Books Behind Bars documentary screening – March 31st

The GELA Women’s Prison Library and Reintegration Subcommittee and the Edmonton Public Library invite you to attend the screening of Books Behind Bars on March 31 at 7 pm in the Theatre of the Stanley A. Milner Library in downtown Edmonton.

Books Behind Bars is a short documentary film that follows the development and growth of the library, its programs, and the people inside the only multi-level women’s prison facility in Western Canada.

Over the past few years, the Subcommittee has grown from a group of four librarians to a group of over twenty active volunteers, who organize many projects, such as books clubs, book drives, and borrowing projects.  Among these is the Storybook Project, where the volunteers record women reading to their children, and send the recordings, along with the books, to their children.”

A panel discussion will follow the presentation.  This event is being held as a fundraiser to support the on-going library projects at the prison and to purchase materials for the prison library – anyone can attend for free but the suggested donation is $10 or whatever you can afford. Other donations will also be gratefully accepted.

Senator Mitchell’s statement to the Senate about Women in Prisons in Canada

Back in October, Senator Grant Mitchell attended one of our fundraising events and spoke to a number of our committee volunteers about the work we are doing at the Edmonton Institution for Women.  Inspired by that event,  Senator Mitchell rose in the Senate in December and delivered the following statement:

http://www.senatorgrantmitchell.ca/speeches/12600.aspx

Prisoner Correspondence Project

One of our newest committee members, Marcus  is about to become a penpal with an incarcerated individual through the Prisoner Correspondence Project –  he told me that they are interested in stepping up their outreach efforts into prisons across Canada and wish to connect with people or organizations that do work on the inside of the prison system.

Some information about the project:

The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a collectively-run initiative based out of Montreal, Quebec. It coordinates a direct-correspondence program for gay, lesbian, transsexual, transgender, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, bisexual and queer inmates in Canada and the United States, linking these inmates with people a part of these same communities outside of prison. In addition, it coordinates a resource library of information regarding harm reduction practice (safer sex, safer drug-use, clean needle care), HIV and HEPC prevention, homophobia, transphobia, coming out, etc. The project also aims to make prisoner justice and prisoner solidarity a priority within queer movements on the outside through events like film screenings, workshops, and panel discussions which touch on the broader issues relating to criminalization and incarceration of queers and transfolk.
The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a working group of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at Concordia University and an affiliate group of the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy.

If any other committee members are interested in this initiative, contact Marcus or the Prison Correspondence Project for more information.

GELA Women’s Prison Committee Book Sale Fundraiser (May 8/9)

The Greater Edmonton Library Association (GELA) Women’s Prison and Reintegration Subcommittee is having a Book Sale May 8 and 9, from 10 am – 6 pm (weather permitting) to raise funds for the EIFW library. Feel free to drop by, even to just to say hi and learn more about our committee.

There will be several of us volunteering, but the more, the merrier. Bring friends, distribute our poster, and feel free to invite anyone that we’ve missed!

If you are on Facebook – you can check out our event page for the booksale.

Thank you for your support!

Kirsten

APIRG funding to support the library

Sara and I have successfully applied to APIRG on behalf of ABC Edmonton for a Books Behind Bars project in support of the library. We have received a grant of $670 to be used to buy books for the library and promote the project.

Now to buy some books! We will, of course, be looking to the wishlist, as well as a lists of recommendations from ABC contacts. Kirsten and I have discussed the possibility of buying some reference books.  There’s a bookclub meeting this weekend, so I’ll be able to talk to Cathee about what she thinks would be most useful.

APIRG is also interested in setting up a ‘satellite’ library at the prison. The idea is that they would lend books from their collection to the prison library for an extended period of time and those books would circulate in the prison. This is in discussion stages right now, but I will keep you updated!

Donations of books and supplies

Greenwoods has generously donated 25 children’s books for our Storybook Project. Among these are hard cover picture books, board books, and classics–a really great selection. Thank you Greenwoods!

We also received donations of book card pockets in response to a request made on Jerome-L. Thank you to all of our Alberta colleagues for coming through! The card pockets were dropped off to Cathee along with spine labels and label protectors last week.