A History of Outreach in Queens
Queens Public Library has provided outreach services to the criminal justice system for over 100 years, beginning in 1915 with the prison traveling library station (pictured below). In 2005, we received an Exceptional Service Award from the American Library Association honoring our correctional outreach. With the introduction of the Video Visitation program in 2016, we now have a dedicated team that focuses on this essential work.
Contact the team to learn more about our programs and services.
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Current ProgramsImmediate Access: Technology Reentry Program
In partnership with Queens Defenders, the Queens Public Library equips people released on parole during the COVID-19 pandemic with vital tech resources.
Each participant will receive a smartphone that connects to online resources and services that assist with reentry, such as financial and transportation apps and the Library’s virtual programming. They will also receive a data plan, technology assistance, and job training that provides the information, skills, and resources needed to take important next steps.
Cleverly named by the program’s first participants at Queensboro Correctional Facility, "See You on the Outside" equips individuals preparing for reentry with a professional resume. Participants also receive a list of resources that are tailored to their previous work experience and skill sets and are encouraged to continue visiting with the Queens Public Library for personal assistance as they embark on their reentry goals.Reentry Resource Guide
The Queens Public Library Reentry Resource Guide serves as a manual for patrons seeking help with their transition from a correctional facility. The guide highlights information about library services, as well as outside organizations that help with legal matters, health-related matters, continuing education, housing, and much more. See our guide.Queens County Reentry Taskforce
Queens Public Library is an official member of the Queens County Reentry Task Force. The goal of the taskforce is to reduce recidivism by coordinating and strengthening community support in response to individuals transitioning from incarceration back into the community. More information.Video Visitation
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, video visitation is currently suspended. The New York City Department of Correction offers a televisit program that you can access from home. More information.
Temporarily on hold, this free video visitation service connects families with incarcerated loved ones in a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment. For more information please see the Video Visitation webpage.
Library Service at Rikers Island
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person library service is currently suspended. However, the library currently provides reading materials to patrons who are incarcerated at two facilities. These materials are distributed by working in conjunction with facility program coordinators. If you would like to donate books to this initiative, please see the Correctional Services Book Donations webpage.NYC Probation and NYS Community Supervision (Parole)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services are subject to change. The Correctional Outreach Team extends library services to both the Queens Division of Parole and the Department of Probation during orientation sessions held at each respective organization’s location. Individuals in attendance can obtain a library card, referrals to trainings, and information on upcoming workshops and programs offered at the library.