Libraries are repositories of all that is known and has been known for 3,000 years. They are places — physical structures — containing the written words of millenia. But they are also programs dedicated to connecting those words with eager learners. How do the eager learners of the Hope-Western Prison Education Program incarcerated in Muskegon Correctional Facility gain access to this trove? Here’s how:
- Gather a wonderful team of Van Wylen and Cook library professionals — professionals dedicated to the proposition that libraries should “Offer a welcoming and inclusive environment that affirms the dignity of all persons as bearers of God’s image and where the full humanity of all may flourish.”
- Creatively discern how to upload the Hope College and Western Theological Seminary libraries’ catalogs of more than 500,000 books and 50,000 journals onto two dedicated laptops.
- Teach students how to conduct research by familiarizing them with information literacy concepts like accessing, evaluation, and use of information.
- Develop a fulfillment system that allows HWPEP students to search for library materials, write their requests on a form delivered to Van Wylen Library by their professors, and deliver books to the prison for the students’ use in their courses.
Delivering the wisdom of 3,000 years to incarcerated students? No problem.