Charles County Public Library has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the American Library Association’s Building Library Capacity Grant, among 15 other recipients. The Building Library Capacity Grant will help support library operations at the Charles County Detention Center Library.

The grants can be used to broaden technology access, develop collections, provide digital instruction, increase staffing, and expand outreach, or maintaining or amplifying other existing service strategies or adding new ones. Each year will focus on helping add capacity to different libraries, especially those serving marginalized or underrepresented segments of the community. Libraries serving incarcerated persons or libraries assisting those re-entering society were designated for the grants in 2024.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, nearly 2 million individuals were incarcerated in 2023 in the United States- in prisons, jails, juvenile correctional centers, and other detention institutions. Research shows that increasing the literacy rates and strengthening the library and information access opportunities for detained and formerly detained individuals often correlates to reduced recidivism and successful reentry.

“The Library engages incarcerated persons through its collection and services at the Charles County Detention Center Library which was established to offer access to services and resources that enrich and improve the lives of incarcerated persons. To foster successful reentry back into society. Library staff provide various programming, including skill building workshops and book discussions. The Library will add titles for often requested areas such as construction, starting a small business, but also expand the Storybook Program where incarcerated parents read aloud and have recorded a children’s book for their children to have at home.”