Janet Evanovich & Read Alikes

The women in the county jail are in love with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series! And the men are now starting to catch onto the series!

Popular series are hard to come by in the jail library. In part is that people who buy them want to keep and collect the entire series until it is finished and then donate them when they are ready. An other part is, that many of the popular reads are released as hardcovers first and therefor cannot be in the jail library until they are softcovers. (The bottom two books were hard covers that were converted into soft covers to be allowed in the jail.)

As I brought in my Janet Evanovich finds from a book sale, the same day a patron donated five of her own books that her husband bought for her (patrons can only be sent brand new books directly from book sellers). This really increased out our collection considerably, but by how fast they are being read, the desire for the rest of the series will come fast. One patron said to an other, “This will just take me a couple of hours to read.”

Male patrons had not been too interested in the series until this week. One of our big (an one of the few) male romance readers is trying out the series and the mystery genre. An other patron who has read most of the mystery section started with book # 7, and scooped up all of the first six books (the limit of books checked out at one time). As he was checking his new books out, he laughed as he told us about the main character.

As patrons might get antsy about needing more of the Stephanie Plum series, I started looking for read alikes. Below are some links.





In or Out of Prison, Iranian Doctors Find Way to Help

In or Out of Prison, Iranian Doctors Find Way to Help.

The above link is from an article published by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Here is an excerpt from their article:

Freedom of the Mind

Rather than despair at their unfortunate circumstances, Kamiar and Arash got right to work. They began educating prisoners on health and hygiene practices, created a smoking cessation program, led an exercise program that eventually included 500 prisoners and encouraged prisoners to take advantage of the prison’s clinic.

“We found that many prisoners had made a prison of their own minds,” Kamiar said. “We had to help them break out of that, and encourage them to be involved in their own lives.”

To that end, they began a “Prisoner of the Week” tradition, recognizing prisoners who were making positive improvements. They prompted prisoners to teach each other languages, such as English, French and Arabic. Kamiar said he picked up Spanish by participating in these language lessons. They used their allocated phone minutes to contact publishers and grew the prison’s library by 5,000 books. The brothers encouraged the artists among them to pain murals on the prison walls.

Hot Topics Dialogues: Incarcerated Sisters

Last week I had the opportunity to be on a panel for the Hot Topics Dialogues series focusing on issues women face in prison.

We discussed why women are incarcerated & what women were disproportionately behind bars, what dangers / risks women faced, women & family relations, programming  for women in prison, challenges women face, etc.

I was able to share what prison librarianship means behind bars, what the jail libraries look like for women in our local county jails, what women read, censorship, programs libraries offer, urban fiction, etc.

Below are some resources that were suggested at the panel:

Web Sources:

Print Sources:

Kind words for Exploring Prison Librarianship & a Great Youth Services Resource

This weekend I had a very nice surprise… stumbling on these kind words for my blog’s Urban Fiction Resources page!

The sweet librarian that said such nice things has a great website called Library Services for Incarcerated Youth. I don’t really mention youth services much. This website will be a great source for all of us!

Library Services for Incarcerated Youth features five key resources for you: getting started, funding, successful projects, evaluation, and resources. Check it out!

Law Library Requirements and Access for Isolated Patrons

As a non-law fluent person, this was the best resource to understand what the law says about legal libraries in prisons. If you are looking for the same information. This should be your first stop! Sources are so abundant that the notes on each page of this book are more than half of the page which includes further information such as cases and laws with quoted text.

I’m not really comfortable to talk about what the law is right now, but what I found interesting that could apply to non-legal libraries is the following quote:

Courts understand that a “cell delivery” or “paging” system, by itself, does not provide adequate court access because prisoners who cannot visit the library generally will not know what materials to ask for. If prison officials do permit segregation inmates to have physical access to the law library, that access must be adequate. (242)

This might make us rethink how delivery services to hospital and mental health (and other) locations in the prison system might be improved for better access. For example, bringing a cart full of books might be better suited in addition to books requested from patrons instead of just the requested reads.


Boston, John and Daniel Manville. Prisoners’ Self-Help Litigation Manual4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.