Banned Books Week

From PEN America: “Over the course of the past year, PEN America’s Right to Read in American Prisons Project focused on ways prisons and jails across the country restricted access to literature and educational materials through book censorship and state book ban lists. During PEN America’s recognition of Banned Books Week, we are excited to share several essays written by incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and allied people on the crucial role of books in their lives.”

The series is available at

Early History of Jail/Prison Library Services

For librarians following the prison strike of 2018 (and for those who are not yet doing this), R.J. Rubin’s U.S. prison library services and their theoretical bases is essential reading for background perspective on how librarians have historically thought through library services in jails and prisons.  Published in 1973, it is a signpost into how library services came to exist in jail in prisons, librarians’ belief in their own theoretical and professional expertise, and how short a time there have been librarian-led services in jails and prisons in the United States. You can access the full text at

Rubin, R. J. (1973). U.S. prison library services and their theoretical bases. Occasional Papers, No. 110.

Dream Revisions – Section 3

As mentioned in this post, here is a revised version of Section 3 of the Standards.


3.1     The responsibility for the administration of the library shall be determined in cooperation with the governing agency or agencies.

3.1.1    Library administration that involves partnerships with public and/or community libraries will utilize the standards of access in place through the partnering library;

3.2     The librarian is responsible for managing the facility’s library, library staff, collection, and services.

3.2.1   The librarian shall operate the library as an integral element in meeting the vision of the OJJDP (stated in 2.1) to reduce the time of encounter between youth and juvenile facilities. The librarian shall work closely with teachers to ensure that the library provides resources that support the curriculum. The librarian will actively seek out and support programming that reflects the purpose of library services in the facility, including writing workshops, educational advancement, visiting authors, etc.

3.2.2   The librarian shall regularly participate and interact with all facility components in planning and developing the facility’s programs, including programs provided by outside parties.

3.2.3   The library shall actively support the vision of the OJJDP (stated in 2.1) and the facility’s own efforts to support this vision through the library’s materials, services, and philosophy; and shall provide research and reference assistance to the youth and young adults held in the facility and, in program-related matters, to the staff.

3.2.4   The librarian shall ensure that the library is responsive to the needs of the detained or incarcerated or incarcerated youth as ascertained by and including, but not limited to: person-to-person discussions; group discussions; analysis of user data, output measures, surveys, needs assessments, advisory committees, available data on youth incarceration, available data on the technological needs of young adults and participation in workshops and conferences.

3.3       In the case that the library administrator (librarian) is employed by an outside agency and is not a staff member of the residential facility, the librarian should report to his or her immediate supervisor at the outside agency (e.g. public library, state library system, academic administration, public school system, etc.).

3.4       In the case that the library administrator (librarian) is employed by the residential facility, the library shall be on the same administrative level as other program services departments within that facility.

3.4.1   The librarian shall, when applicable, report to a program manager.

3.4.2   When it is not possible for the library to be its own department, the librarian shall report to the facility’s education administrator.