Public libraries are playing a vital role in welcoming, settling and integrating Ukrainian refugees in Britain, according to a new briefing note by Libraries Connected.
Based on a snapshot survey of 45 library services, the briefing outlines the wide range of support libraries are providing to Ukrainian arrivals and their hosts.
The survey found that:
- Over four fifths (82%) of library services now provide books, ebooks and audiobooks in Ukrainian
- Over four fifths (82%) have enrolled Ukrainian arrivals with their library service, with many waiving the usual ID requirements
- Three in ten (31%) of library services host at least one welcome centre for Ukrainian refugees, providing essential information and practical support
- Over a third (38%) of library services provide English classes to Ukrainian arrivals
- More than half (58%) run welcome events for refugees and their hosts
Other support provided includes assistance with visa applications and DBS checks, laptop loans and social events for refugees.
However, the briefing also reveals that the vast majority (87%) of libraries have received no additional funding to deliver these activities. This is despite councils receiving £10,500 for every Ukrainian national arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Libraries Connected is calling on councils to pass on a share of this tariff to libraries to support their work with Ukrainian refugees.
Isobel Hunter MBE, chief executive of Libraries Connected, said:
“We’ve known for some time that libraries have been providing essential support to Ukrainian arrivals and their sponsors. This briefing reveals the scale and scope of that support. Public libraries have a long tradition of welcoming those in need, and once again they have demonstrated their unique ability to bring communities together.”
“Quite rightly the government is funding councils to help Ukrainian refugees rebuild their lives and become part of the community. It’s only right that libraries have access to their fair share of these funds so that they can continue to provide this support, which may prove critical to the success of the Home for Ukraine scheme.”