An interesting discussion has popped up on yalsa-lockdown, a listserve set up to discuss issues unique to librarians working with incarcerated youth. A few weeks ago librarians started discussing getting together at ALA and now a meetup is being planned for the Saturday evening of the ALA conference in New Orleans.’  This meetup is a great idea.

‘ There have been some inspiring presentations on working with incarcerated youth at past ALA conferences. At every ALA that I am able to attend, I always look forward to attending presentations on serving this unique population.’  While incarcerated, teens, with the encouragement of staff and outreach librarians, often pick up books for recreational reading – sometimes for the first time their life. Read More →

Today at the jail where I do outreach we worked with Publisher software. The group is designing a flyer that will be posted in the facility to let people know about a project they are working on. By using Publisher they learned how to focus the message of their project in an attractive way and to match the images to their topic. Once we got past the clip art search for ‘girls’ we were well on our way to having a product that could be posted. When a group of observers came to visit the library they were impressed with the guys ability to navigate the software. Read More →

If you’re already working with a local jail or juvenile detention center, or have always considered working with one, why not try Teen Tech Week as a reason to start? Can you bring in a hand held recorder and ask the teens to talk about their favorite technology, transfer to Audacity, and then have them listen? Can you bring different cameras in to show what kind of features they have? I read an article this morning and watched a short video on what one man in town does to inspire teens with photography and thought it might work at the jail as well. Or this article for working with music. Sometimes, CD covers can be interesting to the teens for their lyrics and photos. Is there a CD player available that they can listen to their favorite music on? Can you bring your iPod? Has your library or community been part of a film fest with movies created by teens? Can you bring in a DVD of those to show? DDR can be great exercise as well as a lot of fun for the teens. Can you bring in a laptop for the teens to add content to for a blog that can be later uploaded if the jail doesn’t have wifi -or just ask them to write something on paper which could be transferred to a blog. What other ideas do you have?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki