebrate the public libraries who go above and beyond to welcome people seeking sanctuary, we have the Libraries of Sanctuary Award.

The next application submission date is April 4th, 2025

Due to limited capacity and need to clear reappraisal backlog we have dropped the September submission date for new applicants.

The key criteria for the awards are:

  • Learn: find out what it means to be seeking sanctuary; and be actively involved in awareness raising.
  • Embed: take positive action to make welcome and inclusion part of the values of your organisation or community, to support sanctuary seekers and refugees, and to include them in your activities.
  • Share your vision and achievements: let others know about the positive contribution refugees make to our society and the benefits of a welcoming culture to everyone.

Applying for the Award

Key benefits of gaining the Award include:

  1. Extending the reach of the library, bringing in a wider range of people, both to access the tailored services, and to raise their awareness of other activities available
  2. Strengthening partnership-working to deliver much needed services to local communities, and extending the range of partners who want to work with us
  3. Affirming the library as a community hub at the heart of its community
  4. Demonstrating that the library has something to offer new arrivals
  5. Gaining recognition from elected members and senior officers that the library service can deliver many key council priorities

A good starting-point is the Sanctuary Awards page and particularly “The Awards Process Guidance for Applicants” section which outlines the whole process – starting with:

The Application

Step 1 – Contact your local group or a national officer if there is not a local group near you. They will be able to discuss your application and answer any questions you might have.

Step 2 – Pledge your commitment to work towards the values and principles of the City of Sanctuary charter by signing up as a Supporting Organisation. We also encourage you to sign up to monthly the national newsletter

Step 3 – Produce a plan (with support of local group) using the process of LEARN, EMBED, SHARE.
Include how you plan to incorporate the CoS network principles (where applicable) within the organisation and what can be appropriately embedded within your context.

Step 4 – Submit a written application for an award using the Awards Application form. We have recently launched an online application process which you are welcome to use although it is still in testing mode. If you do use it we would appreciate your feedback.

The Libraries of Sanctuary resource pack includes all this information, plus examples of work developed by other libraries.

There is a set of minimum assessment criteria which all applicants are expected to achieve – these can be downloaded in a Word version or as a pdf .

There is also a suggested Assessment Table, with ideas of questions to ask, linked to material in the resource pack.

Finally, there is an example of a completed Assessment, including feedback from the assessors, from Thimblemill Library, Thimblemill – Library of Sanctuary (Case Study). Contact us to see other applications.

Contact Ashley at [email protected] with any questions.