Library Programming for Youth With Special Needs – Welcoming Children and Families Affected by Incarceration into Public Libraries » Public Libraries Online

I found this link on the Resource Guide for Underserved Student Populations (AASL). I was particularly interested in the toolbox section providing resources for children of incarcerated parents, as I have done volunteer work with prison support organizations.

This is a very comprehensive guide on how to welcome children and families of incarcerated people, specifically into the public library. However, I think the programming ideas could easily be used in a school library setting.

As far as programming, the resource recommends tailoring existing activities and/or programs to address the specific community. I appreciated this approach, as it doesn’t feel particularly pointed or heavy-handed but does facilitate a feeling of inclusivity. For example, the website suggests that a pen-pal or letter writing event could be adjusted so the patron feels welcome writing a letter to an incarcerated family member. This would include providing tips on addressing the letter properly, or possibly making something available that defines what can or can’t be included in a letter (or package) to an incarcerated person.

It also suggests tailoring a book club, or book discussion meeting to involve reading materials (either for children or their caregivers) that cover the topic of incarceration specifically. These are also both good tips for educating the larger community about a specific population that often remains invisible.

Library Programming for Youth With Special Needs – Welcoming Children and Families Affected by Incarceration into Public Libraries » Public Libraries Online

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