Lit Review: Public Libraries, County Jails: Best Ways to Break in to Correctional Partnership


by Amanda St John



Since the 1790s, American prisons have provided books to inmates (Darby, 2004; Mfum, 2012) and many facilities staff correctional libraries. With a trend in increasing populations and 1 in 35 adults under some form of correctional supervision, the United States of America holds the largest number of inmates in the world (De la Pena, 2004; Eggers, Munoz, Sciulli, & Crist, 2006; Hass & Saxon, 2012; Schwartz, 2005; Crayton et al., 2010; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics [BJS] 2014 & 2015; Yamatani & Spjeldenes, 2011). Still, short-term facilities—jails and detention centers—often rely on public libraries for services and programs (De La Pena, 2004), and libraries are encouraged to respond. In the late 1970s, the American Library Association’s service standard policy first called “public libraries to extend their services to residents of jails and other detention facilities within their taxing areas” (American Library Association, n.d.; Baley, 1981).

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amandaAmanda St John


Amanda St John is the author of 21 educational titles for youth, including Edgy Fashion, which made YALSA’s 2015 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list. She is also a public services supervisor for a rural public library in Idaho, and a MLIS student at SJSU. This year, Amanda was selected as a mentee in the LLAMA Mentoring Program. She has previously mentored high school and college students in writing, and served as a guest lecturer for a remedial English course in Minneapolis, Minnesota.