LIT’s work to provide young people with books and access to programming which facilitates their literacy skills and their love of reading has played an invaluable role in the growth and development of the young people the program has served. Teachers, education directors, and librarians from across the state have recognized the vital role that this program has played in young people’s lives.
LIT has established school libraries in Passages Academy’s eight locations and is the only non-profit in NYC that partners with the DOE to fund collections, enrich programmatic activities and provide other critical resources for the libraries in its Passages Academy and detention centers.
LIT’s pioneering work has been credited by officials at the DOE and the NYC Administration of Children’s Services (which has responsibility for juvenile justice), school administrators and librarians with providing much needs supplemental services, resources and “powerful opportunities” which have offered a vital lifeline to the teens.
The principal of Passages Academy in New York’s juvenile detention facilities said of LIT: “I hope that more kids are provided with these powerful opportunities to change their lives for the better.”
LIT has recently developed an initiative in facilities operated by the State’s Office of Children and Family Services. We have provided 600 books and other services at the Brookwood Secure residential facility for boys, in Claverack, NY. We have also facilitated the donation of books to the Finger Lakes Facility, based in Lansing, NY. LIT is currently working to extend its full suite of programs to all juvenile facilities in NYS.
A young person at an OCFS facility said “Having new books in Brookwood not only helps us education[ally] but makes the ‘program’ they teach us here seem real.”
Another young person from an OCFS facility said “Thank you so much for your generous donation of books to our library. When you are locked up away from your family and friends it can get lonely. Sometimes your only freedom and escape is a good book!”
Other accomplishments include:
• Introduced the critically acclaimed Artists and Authors series, in which established and upcoming professionals visit the libraries to discuss their work and interact in informal settings with the students.
• Coordinated the visits of authors and artists and the accompanying peer-directed discussions, and purchased individual copies of each author’s book for distribution to the children. In the 2010-2011 program year 17 authors visited and interacted with over 300 students.
• Ordered new books and maintain stock levels of curriculum-approved and other reading materials for children and young adult readers.
• Provided shelves, audio-visual equipment and other resources to create modern, user-oriented libraries.
• Provided literary programming appropriate to the varied reading levels of the youth to develop and sustain enthusiasm for reading.
• Funded automated catalogues for the libraries.
• Supported the development of an e-newsletter through which library professionals exchange information.