Services and resources

Libraries of Sanctuary is one stream within the City of Sanctuary UK movement which aims to build a culture of welcome, and place of safety for people seeking sanctuary from conflict, persecution, climate and environmental issues and for other new arrivals.

In August 2021 we were awarded 'Official Libraries of Sanctuary' status, recognising the work we have done to welcome people. Kirklees Libraries first in Yorkshire to receive national accolate.

Our Sanctuary resolution

We will be safe, neutral, welcoming spaces, accessible to all.

Our staff and volunteers will be trained to understand issues faced by sanctuary seekers and provide support.

We will provide free, low-cost activities to support specific needs of communities and engage with sanctuary seekers and organisations to ensure our services are relevant.

We will work in partnership with others to promote inclusion, extend the sanctuary movement, and highlight the positive contribution of sanctuary seekers.

Our outcomes

  • An offer that is relevant and responsive to the needs of sanctuary seekers.
  • Sanctuary seekers gain a consistent welcome, the support they need and associate libraries with a go to space and a safe, non-judgmental environment.
  • Improvement of sanctuary seekers' knowledge of library offers and support available.
  • Increase in staff, volunteer and community awareness of asylum and migration issues.
  • Positive impact on sanctuary seekers' lives supporting issues such as isolation, loneliness, digital inclusion, learning, health, community integration and involvement.
  • Expansion of collaborative working with other services, organisations and sanctuary seekers themselves to deliver Sanctuary agenda within libraries and via outreach.
  • Gain local, regional and national recognition for our work with sanctuary seekers.

How we are achieving our outcomes

  • A specific 'Libraries of Sanctuary' team trained and committed to making a difference.
  • Regularly evaluating of our offer alongside a program of engagement with sanctuary seekers.
  • Maintaining a core of information specifically targeted at sanctuary seekers, which is regularly updated and shared with our workforce and partners.
  • Free access to books including community and dual language books are available in our libraries and as part of our e-book collection at Kirklees Overdrive .
  • Free access to Pressreader , allowing people to read international publications that would otherwise not be available in the UK.
  • Free access to e-resources such as Go Citizen , which helps people prepare for the Life in the UK test.
  • Free public access I.T. for all library members.
  • Volunteering opportunities.
  • Formal ID no longer needed to become a library member.
  • ESOL provision including informal library run conversation groups and signposting to more formal courses via #KirkleesWelcomes.
  • Regular events such as 'Meet, Try, Learn' and 'Refugee Week' and special one off events, such as Eid and Christmas parties.

If you would like more information about Libraries of Sanctuary within Kirklees, or to work with us, please contact

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