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Books beyond bars: the transformative potential of prison libraries

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has published Lisa Krolak’s book Books beyond bars: the transformative potential of prison libraries, which discusses prison libraries around the world and considers to what extent they support the rehabilitation of prisoners. The book is provided as digital copy on the UNESCO website but can be printed and the digital book can also be shared with others.

Colourful books seen through a wire fence.

The book provides a holistic view of prison libraries, including the role of the prison librarian; security issues and how they relate to the library’s collection; the possibility of digital opportunities and challenges; and much more. The focus on international prison libraries offers a wonderful insight into how different countries approach prison education, learning and rehabilitation. Countries covered include Kenya, Norway, Slovenia, Chile and Germany. Krolak draws on the aspects of these countries’ prison libraries that should be celebrated, including a state of the art library in a German prison and a drive to support more engagement with reading in Chile.


The book will be particularly useful to those working in prisons, especially prison librarians, education providers and senior management. It may also be of interest to those working in general libraries or those researching the impact that libraries have on adult learning.


You can download the book for free on the UNESCO website.



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Resource Details
Autor zdroja
Lisa Krolak
Typ zdroja
Štúdie a správy
United Kingdom
Dátum publikácie
Jazyk dokumentu
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Thank you, this is valuable material.

This book gives understanding of prison system around the globe and brings to attention books as simple but clever tool for rehabilitation.

I think for inmates reading not only develops thinking and ability to articulate opinion, it also magnifies the view on world, brings information and sparks interest about different topics, what could lead to behavioral changes.

This article makes me wonder- how many books are available (and who reads) in female and male prisons in Latvia, also if probation office gives reading as assignments. This could be good base for future studies.

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