After years of hard work, the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library have successfully become a Library of Sanctuary. The award celebrates libraries that go above and beyond to welcome refugees, recognises that the libraries are safe spaces for all and shows their commitment to helping those seeking sanctuary settle into the community.
The Norfolk Library Service is aiming to gain the award for King’s Lynn, Thetford, and Great Yarmouth libraries in the coming year.
The award was presented to Kath Griffiths, who leads the Library Stream for Norwich City of Sanctuary during Refugee Week, which ran from 19 June-26 June 2023.
Jill Terrell, head of the Libraries Service said: “Libraries in Norfolk have always been a place of sanctuary for local people and migrant communities. They are an established safe and welcoming place, and we are honoured to have been awarded Library of Sanctuary status for our flagship library.”
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet member for Communities and Partnerships said: “This status is hugely deserved by the Millennium Library and goes to show how hard our staff work to make all of our libraries inclusive and welcoming places to be. It is a resounding recognition of the work of our staff and the services we provide for all communities.”
The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library has demonstrated its commitment to refugees particularly since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, by offering weekly drop-in sessions for new arrivals in libraries across Norfolk; adding more books in Ukrainian to their stock and offering free, informal English conversation sessions at the Forum library.