October 11, 2012

Second Chance for Well-Worn Books and New Skills for Inmates; Innovative Library Book Repair Project a Win-Win All Around

Photo captions: Broken or detached spines are one of the most common problems of books delivered for repair. Trained hands give new life to the worn books. Repaired books, now like new, wait to be returned to the shelves of Montgomery County Public Libraries.

Older, well-worn library books are finding new lives back on the shelves at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) branches thanks to the helping hands of inmates working with the Library Book Repair Project at the County’s Correctional Facility (MCCF) in Clarksburg.

Under the Workforce Re-Entry project, inmates are trained by MCCF to professionally repair damaged books that can then be returned to circulation instead of being discarded from the system. MCCF is also funding the materials necessary for the pilot. Start-up supplies cost $3,300, and no additional costs have been incurred since the project began.

Inmates selected to participate in the program can earn “good time credit” toward reducing their sentence while acquiring new work skills.
The most common problems encountered in book repairs are: broken or detached spines; pencil marks on pages; and ripped, loose or torn pages.

The program was the brainchild of Warden Rob Green who said he came up with the idea last year “in an attempt to reestablish our job shop and workforce development programs inside the jail.” He had heard of a similar corrections-based program some years ago, but a recent check found no other currently in operation.
Read more about the project.