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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Prison Library Resources-Books

Periodically I get questions from staff who work in prison libraries. The main question is - What do you do for materials when there is no money? I suggest librarians do what I do. Check and evaluate online and other groups that offer books to prisoners, for example:
Books behind Bars,
Prison Library Project
Prisoners" Reading Encouragement Project

Check out organizations that offer grants. One of our librarians did a successful application for the BIG READ. It was reported in the local newspaper Cumberland Times Media reports usually bring some community interests and support. I send out requests to my local libraries and they have been very responsive with left overs from their book sales or book discussions.
I encourage each librarian to develop donations criteria or they will find themselves with Bibles, Textbooks, Old classics, outdated encyclopedias, and books that are brown with age. Books that the donor's great grandmother left in the basement and he or she just hate to discard, but feel giving it to those poor prisoners is a worthy cause. Criteria for donations to prisons on ALA OLOS website

3 comments:

Diana said...

Is there something wrong with donating "old classics" or "Books that the donor's great grandmother left in the basement and he or she just hate to discard, but feel giving it to those poor prisoners is a worthy cause?" Is it not a good cause? Are these books not of any value to such a program?

Anonymous said...

Is there something wrong with donating "old classics" or "Books that the donor's great grandmother left in the basement and he or she just hate to discard, but feel giving it to those poor prisoners is a worthy cause?" Is it not a good cause? Are these books not of any value to such a program?

Peggy said...

Hi Diana
There is nothing wrong with donating "classics" Majority of the inmates are not interested in these genre. We try to get inmates interested in reading by giving them what they want, not to impose our will on them because they are prisoners. Later, we try to introduce programs that may include the classics. If you visit any public library you will see a small collection of classics mostly to meet the needs of students. We in the prison get lots and lots of those kinds of donations and they just stay on the shelves unused.