Monday, April 28, 2008

Library Services to the Incarcerated

Library Services to the Incarcerated: Applying the Public Library Model in Correctional Facility Libraries, by Sheila Clark and Erica MacCreaigh. Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited, 2006. 246 p.

More than 2 million adults are serving time in correctional facilities, and hundreds of thousands of youth are in juvenile detention centers. There are more than 1,300 prisons and jails in the United States, and about a third as many juvenile detention centers. Inmates, as much or more than the general population, need information and library services. They represent one of the most challenging and most grateful populations you, as a librarian, can work with. This book is intended to aid librarians whose responsibilities include serving the incarcerated, either as full-time jail or prison librarians, or as public librarians who provide outreach services to correctional facilities. It is also of interest to library school students considering careers in prison librarianship. The authors, a jail librarian and an outreach librarian, show how you can apply the public library model to inmate populations, and provide exemplary library service. They offer a wealth of ideas, answering questions about facilities and equipment, collection development, services and programming; computers and the Internet; managing human resources, including volunteers and inmate workers; budgeting and funding; and advocacy within the facility and in the community. The approach is practical and down-to-earth, with numerous examples and anecdotes to illustrate ideas.