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Prison Libraries: Home

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2015, almost 2.2 million persons were incarcerated in the United States. The American Library Association, through its members, works to provide library services to these persons, as well as their families

Policies Relating to Prison Libraries

Programming Opportunities

How to get involved

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) is the ALA membership division that represents state library agencies, specialized library agencies, multitype library cooperatives, and independent librarians. Specialized library agencies are those organizations that provide materials and services to meet the information needs of persons whose access to library services and materials is limited because of confinement, sensory, mental, physical, health, or behavioral conditions. As a type-of-library division, ASCLA is empowered by the ALA Council to establish standards of service for libraries in correctional institutions. Formerly part of the Libraries Serving Special Populations Section (LSSPS), two interest groups are currently active:

  • ASCLA Library Services for the Incarcerated and Detained Interest Group
  • ASCLA Library Services for Youth in Custody Interest Group

In addition, ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) supports, serves, and promotes adult literacy and equity of information access initiatives for traditionally underserved populations through training, information resources, and technical assistance.

Additonal ALA Resources

Standards from ALA

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA, a division of ALA)  has prepared the following standards of service libraries in correctional institutions.

Other Standards