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Multnomah County Library - DOC


									                       Multnomah County Library
                   LSTA 2003 Grant Project Evaluation

                          DOING BOOK TIME
            Evaluator: Shannon DeLateur, Retired Education Administrator
                       Oregon Department of Corrections

“ In a speech to the Citizen‟s Crime Commission, Governor Kitzhaber advocated the use of
preventive measures, rather than punitive, to combat crime in Oregon.” In response to this
imperative, public libraries place a major emphasis on public library services to those
disadvantaged persons in the Community who do not have access to library services at
mainstream libraries.

Those individuals who are incarcerated in the jails and prisons in Oregon are one of the
disadvantaged populations the Multnomah County Library aims to serve. The project
objective is to continue to provide access to appropriate reading material (quality fiction/non-
fiction books) in order to provide positive leisure activity, combat boredom, and provide
opportunities for self-improvement and successful re-entry into society. This project targets
the Multnomah County Jail System (MJIC, MCDC, MCCF, ACJ). Major objectives are:

         Continue full time Project coordinator,

         Enhance partnerships/collaborate on ways to support and enrich basic literacy and
          English as a Second Language programs offered in the jails,

         Design and produce a Transitions Resource Directory for about-to-be-released

         Replicate a successful model “Breaking Barriers with Books” with inmates in at
          least one jail,

         Purchase and deliver an opening day collection of approximately 4300 books to
          the new Wapato jail,

         Assess and evaluate, in partnership with jail counselors, the impact this project has
          had on the lives of the inmates.

Project Methods
The Multnomah County Library received the LSTA Grant for 2003, the second year of a
two-year project. Jere White was hired March 1, 2002 as the Project Coordinator – he
remains in that position during the 2003 grant period. Jere continues to meet with the groups
and individuals who are the stakeholders in this project. The effort he makes to communicate
with the stakeholders is crucial to the success of this project.

Respond to the evaluations of both inmates and staff regarding the collection of books placed
in the jails. Make adjustments to collections, as needed, for shifts in the cultural make-up of
the institutions. Research and order additional African American titles and authors to meet
the needs of a larger Black population.

Gather information on other jail/prison library programs to gain initial insight on how to
approach the “Books Without Barriers” program. Gather as much information as possible on
programs about reading to children. Finally develop a program that contains the best of all
the programs reviewed so that the program meets the need of those parents incarcerated in
the Multnomah County Jail System. Pilot the program and work out the bugs.

Meet with AJC and MCIJ education coordinators to brainstorm ways the library, through this
grant, might enhance the literacy and ESL programs. Also meet with the Health/Mental
Health and Alcohol and Drug program specialists to determine how the library may be able
to help support some of their health and treatment concerns with library materials.

Utilize multiple resources to produce the Transitions Resource Directory. Call each
institution and organization to verify that resources and information is current and correct.
Care was taken to make sure the format and information was user-friendly. The library used
its considerable resources to ferret out the most needed and useful information for this

Using feedback from the jails currently participating in this grant project, Jere and the
volunteers put together the collection for the new Wapato Jail. Based on that information,
more ethnic literature was purchased as well as additional books in foreign languages. The
collections still contain many fiction and non-fiction titles that have been widely read by the
inmates in the jails.

A questionnaire was sent to all the jail personnel who have had a connection to the “Doing
Book Time” grant. This would include health/mental health staff, counselors, jail
administrators and those unit staff involved in the distribution of books. In addition, each
library book contains a bookmark that doubles as an evaluation. The inmates fill them out
and return them with the books.

Project Results
The collection of books for the Wapato Jail have been purchased and processed and are ready
for delivery to the jail. There has been a slight delay in opening, but the books are ready for
the custom built shelves in the new library space at the new facility. As stated in the
previous section, care was taken to incorporate the suggestions of staff when putting this
collection together.

The “Books Without Barriers” program was thoroughly researched. The end result is a
three-session program for inmate parents in the Multnomah County Inverness Jail. The first
session teaches the inmates about early childhood development. Session two works on the
selection of age appropriate reading materials for their own children. During this session the
inmates select books for their children. Jere White will order those books for the inmate‟s
children and bring them to the next session. At the beginning of session three, Jere delivers
the books to each inmate. During the session inmates have the opportunity to read the
special book to their child/children on videotape. The video and the selected books are then
packaged up and sent to the children. While they wait for their turn to be taped, the inmates
can write a personal message to their child in a space allocated on the inside cover of the
book. Between 45-50 inmates have participated in this program. Inmates got really involved
and were clearly excited and touched by the opportunity to participate in such an uplifting

In addition to the classes and books for their children, each participant leaves the class with a
Guide to Multnomah County Libraries, a “Born to Read” card, and a copy of the Transitions
Resource Directory, “Moving On”.

Meeting with the education coordinators at the MCIJ and AJC (Londer Center) resulted in
assistance for both programs. MJIC was in need of suitable books in English and Spanish.
(Access to books in Spanish is very limited) The addition of these books made a large
impact on the quality of the education program at MJIC. Chris Kubinski is very grateful to
Jere White for the assistance he received through the “Doing Book Time” grant.

   At the Londer Center the staff was working on parenting/literacy classes and had heard
about the “Books Without Barriers” program at MJIC. Joanne McNamera, came over to the
Londer Center to do a series of workshops on parenting and literacy for the inmates. She
gave them reading tips and the staff used the donated children‟s books for class reading
projects – many of the inmate students didn‟t read above 5th grade level. Carole Scholl
reports the library‟s help was invaluable. In addition, River Rock Residential Treatment
Center, a satellite drug and alcohol program was reopened after a budget related closure.
Londer Center was required to provide off-site adult basic skill and GED classes to the
inmates in the treatment program. However, due to budget concerns, there were limited
funds for purchasing new materials. Through the “Doing Book Time” grant, they were able
to get some appropriate math and reading texts, software, literature and GED materials.
They were able to build up a small library of books for adult readers needing math, literacy
and GED instruction. Carole does not know how they would have been able to accomplish

this without the library and “Doing Book Time”. One of the highlights mentioned by
several people I talked with at Londer Center was getting to participate in the Multnomah
County‟s “Everybody Reads” program. Jere supplied the programs with multiple copies of
Fahrenheit 451. Children‟s books were also placed in the visiting facilities of the jails for the
children of the offenders. This provided an additional opportunity for the inmates to read
with their children.

The Transitions Resource Directory, now known as “Moving On” was completed, printed
and 3000 initial copies delivered to MCIJ and MCDC in June 2003. They proved to be so
useful and appreciated that an additional 5000 copies were printed. Jere receives calls from
many programs asking for copies. This is a wonderful compact resource that people can
easily carry with them for quick access. It covers information on Drug and Alcohol
treatment centers, referral hotlines, shelters, housing, cleanup and clothing, food, medical and
dental services, mental health, colleges and universities and Multnomah County Libraries.
This is an impressive piece of work and I can‟t imagine the jails operating without them.
Many offenders fail the first few hours/days after release because they don‟t know where to
turn. This gives them the opportunity to access services and buy some time to get back on
their feet.

The evaluations from staff attest to the ongoing value of the „Doing Book Time” grant.
Comments were positive and constructive. Some quotes from staff evaluations:

   The program has made a tremendous difference at our facility…It has enabled us to
   provide a higher quality of service to our inmate clients.

   Thanks to this grant, we have been able to provide reading, math and computer classes to
   inmate students at the facility with adequate study materials. I thank Jere White for his
   enthusiasm and support of adult literacy for the corrections clientele.

   Thanks to this grant, inmates are reading more and are better informed. The wide variety
   of books is great because it provides something for everybody.

   The books provided by the Multnomah County Library have given inmates an opportunity
   to learn, grow and improve themselves while serving time. Books and videos provided
   have greatly enhanced group sessions also.

   Inmates are reading self-help books unique to their ethnicity – others read Harry Potter
   books and are corresponding with their children who are also reading Harry Potter.

   I think Jere White has done a great job balancing the reading material. Everything that‟s
   been done is terrific. If only there was a way to continue the grant and the services.

Project Impact

This grant has had a profound impact on everyone involved, especially the inmates. There
are many long-term benefits from the “Doing Book Time‟ grant. This was a great
opportunity for the jail personnel to see first hand the positive aspects of a successful
partnership with community services. The presence of Jere White has only enhanced this
reality. He made a point to get to know the jail personnel – everybody seems to know Jere.
The long-term benefits for corrections are the knowledge that resources exist in the
community that can enhance the inmates and their families in a positive way.

Those who participated in the “Books Without Barriers” program leave with a better
understanding of how their children learn and develop, and a warm place in their hearts for
what the library has done for them. When they get home, they have one more reason to visit
the library with their children - a card for free books and a guide to the library services in
Multnomah County. In addition, children leave the visiting rooms with a different
perspective because there were friendly people with friendly books there. Visiting hours take
on a new meaning for the children when there are books to read with mom or dad.

The Library gained some exposure through the KOIN and KBOO interviews done with the
library staff about the “Doing Book Time” and “Books Without Barriers” programs. Jere
White has spoken at the Oregon Outreach Round Table in Salem, presented “Books Without
Barriers” at the OLA conference, shared the program with Crook County Library, presented
to the Library Advisory Board, spoke at the Albina Rotary about library outreach – but more
specifically on “Books Without Barriers.” Jere has also been asked to make a 25-minute
presentation at the ALA conference in Orlando in June, 2004.

The beauty of these programs is that they are so replicable.

Jere White received a “citation” for exemplary performance of duties from the County
Sheriff, Bernie Guisto. This, in itself, is testimony to the impact this program has had on the
jails, staff, and inmates.

And – the Multnomah County Library has hired Jere White in a half-time position to
continue his work at the jails while he works on his master‟s degree in library science.
This is such good news for the jail staff. Jere is very excited that programs won‟t have to
come to a screeching halt. Clearly, it has made an impact and the library has made a
commitment to continue the work.

The evaluations coming in daily from the bookmarks in the books the inmates are reading
attest to the impact that reading is having on them. There are some insightful comments
from the inmates. The following represent a few of those comments.

   Addiction is a Choice – Very helpful in my recovery. Thanks. I would recommend this
   book to anyone who has a drug or alcohol problem.

  Bipolar Survival Guide – It helped me understand what‟s going on with my brother – he‟s

  Chicken Soup for the Unthinkable Soul – It kept me from getting depressed and gave me
  hope in my life.

  Face in the Window – It took me out of here. Made me believe in myself and raised my
  self –esteem.

  Fairytales From Latin America – Inspired me to learn about other cultures

  Mama Sana Bebe Sano – To help me be a better mother.

  Perished Nations – I loved it for its historical value. Very well written; enjoyable.

  Road Less Traveled – I am doing an 11-day sentence. I am in the middle of treatment.
  This book helped me keep my mind focused where it need to be and not get sucked back
  into jailhouse mentality. This book and my NA book kept me on track.

  Toxic Parents - Helped me with my anger and frustrations. I reflected on my children.

As this project‟s evaluator and a long time corrections educator, I can see how these
programs could be very effective in all types of correctional facilities. With so much
emphasis on the children‟s projects, the Books Without Barriers” program seems especially
timely. In addition, the jails and prisons have become the mental health facilities for the
state, so putting additional resources into appropriate self-help books would be an excellent
idea. Again, I am so impressed with the way this project was carried out by Jere White and
the Multnomah County Library staff. It has clearly made an impact on those participating.
Hopefully it will live on. I appreciated the opportunity to work with Jere White and Joanne
McNamera while doing this evaluation.


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