The 1982 Library Services in Federal Prisons survey is a treasure trove! (This survey was conducted by the Federal Prisons Committee of the Library Services to Prisoners Section of the American Library Association.) In addition to an analysis of contemporaneous library services in federal prisons, it includes a comprehensive history of library services in federal prisons. That history led me to these 1933 passages–
Excerpted from Jones, E. K. (1933). Institution Libraries Round Table. Bulletin of the American Library Association, 27(13), 706–715.
These types of discoveries help me to position my own work within the larger, often difficult to locate, scope of library services for people who are incarcerated. They also attest to the great need for more services. The new millennium imagined in 1933 has not yet arrived.
Despite this, there is a renewed energy within the profession and among LIS students for attention to library services for people who have been incarcerated. Change may still be on the horizon.
Many thanks to the American Library Association Archives for making this research possible.