Friday, July 23, 2010

Prisoners Right to Read

The recent buzz among librarians about the  article in the New York Times where there were questions and concerns about inmates reading books on crime reminds me of my experience several years ago.
The prison psychologist and social worker wanted me to remove the books on true crime because their presence in the library would cause a negative effect and retard the progress of inmates who she had in therapy.

They were unimpressed when I displayed  the Prisoners Right to Read and  The ALA Bill of Rights.  I said that since crimes were reported in the newspaper, and on radio and television, they would have to ban those as well. We had several meetings and eventually the  books remained on the shelves, but I did not make any friends among the prison administration.
In June American Library Association passed an updated version of the Prisoners Right To Read


Jill said...

Hi, I am a librarian whose job got cut. Went into teaching in the prison, but my heart is still in libraries. SO....this Friday I finally have an interview to be a prison librarian. I thought I'd research what's going on in that field, and found your blog. Thanks! I'm sure it will help me with the interview.

Peggy said...

Best wishes with your job. If you get on board, I will be happy to answer some of your questions

soozanna said...

Hi Peggy,
I found your blog while researching a case study for one of my classes in my MLS program. I'm attempting to find prison librarians who would be willing to speak to me about their prison library's policies regarding circulation records and reading lists (related naturally, to the article in the Times that you mention). Would you or any of your colleagues be interested? If so, my email address is
Thanks and great blog!

Peggy said...

Hey Suzana Contact me at