Friday, August 10, 2018

Literacy for Incarcerated Teens via PW

Literacy Spotlight: Literacy for Incarcerated Teens
Publishers Weekly: 7.10.2018 by Matia Burnett

“Who among us readers can imagine surviving incarceration without a library?” It’s a question that Jessica Fenster-Sparber, an educator and librarian in New York City, often considers. Yet, as recent proposed restrictions on prison provisions have shown, reading is not always a right to be taken for granted. The New York-based nonprofit Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT) is solely devoted to supplying reading material and promoting literacy for incarcerated youth in New York state. LIT provides books to organizations like Passages Academy (where Fenster-Sparber works as a librarian), a New York City Department of Education school network that serves youth ages 16 and younger in secure and non-secure detention. Passages has eight locations, including Crossroads in Brooklyn and Horizon in the Bronx.

LIT was founded in 2002 by Passages Academy educator Rebecca Howlett, who recognized the need for physical libraries in facilities that serve teens in detention. The organization originally operated in conjunction with the Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project from 2003 until 2009, when LIT became its own nonprofit organization. LIT has gone on to facilitate the donation of thousands of new books to incarcerated teen readers across the state of New York, largely through the work of volunteers.  READ MORE >>

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