The Edith B. Ford Memorial Library recently announced a new educational program, in collaboration with the Seneca County Jail called On The Same Page Book Club. This program launched in October 2021 and meets biweekly with Librarian, Amber Pasiak. The goal of this book club is to help strengthen critical thinking skills, expand literary interests and create a dynamic learning environment for those involved.
Ford Library serves Ovid, Romulus, and surrounding areas. Seneca County Jail is located in Romulus, thus including incarcerated individuals as part of the service area and community. Providing outreach to those who can not access regular services is part of creating a more equitable community. Various educational community organizations offer services to jails as part of their regular duties, it stands to reason that the local public library would be involved as well. Ford Library is a member of the Finger Lakes Library System, which will be providing materials for the book club in 2021 through NYS funding. FLLS is not mandated to provide services, outside of purchasing materials to jails, and it is common throughout the various NYS library systems, for the local libraries to be the ones providing educational programs.
Correctional facility book clubs are about more than just reading. Book clubs promote strong reading practices and an increased interest in education. According to academic studies done on the benefits of book clubs, participants are able to engage in meaningful discussions through the shared act of a common reading. With varying reading levels and vastly different personal experiences, this environment allows for educational growth and creative dialog in a supportive and compassionate way. Studies done on the benefits of prison and jail book clubs look at the percentage of inmates who are less likely to recidivate after participating, which was reported to be as high as 28% in 20181.
For more information on these studies or on the program, please email [email protected], with “Book Club” in the subject line, to receive copies of articles and papers or to ask any questions. If you would like to aid in the efforts to provide new titles to the inmates of Seneca County Jail, you can make a donation to Ford Library via our website or by mailing a check.
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