Award for library which supports detainees at Dover

The library which provides information and support to immigration detainees held at Dover has been named winner of the 2014 Prison Library of the Year Award by the Prison Libraries Group of CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Dover Immigration Removal Centre (IRC), run by the Prison Service in Kent, houses 401 male immigration appellants and failed asylum seekers in secure conditions for the Immigration Service, with the on-site library service and staff supplied by Kent County Council.  

The library has worked to build strong user engagement, encouraging the centre’s detainees to feel welcome in the library and to access information and resources to help improve their current outlook and future prospects during their detention. Staff take care to ensure language is not a barrier and to support users who feel anxious or have never previously encountered a library. Detainees can access websites and legal textbooks to help them understand their detention and legal rights and a wide stock of books, newspapers and periodicals in foreign languages and English.

Victoria Barnett, Customer Services Officer at Dover IRC says “I was so pleased to hear that Dover Immigration Removal Centre Library had won the CILIP Prison Library of the Year award. It has been a tough year for all prison libraries, and IRCs are no exception, so this comes as a very welcome recognition of the hard work we have put in to making our library welcoming and useful to the detainees.“

Sue Wilkinson, Chair of the Prison Libraries Group says: “the entries we received were of a very high standard and it was a difficult task to pick a winner. However, the judges felt that the entry from Dover showed an innovative and inclusive approach to service provision and a real commitment to embedding the library service in the daily life of the centre.”
The Prison Library of the Year Award highlights best practice in prison library service provision and recognises the outstanding work of library staff in prisons, Young Offender Institutions and Immigration Removal Centres who carry out innovative work across prison libraries.