Saturday, November 17, 2007

Information Needs of Prisoners: Annotated Bibliography Part 1 of 3

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
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Information Needs of Prisoners: Annotated Bibliography
Part 2
Part 3

Boutilier, S., Chan, H., Curry, A., & Wolf, K. (2003). Canadian federal prison libraries: a national survey. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 35(3), 141-152.

A nationwide survey of Canada’s 51 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security federal prisons was conducted in 2001 through a mailed questionnaire to the head librarian. The survey gathered information about the users, as well as staffing, funding, the collection, and limitations on acquisitions and access. The respondents believed that the prisoner usage of the library materials were meeting recreational, cultural, educational, and informative needs, but more funding was needed.

I searched Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA) with “prison libraries” in the descriptor field and “research OR survey?” in the keyword field.

Bowden, T. S. (2003). A snapshot of state prison libraries with a focus on technology. Behavioral and Social Sciences Librarian, 21(2), 1-12.

A nationwide survey of 207 state prisons, representative of the national population in terms of size, security level, and sex distribution, studied current trends of prisoner usage of technology. Almost 97% of the prisons had libraries offering a variety of print and electronic resources, although staffing, size, and budgets varied. Prisoners could access computers, with sporadic training, at almost half of the facilities, and access to word processing, CDs and library catalogs were common. Monitored Internet usage was only available at one library.

I searched LISA with “prison libraries” in the descriptor field and “technology” in the keyword field.

Glennor, L. S. (2003). Correctional libraries, library standards, and diversity. Journal of Correctional Education, 54(2), 70-4.

An online questionnaire of 110 state prison libraries examined prisoner usage, service, programs, and collections; 35 responses from 12 states were received. The survey reviewed the racial breakdown of inmates and staff, racial conflicts, the collection and its development criteria, cultural programs, and the satisfaction level of users. Using the Library Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions as a model, defined as meeting the informational, cultural, educational, vocational, and recreational needs of its users, librarians analyzed the demographics of library users and determined other services and programs available in the institution. Although the survey indicates that most prison librarians aspire to operate under the same model as public libraries, in practice this is difficult because of the restrictions imposed by prison administration, which curtails prisoner library usage.

I searched the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) for “prison* AND librar* AND information* AND needs.”

Haymann-Diaz, B. (1989). Establishing a selection process model for an ethnic collection in a prison library. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 8(1-2), 33-49.

This case study examines the selection process used by two inmate/library assistants to develop Hispanic and African-American ethnic collections in a prison library to meet inmate informational needs. Its findings are used to formulate a selection process model for the development of ethnic collections to encourage and support prisoner usage of the library.

I searched the Eric database in Dialog with this search statement:
ss prison libraries/de AND prison(w)librar?/ti AND (study or research)

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