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In November 2022 SWRLS awarded a grant to an initiative led by FX Plus Library called Peninsula of Sanctuary: Libraries.

Peninsula of Sanctuary: Libraries is a cross-sector group of SWRLS-member libraries based in Devon and Cornwall working together to make a bigger difference to embedding the concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion to all new arrivals in our region. We will be focusing on the principles of the Libraries of Sanctuary Award: Learn, Embed and Share.


Peninsula of Sanctuary: Libraries project celebrates first year

Laura Lay, Director of Student & Library Services, FX Plus, reports:


The Peninsula of Sanctuary Libraries project is celebrating a successful year of activity funded by South West Regional Library Service.  The project was led by a group of library professionals from across Cornwall and Devon inspired by the national Libraries of Sanctuary movement,  ''Libraries of Sanctuary is a network of librarians, library staff, community groups and book lovers who are raising awareness of the issues facing people in the asylum system, offering support and participation opportunities, and contributing to a culture of welcome in the wider community.”


This project empowered library staff in Devon & Cornwall to improve the welcome for people seeking sanctuary, and other new arrivals, by raising awareness and building confidence through training, an online forum and a shared resource bank.  


Key achievements:

  • 1st cross sector libraries of sanctuary project in the UK, reaching library staff in public, health, HE, FE, School and Special Libraries.

  • 74 library staff attended training at 4 events and 3 best practice conversations (including one with Cornwall Refugee Resource Network)

  • 100% of attendees felt more confident about supporting new arrivals after the training

  • 53 library staff joined the online forum

  • 80+ resources were shared in the Resource Bank


The forum and resource bank are an ongoing legacy of this project and are now open to all library staff in the South West. This includes regular news, a bank of community information, recordings of training events, a training kit libraries can use with their own teams and information about where to source books in foreign languages. It is also a safe space where libraries from all sectors can ask questions, share information, news and successes.


If any staff at SWRLS member libraries would like to join the forum please email


We are hugely grateful to SWRLS for providing financial support, to volunteers on the steering group, to The Network for providing training, and to everyone who engaged in the activities of the project in whatever way. You can read the full report on our project here.

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