The purpose of libraries is to provide high quality library services and materials that satisfy the educational, therapeutic and recreational needs of our inmate patrons. Specifically, our goals are to:
There are five libraries at the Salt Lake City site that directly serve over 2,000 inmate patrons, and indirectly provide services for over 500 inmates in restrictive housing. Our libraries function like small public libraries. There are currently three full-time employee positions in library services; a Library Director and two Librarian I positions.
During the majority of FY 2021 our libraries were closed due to Covid-19. Starting in late spring, we were slowly able to reopen with all libraries back in operation in June 2021. While our libraries were closed, we shifted our focus and began securing donations so we could deliver boxes of books to the housing units. During the year the libraries were closed, we delivered over 26,000 books. In the short time we were open at the end of the year, over 8,500 items were loaned and there were almost 2,500 visits to our libraries.
We are dedicated to providing the best Library Services we can, even in unusual circumstances, given our resources. We know that our services make a difference for inmates as well as stage. We are committed to supporting the Programming Vision in “helping people gain the necessary skills and support to successfully exit the criminal justice system.”
There is one library at CUCF with one Librarian. CUCF services approximately 1600-1700 inmates. CUCF has the main library to which over 700 incarcerated individuals have access and provides services to the 400 others in Restrictive Housing and in Receiving and Orientation units. The remaining housing units have access to the library on the weekend through the unit.
The Reading for the Blind Program gives inmates the opportunity to produce free audio books for blind and disabled library patrons living in Utah and across the United States. In partnership with the Utah State Library’s Program for the Blind and Disabled, we record, edit, and finalize an average of 20 projects per month, including books, magazines, LDS literature, and voting materials. We also repair an average of 56 digital audio book players per month, which allow qualifying patrons to access and listen to government-issued audio materials. Inmates employed by the Reading for the Blind program contribute over 6,000 total employee hours per State Fiscal Quarter.
As a network library for the National Library Service, the Reading for the Blind program also contributes projects to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Database), and completes 60 commercial audiobook conversions per month, increasing the NLS capacity to produce free content for qualifying patrons on a national scale.