10/01/2023 - Permalink

Libraries add another chapter to innovative prison project

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council’s libraries service has completed another chapter in its partnership with Human Libraries by visiting HMP Stoke Heath.

Three volunteer ‘human library books’ went to the prison to be ‘read’ by six selected prisoner representatives in a bid to open up frank conversations. Their subjects were health, sexuality, grief, and abuse.

Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and digital, said the latest chapter of the project had been very well received:-

“The feedback we have had via HMP Stoke Heath is that everyone involved enjoyed the experience, despite some admitting possible misgivings at the beginning.

“Comments have been insightful and included: ‘An excellent talk which should be encouraged in more prisons.’, ‘All three (books) had a great impact.’

“It is clear from the feedback that it has been an enlightening experience, with many of the readers saying it has changed the way they view people, and that it is valuable to encourage people to talk about their experiences.

“It is fantastic to hear our library service’s efforts have been so well received and have had such a positive effect on improving others’ wellbeing and opening people up to new experiences.”

Human Library events bring people together to discuss and challenge prejudices. It began in Denmark 22 years ago and has now extended to 85 countries. Shropshire Council’s libraries service was the first ‘branch’ in the world to visit a prison last year.

For more information:-

Human Library Organisation – https://humanlibrary.org/

Shropshire Libraries – https://shropshire.gov.uk/libraries/

Stoke Heath Prison – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/stoke-heath-prison