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Libraries of Sanctuary - Devon & Cornwall propose collaboration

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

Inspired by presentations at SWRLS AGM, Laura Lay, Head of Libraries & Archives at Falmouth Exeter Plus, this month convened a group of SWRLS-member libraries from across Cornwall and South Devon to propose a collaborative and cross-sector approach to working as Libraries of Sanctuary.

Libraries in Cornwall and parts of Devon are mostly small with few resources; the communities of new arrivals in our counties are also dispersed and small in number. Working together as SWRLS members, Laura urges, we can make a bigger difference in embedding the concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion to all new arrivals in our region.

The communities we serve across our sector includes everyone from mothers with infants meeting in the public library to our health libraries encountering overseas nurses newly on staff at NHS Foundation Trusts; from international students arriving to study in our universities and colleges to the children of asylum-seekers learning in our schools.

The aim of the project group is to share requirements and refine criteria towards applying for funding to sharpen skills, acquire greater cultural understanding and optimise outreach into our diverse communities to benefit those most in need. We are also planning to involve museums and other cultural venues.

If you represent a library in Cornwall or Devon and would like to collaborate with us as part of this project group, please get in touch with Laura at


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