Library of Sanctuary

Library of Sanctuary

We are proud and delighted to have been named a Library of Sanctuary. A small celebration was held during Refugee Week on 17 June 2021 to receive the award. The Lord Mayor of Newcastle Habib Rahman presented the award to Cllr Irim Ali, Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Public Engagement, who accepted on behalf of Newcastle Libraries.


Presentation of Library of Sanctuary award

Cllr Ali said "It is almost impossible for many of us to imagine the difficulty people go through when it comes to starting a new life in a different country, leaving behind their homes in the most devastating of circumstances. That asylum seekers know Newcastle Libraries offer a safe space and the support required to settle into their new surroundings in Newcastle is a source of tremendous pride and it is an honour to accept this award during national Refugee Week. The efforts of our officers help to bring communities and cultures together in our city, they make people feel welcome and included and highlight the difficulties people go through."


Lord Mayor, Cllr Ali, Cllr McCarty

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Inclusive Economy, said "For many years Newcastle has been recognised as a City of Sanctuary, proudly providing support and opportunities for people fleeing wars, persecution and other horrors across the world. We're proud to be able to offer a safe place for people to start a new life, and a welcoming community that embraces them and helps people settle into their new homes. The work of Newcastle Libraries is essential to achieving this as it helps families integrate into the city, find services that can support them and makes them feel welcome in our great city. To be recognised as a Library of Sanctuary is an incredible achievement and it further highlights our city's commitment to helping people rebuild their lives."








We are looking for additional partners to collaborate with as we already work with Action Foundation and West End Refugee Service (WERS). If you are interested please email We have safe spaces, free access to services including PC and Internet usage, community language resources, family activities, staff to support interactions with local housing providers and council services. City Library also provides a hub of information and support by Citizens Advice during drop in sessions, Skills Hub supporting employment opportunities and Your Homes Newcastle drop in sessions.

Further information can be found at Newcastle City of Sanctuary and Libraries of Sanctuary.

For general enquiries please email

Online Resources is an online study resource for candidates preparing for the Life in the UK test or British citizenship test. It includes:

  • An online version of the latest official study materials licensed from the Home Office, the people who write the handbook
  • Hundreds of practice test questions in the same format as the official test
  • Additional interactive learning resources and teaching aids

It can be accessed with your library card number and PIN on Discover | Newcastle Libraries.  If you are not a member of the library you can join online.

Booklists and Support Websites

Library of Sanctuary Book List - a list of titles recommended for adults and children by Newcastle City of Sanctuary, available to borrow free with your library card.

Newcastle City of Sanctuary Support - provides lists of where to get support, ESOL classes and drop-ins.

International Newcastle - provides a list of organisations offering help, support and information to refugees and asylum seekers.

Information Now - provides advice, help and support for refugees and asylum seekers including access to health services. Available in several languages.

The governments Welcome: a guide for new refugees is essential reading for adults who have been granted asylum in England to access public services and make the most of the opportunities in the UK. Available in several languages.

Digital Skills Support

Newcastle Libraries have formed the Get Online Newcastle partnership with Your Homes Newcastle to provide digital training to local residents, and they now have a digital support offer for each of their resettled families:

  • A tablet with data for home use, set up with antivirus software and other useful resources (available in their own language)
  • Training on how to use the tablet
  • Help to set up their Email and Universal Accounts on their tablet
  • Library membership details so that they can log in to the Library Apps
  • WhatsApp instructions to enable them contact with their friends and families

Picture of refugee family

This offer had been warmly welcomed by the families, many often feel alienated from the friends and family when they come to the UK. Having a tablet and data gives them access to a whole range of support services that they would otherwise not be able to access.                

Did you know?

Library of Sanctuary logo

Newcastle Libraries are honoured to be recognised as a Library of Sanctuary in response to the work we do to help recently arrived refugees integrate into the community, becoming the first public library service in the North East to achieve the title.

To demonstrate our commitment to Libraries of Sanctuary we have strived to contribute to stronger, resilient communities by working in partnership with community groups and others. We act as a medium of positive communication between sanctuary-seekers, migrant groups, and local communities, using displays, events and networks. We are committed to doing what we can to welcome those seeking sanctuary and to help rebuild lives.

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