Ithaka S+R Introduces a “New Project to Expand Public, State, Law, Prison, and Academic Library Collaboration”

From an Ithaka S+R Post by Kurtis Tanaka:

As Ithaka S+R’s research has well documented, people in prison have profound information needs and suffer from an equally profound lack of resources to meet those needs. Over the past several years, public, state, academic, and law libraries have increasingly sought to serve people in prison through a variety of services, whether reference by mail, lending books, or supporting incarcerated college students in conducting research. Providing these services to people in prison is not, however, always straightforward or easy, and providing a suite of wrap-around services (ie a holistic suite of services that meet people’s recreational, academic, or legal information needs, wherever they are situated) to people while they are incarcerated and after their release can be even more challenging. One of the chief challenges in providing such services is effective collaboration, both between libraries and Departments of Corrections (DOC), as well as between different libraries themselves.

Now, with a $115,972 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Ithaka S+R is undertaking a planning project to 1) document the challenges and solutions for catalyzing greater cross-section collaboration across library types and with DOCs to serve the needs of system-impacted library patrons, 2) gather evidence in order to prioritize between service concepts so that limited resources are best utilized at a future implementation stage, and 3) build relationships in preparation for the implementation of a pilot service. Based on this work, in the future we plan to partner with a library or libraries to develop and pilot wrap-around library services capable of meeting the information needs of people who are currently incarcerated and their families, in order to better support their reentry and community reintegration upon release.

This work will be done in close collaboration with the library community.

Learn More, Read the Complete Post by Kurtis Tanaka

On a Related Note...Podcast: How a Library Inside Juvenile Hall Aims to Break the Prison Pipeline (via EdSource)

See Also: “Providing Library Services to the Incarcerated: An Interview with Jeanie Austin on Their New Book” (December 9, 2021)

See Also: A $1.5 Million Grant From the Mellon Foundation Will Provide Incarcerated College Students with Access to JSTOR Database (October 8, 2021)

See Also: Ithaka Receives $500,000 Mellon Foundation Grant to Bring Unheard Voices to the Public: America’s Incarcerated (May 28, 2021)

See Also: Increasing Access to Quality Educational Resources to Support Higher Education in Prison: New Project Announcement (October 19, 2020)

Filed under: Academic Libraries, Funding, Interviews, Libraries, News, Patrons and Users, Podcasts, Profiles

About Gary Price

Gary Price ([email protected]) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington DC metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.

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