The Bookshop has an on-going program of donations to Queensland prison libraries which began in 2008. Then Bookshop President, Dr Kathy Munro, had a chance to see some prison libraries through her work at the time, and noted the limited stocks available for inmates to access. Kathy, Paul and the bookshop volunteers worked with correctional centre managers and education officers to establish the necessary protocols and find workable ways for the Bookshop to donate relevant and acceptable secondhand books.
Since then we have donated well over 100,000 books to most of the local correctional centres including Brisbane Men's, Brisbane Women's, Arthur Gorrie (Wacol), Helena Jones Centre, Numinbah (Nerang), Woodford Correctional Centre, and the Townsville Correctional Complex.
Education Officers within the various centres have worked hard behind the scenes to ensure its success with our basic book donations encouraging the formation of reading, writing, discussion, art and performance groups.
As donated stock comes in to the shop, books suitable for donation to the prisons are set aside. Every few months Education Officers from the various centres visit the shop to select stock and pick up the boxes. This is a good arrangement for both parties with the Bookshop’s limited capacity for delivery and the Education Officers’ need to vet and make sure the books and magazines fit within their protocols of what is suitable.
This is a relationship that has been growing strongly for over years now which we hope will continue to contribute to the literacy, ongoing education and reading enjoyment of Correctional Centre inmates.
My Mum's Voice
A Reading Program for Mums Inside
Many of us know the importance of reading to kids from our own experiences of being read to and sharing books with our own children and grandchildren.
For Mums in prison, relationships with kids can be difficult to maintain, with ongoing impacts for them and their families, and the book-sharing relationship is one of the things that suffers.
‘My Mum’s Voice’ Reading Program, established at Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, involves Mums reading storybooks onto a CD for their children and posting out the book and the CD. Similar programs in other places have reported really positive responses with impacts for both literacy and parent/child relationships. The Annerley Community Bookshop supports the program and you can help.
How you can help: Donate a children’s book to read aloud
The Annerley Community Bookshop has donated a range of good children’s books for the Mums to choose, read onto CD and send to their children. You can help by contributing suitable books. When thinking about an appropriate book consider:
- Something good to read aloud (rhyme and repetitious text is often good, try to avoid books that rely heavily on looking for things in the picture rather than the text).
- Boys and girls
- All age groups (first books up to school-age readers)
- Indigenous story books – the Bookshop carries a range of new Indigenous childrens story books that may be purchased and donated to the program
- Good condition – second hand books are fine, but not too well-loved, torn or child- decorated!
Hint: there are some lovely children’s books available at low prices in book remainders stores, think about picking one up for this program next time one catches your eye.
Just bring the book into the shop and say it’s for the ‘My Mum’s Voice’ Reading Program and we’ll pass it on. Perhaps you could talk to friends and workmates about it and bring half a dozen books when you come.
Many Mums in detention have their own difficult stories to tell and a simple gift of a book for a Mum to read to her child could be something that helps lighten the load and allows her child the chance to hear a story told in ‘My Mum’s Voice’.
The project appeared in the U Sunday Mail in September 2012, written by journalist Leanne Edmistone and photographed by Mark Cranitch.
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