This post is part of a series exploring prisoners as a user group with distinct information needs. The next segments are an annotated bibliography with applied search strategies. Please click below to read further:
Information Needs of Prisoners: A Review of the Literature
Information Needs of Prisoners: Annotated Bibliography
Lithgow, S., & Hepworth, J. B. (1993). Performance measurement in prison libraries: research methods, problems, and perspectives. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 25(2), 61-9.
University of Wales’ Department of Information Science and Library Studies conducted a research project to develop and test a series of performance indicators for use in evaluating prison libraries to improve their effectiveness and efficiency, through a literature survey and a pilot study. The study assessed the current practices of prison libraries, including structured interviews with inmates and staff, opinion leader interviews, test site selection, observation and monitoring. Inmate interviews of a minimum of 10% of the population were conducted at two women’s prisons and four men’s prisons.
I searched the Library Literature and Information Science database in Dialog with this search statement:
ss prison libraries/DE AND (research OR survey?)
Stevens, T. (1994). The information needs of prisoners: a study of three penal establishments. Library and Information Research News, 18(60), 29-33.
A 1992 study, based on three prisons, inspects inmates’ information needs and how effectively they were met. The length of sentence and the time left to serve exercises control over information needs, and the institutions’ administration determines the inmates’ satisfaction. Formal information channels such as the library may be perceived as ineffective by inmates, regardless of their objective validity. Informal networks among inmates were the most preferred source of information.
I searched LISA for “prisoner* AND librar* AND research.”
Stevens, T. (1993). The role of the prison library in the reform and rehabilitation process. Library and Information Research News, 16(57), 13-5.
A study of prison libraries in England and Wales determined how prison libraries define their roles and objectives, their participation in rehabilitation programs within their institutions, and the effectiveness of their participation. It also examines how the prisoners’ information and usage needs are met through these programs.
I searched LISA with “prison libraries” in the descriptor field and “program*” in the keyword field.
Womboh, B. S. (1995). Research summary: an assessment of Nigerian prison libraries. Third World Libraries, 5(2), 74-5.
A questionnaire survey of prison officials and inmates at three Nigerian prisons analyzed prisoner usage of the library. Findings showed that the low use of prison libraries were caused by inaccessibility, poor resources, and inhuman prison conditions, not a lack of the inmates’ desire or ability. Intellectual growth was found to play a significant role in the reform and rehabilitation of incarcerated criminals in Nigeria.
I searched LISA with “prison libraries” in the descriptor field and “survey” in the keyword field.