The Prison Library at HMP Birmingham is staffed through a Service Level Agreement with Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Libraries.
It is open 7 days a week and is staffed by 2 full time library staff and 2 part time library staff. Library Orderlies also assist from the prison population.
The Prison Library is very popular with an average of 500 prisoners accessing library services every week.
All prisoners receive a weekly timetabled visit and all new admissions to the establishment attend an induction session.
The Prison Library holds a stock of approx. 20,000 resources including audio books, books in 33 different foreign languages, large print titles, Basic Skills and ESOL resources and community, job and heath information. Prisoners also have the opportunity to order inter library loans from community libraries within Birmingham. The Prison Library is also the central source for legal and prison law information with prisoners able to book study visits for personal research.
The Prison Library runs reading groups and poetry workshops with authors and poets often interacting with prisoners. There is a reading group run in conjunction with the prison’s CARATS team.
Staff are heavily involved in several outreach activities including visits to two education sites, the CSU (Care and Separation Unit) and Healthcare. The Prison Library also provides regular book drops to the CSU, Healthcare, First Night Centre and to the Safer Custody team.
Library staff are primarily responsible for the administration of the Toe by Toe scheme run by The Shannon Trust. Prisoners can enrol onto the Six Book Challenge which is run through Birmingham Libraries and The Reading Agency. The Prison Library also provides non-accredited education courses for in-cell study through the e-mail College website.
Staff work alongside the prison radio project to provide the Storybook Dads scheme where prisoners can record a story onto CD for their children. The Prison Library also assists the Resettlement and Education departments with the Family Man course and on Family Visit Days.
The Prison Library allows prisoners the opportunity to join Birmingham Libraries and use community libraries on release.
The Prison Library is a Birmingham Libraries Poetry Place and as such has an active role in choosing the annual Poet Laureate for Birmingham.
The Prison Library was recently chosen as one of 4 case studies working with and providing resources for entry level literacy students and providing evidence to The Reading Agency and other national providers.
JHP is the contracted provider within the OLASS provision for Careers, Information Advice Service (CIAS). They see new receptions on induction to provide advice and support. JHP also provide the following service:
- Induction Session – Group Session
- Initiating Learner Record Service
- Refreshing LRS Learner Plan
- Pre-release/resettlement session – Group session and via 1:1
JHP has also implemented a Ready for the Road programme delivering CV writing, interview techniques, letter writing, disclosure and job search. The course provides support for prisoners due for release and is delivered through the Virtual Campus suite.