Big Book Share
The Big Book Share: libraries and family reading in prisons
A one day course for prison librarians, prison staff and public library staff.
13 October 2008 (10.30am to 4pm)
Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York, YO1 6ET
This course aims:
• To help you to understand how the Big Book Share can link offenders with their families through reading to improve their literacy and support their resettlement
• To raise awareness about the national initiative that involves libraries supporting offenders and their families
• To provide training and resources so that public library and prison staff can work in partnership to run the Big Book Share in prisons
David Kendall or Tricia Kings (Managers Big Book Share programme) or Clive Hopwood (Writers in Prison Network).
Around 140,000 children are separated each year from their parents through their parents' custodial sentences. It's estimated that 39 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men under 21 in prisons are parents. And two-thirds of the prison population have literacy needs.
Overwhelming research evidence shows that children do much better in school when parents, family members and carers get involved in their education, even those in the most difficult of circumstances (National Literacy Trust). According to one American study "Children of offenders are five more likely than their peers to end up in prison themselves." And we know that sustaining good family ties can reduce a prisoner's risk of re-offending by six times (Prison Reform Trust).
The Big Book Share develops partnerships between libraries and prisons so that offenders can choose, read and record a story for their children while they are inside and then go on to visit and use libraries once they are released. The programme started in 2000 in one prison and has grown and grown so that it now runs in more than 20 prisons.
The Big Book Share won CILIP's Libraries Change Lives award in 2002.
As you may know young men and fathers are key targets for the National Year of Reading and The Big Book Share can be used to engage new male (and female) readers and build new reading audiences in this National Year of Reading.
The Big Book Share helps libraries to meet the following local priorities:
• social inclusion
• literacy and learning for families in need
• safer communities
• partnership working
It also helps meet prison priorities:
• sustaining family links and positive parenting
• assisting resettlement
• reducing re-offending
At the end of the course
By the end of this course participants will:
• know how to implement The Big Book Share in a prison/library partnership
• understand the importance of family reading for offenders and their families
• understand how to work with prisions and public libraries to provide effective
support for ex-offenders.