MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY LSTA 2002 Grant Project Evaluation DOING BOOK TIME, year 1 Evaluator: Shannon DeLateur, Education Administrator Oregon Department of Corrections A major emphasis in public library services is to reach outside the "walls" of the library to provide access to disadvantaged persons in the community who do not/may not have access to the library in its traditional form. Finding ways to do that requires careful planning and creative, motivated individuals. This grant "Doing Book Time" is an example of how the Multnomah library reached inside the walls to reach out. Inmates have little access to appropriate reading materials which could provide a positive leisure time activity, combat boredom, provide an outlet for frustration, and provide information for self-improvement and reentry into society. The project objective is to provide quality fiction and non-fiction books in the areas of biographies, general health, self-help, parenting, anger management, and depression in support of the Multnomah County Jail System (MCIJ, MCRC, MCDC, MCCF) · Hire Library Outreach Specialist as Project Coordinator · Identify and purchase 40 sets of 100 core titles for placement in existing units in the 4 jails. · Create a collection development plan and procedure for responding to jail counselors' and inmates' needs. · Develop an opening day collection list for the Wapato Facility. · Establish partnership with Sheriff's Department, Mt. Hood Community College, Portland Community College, and Multnomah County Library Life Long Learning Centers on ways to collaborate to support/enrich basic literacy and ESL programs offered in the jails. · Assess and evaluate, in partnership with jail's counselors, the impact on lives of inmates. Project Methods: The Multnomah County Library received the LSTA grant for 2002, the first year of a two-year project. By March 1, 2002, the project outreach specialist/coordinator, Jere White, was hired. He moved quickly to get the stakeholders involved with this project. Initial meetings were held with the library selections staff, Life Long Learning Center Staff, and the Oregon Literacy Council Bookstore to discuss selection strategy and establish a collection development plan. A meeting was held with the Sheriff's office Program Administrator to determine best ways to collaborate with the jails. Without establishing a working relationship with the jail system, it is often difficult to more forward with projects that alter or vary the day-to- day operations. This proved very successful and has enhanced the coordinator's ability to move forward in a timely fashion. In addition, a committee comprised of representatives from each jail facility was established to help select the types and titles of books and created the procedures for ongoing communication around operations and inmate needs requests. These early efforts to establish an integrated approach to this project laid the groundwork for future cooperative projects. Once the selections were made, books had to be processed, then delivered to each jail and distributed among the specific general housing and mental health units. This was done in a very timely manner, attesting to the excellent involvement of the various stakeholders. Volunteer services were also utilized in processing the thousands of books purchased for this project. In the mental health units, books were labeled with stickers and bindings colored to make them stand out in the unit. Very few books have been lost or stolen. All objectives have been completed/implemented. In addition to the committees established around the project, staff provided regular articles for The Programmer (the Sheriff's newsletter) and the Register (the Multnomah County Library newsletter). The staff also did several presentations at conferences, local workshops/seminars, and community meetings to share this project. They also visited other corrections/jail libraries. Clearly, this outreach to the inmates at the MCJ facilities is a large undertaking. As the project got underway, it became clear that there were other areas without library services; i.e., service to a secure drug and alcohol treatment facility within Multnomah County Adult Community Justice. Due to the large volume of books ordered, and related discounts, the funding stretched further than anticipated, thus the ability to do more as needs arose. The library had to consider language issues in addition to book selection. Non-fiction Spanish books were placed in the jail's housing units covering the project topics. Each facility was also given a collection of foreign language books, including Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. The team also placed WRAP (Write Around Portland) anthologies in each of the facilities. These included writings from people in community centers, shelters, treatment centers, prisons, and jails. In order to evaluate and obtain feedback on the program, a bookmark was designed with questions relating to the usefulness of the literature. A bookmark was placed in each book and readers were asked to respond to the questions and return the bookmark to the counselors. In addition, a survey was developed to obtain feedback from the front-line corrections employees. Project Results: There are several significant outcomes as a result of this project. · The Multnomah County Jail inmates have access to a wide variety of good books to read while they have "time" on their hands. The responses on the bookmarks attest to the success of this project. Many inmates had not taken time, for years, to read, think, and contemplate their lives. This project allowed them opportunity to use their time productively. · This project created an opportunity for the staff from the four jails to work together to help determine the best selections/topics to address the varied needs of the inmates and staff. Staff report they had as much input as they wanted to give, again attesting to the excellent communication with the jail community. Jails and prisons are often lock-step military-type organizations; therefore it is a positive thing when staff can be involved in a project of this nature. It allows the staff to expand their views and resources, to make a difference in the lives of others. · The Program Manager for the programming unit within the Sheriff's office has decided all jail facilities will have the same counseling and educational programs. Inmates moving among the various jails can continue programming wherever they go. This is a huge adjustment on the part of the jail and prison systems. It appears that this project, because of the cross-jail committee/team, became an important factor in creating consistency in the system. These collaborations will have a positive impact on jail programs and future projects. This project can be easily duplicated in other systems. · "The Sheriff's correctional staff are very supportive of the project. Without their assistance this project would not work." Jail staff acknowledge the involvement of all the jail stakeholders was a key factor in the project success. Deputies gladly opened the book room and signed books in/out for inmates. Some staff use the materials to improve their own knowledge of particular topics. · When counselors do groups, they are able to refer them to specific resources in the library for additional information. Project Impact: This project has shown/is showing how important it is to have good books available for all Oregonians. Reading opens both inner and outer doors. The partnership between the jail and library is very productive. The project can continue to evolve with the strong relationships/collaborations that have been evident the past year. The processes utilized during the first year of the grant are easily transferred to other projects and other jurisdictions. What makes a project like this work is the key people who bring their passion to the table and get the buy-in from the stakeholders. Based on feedback from jail staff, this occurred and will continue. Staff report that the project is making a difference in the lives of the jail's population. They are using the self-help books to understand themselves and begin to make changes in their lives. Many of the books complement the programs that are provided in the jails. Staff are seeing inmates using their time to read instead of playing cards or watching TV. Quotes from bookmark evaluations indicate the impact of the project on the recipients of the services. There are many insightful comments from the inmates. These represent but a few. · Charlotte's Web - Reminded me of my third grade year in school. Best years! · Four Agreements - I've read several self-help books and this was by far the best. Send more copies! Very enlightening. I can feel good about myself without drugs! I recommend this book to anyone, inmate or not. And I'm a white guy reading a Mexican shaman wisdom book. · How to Say it to Your Kids - I need to learn to say the right things because I was never taught, and my mother didn't say the right things to me. I don't think she was taught either. I want to learn...the healthy way. It's helpful to me because I want to do and teach right. I want to break my family chain of emotional abuse. It will help me be healthy and nurturing the right way to my children. People need to learn words hurt just as bad. But they can change and say things the right way. · Left Behind Series 1, 2, & 3 - This book was awesome. It put me back in touch with what's important. Thank you for the books. · Life Strategies - Best self-help book I have ever read-I wrote out all the exercizes (sic) and plan to use the material repeatedly. · Stretching - Because of the steel plates and old, thin, hard mattresses my back is injured. The task in this book I'm successfully using to minimize that damage. · The Little Prince - Abstract children story that warmed my heart. · Violent No More - It helped me recognize and taught me alternative ways to deal with my anger. · Walk Across America - It showed me that I can accomplish goals. · Women Who Love too Much, by Norwood - Allowed me to further investigate my relationship patterns and learn why my behaviors are self defeating. · It has been a traumatic experience to be incarcerated in a correctional facility. There are many problems faced by not only the new inmate but the returning repeat customers. Rather than argue with the staff or other inmates it's oftentimes safer and more interesting to open a book. Not only does it take my mind of troubles, it exposes it to classics of liturature (sic) and informative self help books. I can improve and apply the things I learn-utilize my free time in a constructive manner as oppossed (sic) to destructive bickering or mindless card games. Thank you for the opportunity to read some good books. I hope there are more as they can only improve the quality of life here at Multnomah County Jails. As project evaluator from the Department of Corrections, Programs Division, I can see how this project could be very effective in our institutions and other jails around the state. It is really helpful to know that there already exists a list of self-help books compiled for this population. I would like to explore working with the local libraries on a similar project in areas where the Department of Corrections are located. Suggestions for Improvement: I have received a couple of suggestions, not so much for improvement, but for something to incorporate into the overall plan for sustainability. If someone could go through the self-help books/topics a couple times a year to update selections by identifying and adding newly released material. Since some titles requested were only in hardback, the hope is that when they are available in paperback, they will be added to the shelves in the units. The overall consensus of staff at the jail is that this project was well managed. Jere White was consistently praised for his excellent administrative skills in working with the jail staff. In fact, they commend all the library staff for their contribution to the success of this project.