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San Francisco Library Receives $2M To Expand Services For Incarcerated

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/BCN) – The San Francisco Public Library received a $2 million grant to expand services for people incarcerated locally and nationally from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation last week.

The grant will support a collaboration between the library and the American Library Association, according to a news release shared Thursday by the office of San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

"For many who are incarcerated, access to information and resources through the library is a lifeline and critical to their rehabilitation process, Breed said in the statement.

The program includes several elements:

  • Create a comprehensive survey of existing models for library services to people in jails and prisons and a revision of outdated standards in collaboration with formerly incarcerated people and librarians;
  • Develop an interactive map that can be used to locate library services for incarcerated individuals nationwide;
  • Create a year-long virtual training series led by SFPL staff and other experts in the field; and
  • Pilot digital literacy training to support people in the process of reentry.

City Librarian Michael Lambert said there is little information publicly available about the types of services available to those who are incarcerated.

"This project will allow us to see where library services exist, where they can be better supported, and to provide that support through collaborations and training that will ultimately increase the amount of library services inside of jails, juvenile detention centers and prisons," Lambert said in the statement. "Our justice-involved patrons deserve more equitable access to the full spectrum of library programs and collections."

Pending approval by the Board of Supervisors, the program could begin in the coming months.

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