While the package contents were not limited to books, the proposed change hampered books-to-prisoners organizations in their mission to provide reading material to the incarcerated. A large part of the controversy stemmed from the initial five vendors’ limited selection of fewer than 100 books, many of which were coloring or puzzle books. Stories in The … Continue reading Restricting Books behind Bars
In Monday’s session “Librarians Go to Juvie,” Susan Warner, head of youth services at Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL), explained that 85% of juveniles involved with the court system are functionally low-literate, and involvement with the court system dramatically increases the high school dropout rate. In addition, 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at a … Continue reading Librarians Go to Juvie
Creating Inclusive Library Environments: A Planning Guide for Serving Patrons with Disabilities, by Michelle Kowalsky and John Woodruff, begins with an overview of changes initiated because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the follow-up ADA Amendments Act of 2008—changes designed to ensure a barrier-free environment. From there, the book covers policy … Continue reading Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Marcou is a corrections librarian with Hennepin County (Minn.) Library, and his patrons are the residents of Hennepin County Jail. He remembers the first time he saw one of his favorite patrons back in jail after being released just a few weeks earlier. “It was this very eyeopening moment,” says Marcou. “I thought, ‘I enjoy … Continue reading Keeping Inmates on the Outside
Books-to-prisoners programs across the country are doing their best to address this need by taking book requests from prisoners by mail, then having volunteers match those requests to books that have been donated by the public or purchased with monetary donations. Volunteers also prep books for shipment, assess and sort donations, keep track of the … Continue reading The Freedom of Reading
Jacquie Welsh was looking to undertake a project during her two-year residency at Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), so she asked herself the question: “How can we innovate to make our libraries more accessible and more just?” What resulted was Pathways, a program designed to provide resources to those reentering the community after prison.
The question startled librarian Dan Marcou. He had been sitting quietly at a small town library outside of the system where he works, waiting for his wife to finish some grad school research. When he looked up, he didn’t recognize the face immediately, a man holding the hand of a young boy. “Do you remember … Continue reading Reading on the Inside