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Using innovative programming and robust access to resources, we connect incarcerated New Yorkers to their families and communities. We offer jail-based library services for individuals in NYC Depart of Correction (DOC) facilities, and special programs and services for other incarcerated patrons.

Adult Jail Libraries

We operate weekly mobile libraries located at six DOC facilities. Librarians and volunteers visit these facilities each week to hand-deliver books, magazines and newspapers to hundreds of incarcerated New Yorkers each month.

Correspondence 

Jail and Prison Services answers research questions from people in prisons throughout the country. Letters ask for research on anything from starting a business or finding a job to information on famous celebrities or boats for sale.   This program has also been a way for branch librarians, who often cannot support us through direct visits to jail, to lend their expertise and time to services for patrons who are incarcerated. If you have family, friends, or know someone in jail or prison who has any reference questions they can mail us at the contact address in the sidebar.

Daddy & Me, Mommy & Me

This monthly training program teaches early literacy skills to parents in the justice system and helps them learn how they can play a role in their children’s educational development from afar. Each participant is invited to read and record a favorite story to be given to their family along with a copy of the book.

Book Clubs

Jail and Prison Services has run several book discussion groups at NYC jails for a more in-depth engagement with our collection and as a forum for sharing ideas, discussing current events, and connecting to each other’s lived experiences.  Examples of past programs include the author Tayari Jones’ appearance at Rikers Island to discuss her novel Silver Sparrow, and BPL’s own 1984/48 book discussion series.  Book discussions are frequently paired with films, either direct adaptations of featured books, or one that reflects the spirit or content of the book. If you would like to support this program, we are always in need of more book discussion sets of 10-15 books.  Contact information is in the sidebar if you are interested in donating.

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