Posts Tagged ‘prison’

Prison Libraries Aid Rehabilitation

February 10th, 2012 No comments

The state of America’s prison system, and its ability to rehabilitate inmates, are hotly debated political and social topics. Even educational elements, like prison libraries, which are widely viewed as having a positive impact on inmate’s lives, can come under fire when issues of budget and censorship arise. In the recent blog post 15 Amazing Effects of Prison Libraries, presents the far reaching benefits of allowing prisoners access literary resources. Read more…


Prison Library Coordinator Helps Educate Inmates

April 8th, 2011 No comments

Glennor Shirley discusses her experiences as prison Library Coordinator on her blog Prison Librarian.

After immigrating to Maryland in the ’80′s, Jamaican born librarian Glennor Shirley took on a night job at a prison library to supplement the menial public library jobs she worked at during the day. Decades later, Miss Shirley, as she is called by all prison library patrons, is now the Library Coordinator for Maryland Correctional Education Libraries and oversees 17 prison libraries. Many of the inmates that frequent her libraries are serious felons, some convicted of murder. But, this does not deter the affable Shirley from her goal of helping to educate the prisoners in order to reduce recidivism and help those who get released to build a better life. “I am basically a person who believes in justice and what is right,” she states in an interview with the Washington Post. “I saw these needs behind bars.” Read more…


Life Lessons From an Accidental Librarian

December 6th, 2010 No comments

51IEkpx6IdL._SL160_Avi Steinberg’s intelligent and amusing new memoir Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (Nan A. Talese, 416pgs) recounts his two year stint working as a librarian at Boston’s Deer Island prison library. The poorly motivated, but highly educated Harvard grad found the job posted innocuously listed on Craigslist, and was hired even though he did not hold a degree in Library Science. Despite poor conditions, strict prison regulations and interacting with felons on a daily basis, Steinberg found the job oddly appealing. In addition to duties common to most librarians such as checking out books and helping patrons with research, the 20-something academic also had the more colorful duties of examining books for “kites”, prohibited messages traded between prisoners of the opposite sex, and keeping an eye out for any library materials that could potentially be fashioned into weapons. “I am living my (quixotic) dream: a book-slinger with a badge and a streetwise attitude, part bookworm, part badass,” quotes a review in USA TODAY. Read more…