Ormeau Road Library awarded Library of Sanctuary Status
Published 19 Sept 2023
Photo: Matthew O'Toole MLA, Paula Bradshaw MLA, Mehrshad Esfandiari (Belfast City of Sanctuary), Israel Eguaogie (Belfast City of Sanctuary), Anthony O’Neill (Department for Communities), Claire Hanna MP and Dr Jim O’Hagan (Libraries NI Chief Executive).
At a special event on Tuesday 19 September, staff and colleagues from Libraries NI celebrated Ormeau Road Library becoming the first library in Northern Ireland to be awarded Library of Sanctuary status.
The Libraries of Sanctuary award acknowledges and celebrates libraries that have gone above and beyond in welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum whilst also helping others in the community to understand the benefits of a positive, welcoming culture.
The award was presented by Mehrshad Esfandiari from the Belfast City of Sanctuary team representing the national charity, City of Sanctuary UK.
The library has been recognised for its work in engaging with local and newcomer communities to identify, develop and promote resources specific to their needs. The programme in place at the library includes free and regular activities to encourage community participation as well as outreach events and enhanced collections of stock to help those whose first language is not English.
Speaking after the event, Libraries NI Chief Executive Dr Jim O’Hagan said:
“Within Libraries NI we believe our libraries are safe, welcoming and trusted spaces for everyone and having Ormeau Road library recognised as a Library of Sanctuary underpins and emphasises these values that are core to the public library service. This award highlights libraries that go that extra step, go above and beyond, and the staff here at Ormeau Library are to be commended for their role and the work they have done in supporting this fabulous achievement.”
Photo: Israel Eguaogie (Belfast City of Sanctuary), Councillor Julie Gilmour (Vice Chairperson of Libraries NI), Dr Jim O’Hagan (Libraries NI Chief Executive).