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