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Prison Receives Hundreds of Books and Audiobooks

Prison Receives Hundreds of Books and Audiobooks photo 7/22/2014 9:56:38 a.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

James Britsch, Director of Library Services at New Mexico Junior College Pannell Library, had agreed to serve as an advisor to the Lea County Correctional Facility (LCCF) Library. At his first quarterly meeting in April, he noticed there was a very limited amount of books and audio books.  Over the next few weeks, he worked with a library in Utah, which donated over 300 books and audiobooks to the facility. New Mexico Junior College saw the educational value of promoting reading for the inmates and agreed to pay for the shipping from Utah to the prison.

“The correctional facility does not have the budget to purchase all of the books they need,” says Britsch.  “In fact, their audio book section was limited to one shelf of less than a dozen books, all on cassette [prisoners are not allowed to have CDs].  Because of their lack of resources to buy new inventory, I knew I could do something about it.

“Public libraries all over the country are removing their old audio books on cassette as they upgrade to CD. Public libraries also regularly remove books as they make room for new and popular releases. I hoped that finding books and audio books for the prison system would be a simple matter of asking the right people.”

Britsch called his sister, Sheri Britsch, the Director of the Pleasant Grove City Library in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  They worked together to arrange the donations, which filled fourteen boxes. 

“We are so grateful for this donation,” says Dwayne Burris, Paralegal/Librarian at LCCF.  “Education is a critical component for inmates to learn a skill. And reading books helps with their literacy and higher learning, which reduces recidivism.”

Kristin Kohrt, Education Director at LCCF says, “Most of the men here at the prison are anxious to better themselves, and education is the key.  These books will help many obtain their GED, which we teach here at the facility.  And those inmates who are more educated can continue their self-improvement by having a wide variety of books to read and learn.”

For more information:  James Britsch, Director of Library Services at NMJC:  jbritsch@nmjc.eduor 575-492-2873

New Mexico Junior College is a comprehensive community college promoting success through learning.

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Photo:  Dwayne Burris and James Britsch display some of the hundreds of books donated to the prison.

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