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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Society emphasizes importance on reading

The advisor for the Black Swamp Literary Society thinks education is the most successful way to keep criminals from returning to the prison system – this is why his group is collecting books to donate to Toledo Correctional Institute.

‘Prisoners need to be rehabilitated if we want them not to re-offend. We need to not lock them up and throw the key away,’ said Phil Dickinson, assistant chair of the English department and advisor to BSLS. ‘Giving them access to books is a way to avoid shutting them out of society and educate them.’

Dickinson said that since most prisoners are not allowed to receive books from family and friends the library, which has limited resources, the correctional institute their only source for books.

‘Programs like this have to pick up the slack because really the only way for prison libraries to get new books are from programs like this because of the cutbacks in educational programs in prisons,’ Dickinson said.

The TCI has around 10,000 books in their general library – which Rose Shaddy, librarian, said is very low compared to public libraries. The Wood County Public library has around 118,000 books.

But, prisoners at TCI do have access to more books than what is just in their prison’s library.

‘Interlibrary loans are available from other prison libraries and also we do have access to Toledo-Lucas County library as long as those books requested are permitted to read,’ Shaddy said. ‘But, some times it’s hard to get certain books because they are so popular.’

Dickinson said many people don’t understand how easy they have it to get any book they want versus only being offered a limited selection like the prisoners are.

‘I really think that so many of us take the access to books for advantage,’ Dickinson said.

Books that are needed at TCI are non-fiction books about psychology, sociology, art, biographies and fiction books with limited violence.

Jacque Dolezal, freshman, hoped to fill this gap by donating several books she has already read to TCI, including the ‘Complete Book of Pocket Positives,’ which is a book of optimistic stories.

‘I thought they might be in more need of optimistic stories than me,’ she said.

A donation box for books can be found at East Hall on the second floor library lounge.

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