Literacy means more than learning to read for teens in New York’s juvenile detention facilities. Literacy for Incarcerated Teens supports literacy programs that transform incarcerated teens’ lives.
Posts Tagged ‘library services to incarcerated persons’
Public libraries, as part of their public service and outreach initiatives, regularly reach out to the prison community to help reintegrate and reinvigorate the incarcerated, hoping to also lessen the chance of recidivism. The Brooklyn Public Library has taken the matter one step further by opening up a video visitation center in its central location for families of the imprisoned to communicate with each other for free.
What happens when you combine thirteen students, a librarian, and a furniture design professor and put them in jail? Creativity, collaboration, and design. That’s exactly the formula for success that New York Public Library’s Correction Services Managing Librarian, Sarah Ball, looked for when she contacted the Parsons School of Design. She was looking for a way to update the makeshift carts NYPL was using at Rikers Island and the Manhattan Correctional Facility.
In this informal discussion, the authors share their experiences and ideas about working with and in local jail systems.
Low literacy skills, poverty, and school dropout rates are common denominators for incarcerated teens. Gaining literacy skills create lifelong activities—improved self-esteem topping the list. Begin there and there’s hope for everything else to happen.
Library Outreach services at the Brooklyn Public Library have removed the obstacles for children of the incarcerated to connect with a parent in jail—through technology, creativity and a belief in family literacy, Televisit has changed the landscape of children’s visits at Riker’s Island.
In part because prison and jail authorities have no mechanism to identify children, and in part because no agency is tasked with tracking them, millions of minor children of incarcerated parents often remain invisible in our communities. Because of the stigma of incarceration, families are reluctant to out themselves; consequently, people who interact with these children and their families are often unaware of their predicaments. Yet public libraries are in a unique position to provide a safe haven. They can quietly provide books, media, and other resources that children and families can discover on their own, and they can offer events or opportunities for family and community learning.
Many prisons, if not all, have some form of a library whether it is fixed or roaming. Some are closets filled to the ceiling with books; some are bookmobiles that make weekly or monthly stops. Others have full-fledged law libraries with their own librarians. No matter what the library itself looks like, it is their sheer existence that is so meaningful. Librarians have been working to increase the number and effectiveness of prison library programs so that prisoners can make the most of their time in lock-up and have a chance at gaining and retaining their freedom. Here are a few programs from libraries around the country: