Read the news from the RTE about the Louth Library Service being Awarded the Library of Sanctuary Status
Louth Library Service has been awarded Library of Sanctuary status in recognition of the work it is doing to promote diversity.
Places of Sanctuary Ireland is a network of groups promoting a “culture of welcome and inclusiveness right across every sphere and sector of society”.
Speaking to RTÉ News, Louth’s acting county librarian Amanda Branigan explained the significance of the ‘Library of Sanctuary’ award.
“Louth Library Service has become the first library authority in Ireland to be awarded the Library of Sanctuary status, so it’s wonderful national recognition for the library service here in the wee county of Louth.
“The basic premise of ‘Library of Sanctuary’ which we have been awarded by ‘Places of Sanctuary Ireland’ is the wonderful contribution to creating a community of welcome and sanctuary to everyone in Louth, whether they be migrants, Ukrainians coming into the county, any type of marginalised communities who find themselves living in Louth.
“Our services have just continued to grow and flourish over the last few years and a lot of that has to do with the diverse communities that are now visiting and living in the county. There’s so many things we do now and it’s all about the library being an inclusive, free and equitable service.”
Head of Libraries Development for the Local Government Management Agency Stuart Hamilton outlined some of the measures that have been implemented to encourage more immigrants to join their local libraries.
“Once we heard that we were going to be receiving a lot of Ukrainian refugees into the communities, libraries changed their joining procedures pretty quickly to become more flexible in terms of proof of ID and proof of residence.
“Those requirements were waived, so that we could enable refugees visiting our libraries to borrow books, and of course having access to books in your own language and books for your kids is extremely important for a sense of home. We were able to do that pretty quickly.
“We also then began to build up our collections of titles in Ukrainian, children’s books, but also adult books, and we worked with a lot of local organisations to get reading lists together and then of course over time we have been able to provide more and more activities for Ukrainian families, particularly for mothers and children in terms of story time, rhyme time, things that enable people to come to the library and feel safe.
“Across all of the authorities, we’ve really been able to increase the number of opportunities for refugees in our communities to use library services and of course free of charge, which makes a big difference.”
Content and photo credit: RTE Louth Library Service awarded ‘sanctuary’ status (rte.ie)