Call for help from your Neighbors
Letter to the Editor of Green Bay Press Gazette and to the Green Bay community from a Jail Librarian
Call for Community Support from a Jail Librarian
Dear Green Bay community,
Literacy is one of the great human achievements. When our children struggle to read we do everything we can to provide them with the tools for success. When schools have book drives to collect books to donate to families in need there is no hesitation on our parts in contributng to the cause. Reading is a wonderful escape for people of all ages and from all backgrounds. It can challenge our beliefs and open our eyes to new things. It can teach us about foreign lands or teach us about ourselves. Sadly, there is still a large information gap that our community is not addressing. It is safe to say that the majority of our information needs as a micro-community at the Green Bay Correctional Institute are not met. These men are your neighbors that just happen to have a different address for awhile. The Green Bay Correctional Institute strives to provide literacy and information access to our inmates.
Prison and Jail libraries are often forgotten about within the grand scope of a community. While these institutions may not be the most comfortable topic of conversation I feel that is because what goes on inside our walls is a mystery to the community. While the actual jail system is one thing with many details and intricacies i cannot even begin to explain, I can explain to you what I do as the Librarian for the Green Bay Correctional Institute and what Jail Libraries, in general, are hoping to do for the communities we serve.
Incarcerated people have a wide variety of needs, much of which is in relation with a lack of access or inadequate access to information. Jail libraries were originally established, in part, as a way for inmates to spend their time. Reading and access to information is a great way for these men to pass their time and their trips to the library within the Correction Institute are most of their favorite parts of their time here. We provide leisure reading like popular authors and series and magazines, study aides for our educational programs, and children’s books for our programs where inmates can record themselves reading to send to their children. Our library also provides legal education to help inmates prepare for any upcoming court appearances or to help make sense of their specific situations as well as educational resources and support to help ease their transition from inside our Institute and back into the Green Bay community at large.
My request to you is that you think of this special part of our Green Bay community. These men are not a mystical creature to fear and discuss in whispers. These men are members of our community with the same information desires of other community members but with a greater need for our community support and assistance. In order to provide these men with the level of access to information and literacy they need I need community help. As with so many state programs, funding and time are our biggest obstacles. We are at the the mercy of community support and assistance, please help. But, how can you help us?
We have a Wishlist on Amazon for specific requests we have received from inmates and are always welcome to donations of any kind. Our most requested items include Scrabble dictionaries, GED and subject study books, Spanish language books, and popular series like Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. We have donation bins at all the Green Bay Public library branches and at Bay Park Square. As an information professional it my dream to provide information access to everyone who wants it. Please help me accomplish this dream. If you have any questions about the library, what I do, the community the library serves, or ways you can get involved feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and support.