Using innovative programming and robust access to resources, we connect incarcerated New Yorkers to their families and communities. BPL offers library-based video visitation for families separated by incarceration, jail-based library services for individuals in NYC Depart of Correctionn (DOC) facilities, and special programs and services for people when they return home.

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.

Adolescent Jail Libraries

In partnership with the DOC, we helped to establish reading rooms in 21 housing areas for 16- and 17-year olds incarcerated at the RNDC facility on Rikers Island. Each week, BPL staff add new books to the reading rooms and take requests from the young men in the facility. Adolescents in this facility also participate in an American Library Association and National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored Great Stories Club book discussion series.

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.

TeleStory

TeleStory is a free video visitation program that brings storytime to incarcerated New Yorkers and their families. Over a live video feed at the Library, children can read books, share stories and visit for an hour with their incarcerated parents. Video visits are also available to parents of teens detained in Department of Correction facilities.

Thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation, TeleStory has expanded to branches at New York Public Library and Queens Library, in addition to 12 Brooklyn Public Library branches:

  • Bedford
  • Brownsville
  • Bushwick
  • Canarsie
  • Central Library
  • Coney Island
  • Crown Heights
  • Flatbush
  • Macon
  • New Lots
  • New Utrecht
  • Red Hook


For more information or to schedule a TeleStory visit at Brooklyn Public Library, email telestory@bklynlibrary.org or call 718.916.9408. For video visitation at New York Public Library or Queens Library, call 311.  

Acknowledgements

 

Brooklyn Public Library’s Department of Outreach Services was established with the generous support of The Charles H. Revson Foundation. Funding for the Great Stories Club is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Library Association. Funding for TeleStory is provided by the Knight Foundation. Library video visitation services made possible with funding from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council, and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The Osborne Association offers planning support for re-entry after incarceration and assistance to families coping with the incarceration of a loved one.