Juvenile justice libraries

Project members: Jane Garner, partnering with Birchwood School, South Carolina;

The project explores the role of libraries and librarians in juvenile justice facilities. An example of international best-practice is to be used to build a case study to illustrate best-practice opportunities to Australian juvenile justice centres. 


Having completed a survey of the 16 juvenile justice facilities in Australia, in late 2019 and early 2020, it was found that four of these facilities offer no library service to their young people at all. Of the 12 facilities who reported offering a library service, five of these ‘libraries’ are a collection of books housed in a classroom, while the other seven facilities reported they have dedicated spaces within the prison for a library collection. No juvenile justice facitities in Australia employed a librarian to manage the book collections at the time of the survey and very little use is made of the collections to support the education of the young people in custody.

The results of this survey and case study that describes the Birchwood School Library in the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice facility as an example of best-practice will be published in a chapter in a forthcoming issue of ‘Advances in Librarianship‘ that will focus on libraries in correctional facilities to be published in August 2021.

Update (November, 2021):

This project has been finalised and has resulted in a chapter published in Advances in Librarianship. The full citation for the chapter is:

Garner, J. (2021). Exploring juvenile justice facility library provision in Australian and South Carolina, USA. In J. Garner (Ed.), Exploring the roles and practices of libraries in prisons: International perspectives. (Advances in Librarianship; Vol. 49). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Contact: Dr Jane Garner

Email: jagarner@csu.edu.au

Phone: (02) 6933 4318