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Learn more about correctional librarianship

ILD's Correctional Library Training

These short videos are designed to introduce key concepts to correctional library staff.

Teaching Information Literacy in a Correctional Library
Information literacy is a set of abilities that allows an individual to navigate our complex world. Library staff serving people in prison or jail teach the incarcerated these essential life skills that reduce recidivism and make success possible.

Intellectual Freedom in a Correctional Library
Intellectual freedom is at the heart of a free society, and nowhere is it more important or difficult to defend than in a prison or jail library. Censorship of materials for the incarcerated is intended to support safety and security and comes with certain legal and ethical limits.

Library Programming in a Correctional Library
All libraries hold regular events to meet unique community needs, and prison and jail libraries are no exception. For the incarcerated who struggle with literacy, programs go beyond books to teach them that a library can be a sage place to practice life skills that reduce recidivism.

Professional associations

American Library Association

ODLOS – Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL)

Correctional libraries face many of the same issues as rural and small libraries:

  • Solo professional or paraprofessional staff
  • A single library to serve  a diverse patron (education level, literacy, interest, age, ability, etc.)
  • Small budgets

Correctional Education Association (CEA)

American Correctional Association (ACA)

In addition to the national organization, chapters are active in about 25 states. Call 800-222-5646, ext. 0129 to see if a chapter provides local professional activities in your state.



prison-l - A Colorado State Library-hosted listserv for those who provide library services to the justice-involved, from youth to adults, currently or formerly incarcerated or detained

For Colorado

Colorado Reentry Resources (CORR)


Print resources


  • Down for the Count: A prison library handbook. Brenda Vogel. Scarecrow Press, 1995. ISBN 0810829274 / 978-0810829275
  • Guidelines for library services to prisoners, 3d ed. (pamphlet), Lehmann & Locke. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2005. ISBN 9077897070
  • Institutional Library Model. Colorado State Library Institutional Library Development Unit. 2020
  • Library Services to the Incarcerated: Applying the public library model in correctional facility libraries. Clark & MacCreaigh. Libraries Unlimited, 2006. ISBN 1591582903 / 978-1591582908
  • Library standards for adult correctional institutions (pamphlet), Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies. American Library Association, 1992. ISBN 0838975836
  • The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century. Brenda Vogel. Scarecrow Press, 2009. ISBN 0810854031 / 978-0810854031


Public library partnerships

Partnerships with Correctional Libraries – webinar archive and handouts (from 3/6/2018)

Learn how your public library can form partnerships with nearby correctional libraries. Support your future patrons today!

Parenting from prison

Working in prison – jobs in Colorado


Job openings - from CO-Jobs


To add a resource to this list, contact us!

Go to: Institutional Library Development | State Prison Libraries | Staff