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Westmeath Library Services Awarded as Library of Sanctuary

Westmeath Library Services of Sanctuary Award Ceremony report

Congratulations to Westmeath Library Services, which has recently joined the growing network of Libraries of Sanctuary in Ireland, with Mullingar Library hosting an award ceremony on 27th May  to mark the occasion.

Paula Leavy-McCartthy, County librarian, Westmeath and Cathaoirleach, Cllr Liam McDaniel Receiving the Library of Sanctuary Award from Dr. Veronica Crosbie Chairperson of Places of Sanctuary Ireland

Westmeath County has done itself proud in the creative ways the libraries throughout the county have demonstrated sanctuary, by welcoming and supporting migrants, refugees and international protection applicants into their wonderful, hospitable spaces. In addition to being an educational hub, the libraries have taken action by supporting English language classes, facilitating social circles for the Ukrainian community, CV preparation, information sessions, availability of newspapers in different languages, as well as outreach to adjacent Direct Provision Centres accommodating International Protection applicants.

The award ceremony was hosted by Cathaoirleach of Co Westmeath Council, Counsellor Liam McDaniel, who spoke with pride about the library services’ efforts to create sanctuary spaces; this was echoed by CEO of the Local Authority, Barry Kehoe. The County librarian, Paula Leavy McCarthy also spoke, about the importance of becoming a place of sanctuary in the midlands. The Chair of Places of Sanctuary Ireland, Dr Veronica Crosbie, then outlined what the movement is and aims to achieve in Ireland, and this was followed by testimonials by Aoife Wins of Fruitbowl Media Hub and by Gerry Callaghan, Chair of New Horizon.  Dr Crosbie then presented the County Librarian and the Cathaoirleach with a framed Sanctuary Award Certificate for their exemplary portfolio illustrating the core sanctuary principles of Learn, Embed and Share.

The event was expertly chaired  by Deirdre Broderick, a key champion of sanctuary in Westmeath Library Services, and attendees were entertained intermittently by the music of Paul McCool, John Skelly & friends, a lovely accompaniment to the refreshments which were served at the end of the event.

The award ceremony was an excellent opportunity for networking, with staff from libraries in adjacent counties energised to find out more about libraries of sanctuary and to possibly follow suit.

Photos of from the Award Ceremony

Westmeath Library staff

Musicians_Paul McCool, John Skelly and friends

Deirdre Broderick, Executive Librarian, Westmeath Library Services, Mullingar

Speakers and attendees at the award ceremony

You can also see more updates on sanctuary initiatives on  our social media platforms by following us on the links below:

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