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Friday, September 11, 2009

Prison Libraries and Budget

From a survey I conducted a few years back, it was clear that majority of prison libraries are not even considered during times of budget crises. State statististics consider the number of GED graduates from prisons, and pay scant attention to the number of reference questions sucessfully answered, or the number of materials checked out from the library. Security gets the lion's share of budgets, then other programs including the education departments, get the dribble. The Divisions of Corrections do what they have to do to ensure compliance with Federal mandate of inmate's access to the courts. From the survey, many prison librarians said that they had separate legal and leisure reading libraries, with no money for leisure reading libraries. They depend on donations from many community resources. Of course there are many issues with donations because of security restrictions, censorship, and arbitrary bans from individual states or institutions. Today I read in the Washington Post that Virginia has placed a ban on donations from a non profit group Reading Behind Bars. How typical for sweeping rule changes because of an infringement instead of dealing with the individual situation.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a HS librarian and wondered if you accept donations. I will be traveling to Howard County in June and can bring some books that could be of use in your prisons.

Peggy said...

Yes we do accept books. No text books. Lots of popular reading and materials that would help reentry. Dictionaries are always welcomed

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! How should/where should I get these books to you?

eDiplomacy said...

Please tell us exactly how to send books to prisons. Are there special requirements?

I tried to send books and magazines to an individual incarcerated in the Maryland Penitentiary Jessup some years ago and was informed that no one can send materials to prisons.
I had tried to help this prisoner after reading an article he wrote for the Washington Post.

Please advise how to donate books, dictionaries and materials for incarcerated students.

Thank you.

eDiplomacy said...

Please publish the postal address and how to package books and writing materials.
Thank you.