Friday, February 29, 2008

Jails Librarian assists with
Re-Entry EXPO

Many inmates enjoy library services behind bars but never use their local libraries once they are released from jail. In an effort to promote the relevance of public libraries, the Jails Librarian spent last Friday, 2/22/08, at the Re-Entry EXPO.

This event was hosted by Inmate Services, the educational arm of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. The EXPO showed the power of information available to ordinary job-seekers and students. Each of the booths offered tools to help participants help themselves.

Inmates approached the Library Table, full of questions about starting small businesses, going back to school, or entering the job market. Participants benefited from our Librarian's expertise in Business Reference. Staff gathered books from the County Libraries' collections as well as best sellers from local bookstores. These books were on display for browsing, with printed handouts available for inmates to take back to their cells. In this way, the wealth of information will be passed to others who could not attend. Some of the information came from the following sources:

  • Small Business Administration provides a number of useful tools for Job Seekers and those who want to start their own businesses.
  • The Reading For Life Program at the local Library educates inmates about Life Skills, Literacy and Re-entering the Community.
  • Two regional Educational programs are especially popular with people leaving jail. Project Bridge helps people start back to school and brush up on basic Math and English skills. Project Rebound assists people with some Community College credits who are interested in finishing College.

All in all, the EXPO was quite a success and the Library was happy to provide practical help on the path to Re-entry.

for additional information on the Expo, follow the link to an article at the Contra Costa Times

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Muchas Gracias, San Lorenzo!

Tucked away behind several other boxes, the jails staff discovered A WHOLE BOX of Spanish-language donations. We can shed our chagrined, apologetic faces and smile at our Spanish speakers, offering a broader range of choices than usual.

Branches may be surprised to learn that Jails needs all your adult-level Spanish-language discards in paperback format. Books that need a bit of mending are welcome.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Inmate tells it like it WAS

A gentleman in his late 50's was deeply-moved by a comprehensive biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. This man had spent his formative years in the South and the book brought back his childhood and rekindled his sense of history. He cried while reading the book because the pain and the high hopes were so vivid to him. It just so happens his childhood coincided with a pivotal era in American history.

Days before the California Primary, he said this book reminded him that old values should not be tossed away as African-Americans move forward. He lamented that some of the younger inmates don't know anything about King or his message. The Librarian speaking with him said he is now the teacher. With the book in his possession, the history is HIS OWN.

Too much shelf space???

Here are some photos of the Collection after the Staff goes book-buying. All the books are lined up and dotted to distinguish their genres. Yippee!

As you can see, however, several genres are so popular & pricey, surrounding shelves sit empty. Any donated Westerns, African-American and Spanish-language materials would keep the books snug and happy.

The wealth of choices we DO have is thanks to our great benefactors. Once again, muchas gracias, xie-xie, danke, thanks a ton to Half-Price Books in Fremont and the Friends of Dublin Library.