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Prison Libraries: Rationale and Role

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 40 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1989) Pages: 126-129
M Albert
Date Published
4 pages
Inmates need to be instructed on the inherent value of information so they can discover and appreciate the influence it can have on their lives.
Prison librarians cannot assume that inmates are self-motivated library users. Inmates need to be reached in a variety of ways depending on their level of interest and ability. A prisoner's way of thinking can be changed to look at a problem objectively and to rationally weigh the alternatives. This type of thinking can be the beginning of a positive behavioral change. Prison libraries can offer support to all prison programs. Librarians must be strong advocates for support services to all the varied educational pursuits in prisons. The focus on development and acquisitions needs to shift to having the resources on hand to determine where books and materials may be obtained. To bring the products of the prison library to the largest potential audience, it is necessary to consider all the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of prisoners. There is a need for better exchange of successful program ideas. Disadvantaged persons or those who do not use the libraries need to be reached to be given a clear idea of what libraries are about. One way to reach them is to make available cultural information which provides a key as to who they are and what they might wish to become. Libraries need to think like entrepreneurs by focusing on programming as an innovative mechanism to interest inmates. 1 reference.


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