Click here to learn more about:
Who we are:
The Prison Libraries Committee (PLC) of the Manitoba Library Association (MLA) is a volunteer group that provides collections, programming and library awareness for people who are incarcerated in Manitoba. Formed in 2012, the PLC’s volunteers provide service to:
- Winnipeg Remand Centre (WRC) in Winnipeg
- Women’s Correctional Centre (WCC) in Headingley, Manitoba
- Headingley Correctional Centre (HCC)
- Milner Ridge Correctional Centre in Beausejour, Manitoba
- The Pas Correctional Centre in The Pas, Manitoba.
- Manitoba Youth Centre (MYC) in Winnipeg
Programs have also been provided in other sites as part of reintegration and partnered initiatives. Activities of the PLC are continually evolving as we learn, grow and connect within justice and reintegration services in Manitoba.
What we believe:
We believe prison libraries and literacy play an important role in peoples’ reintegration into communities. Thoughtful programming and access to meaningful and relevant reading materials can help improve individuals’ quality of life both inside and outside of correctional institutions.
Please read our Prisoners Right to Read statement adopted by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations.
And the MLA-PLC action statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement
What we do:
- collect and deliver and organize books to the prisons
- offer an Email Reference Service to HCC, WCC, Milner Ridge, and MYC
- create library awareness for incarcerated Manitobans to inform on the resources and tools of the library for when they are released
- commit to work together with partner sites and organizations towards the mutual goal of providing incarcerated and reintegrating individuals with relevant reading material and information
- act with respect to both incarcerated Manitobans and workers in the justice system
- advocate for the greatest access to reading materials and information possible within the environments of individual correctional institutions
- operate library services and programming inside the prisons
- we arrange special guests such as author talks, writing workshops, and songwriter visits
- you can read a copy of the Create Chapbook online created by the women inside WCC (link takes you to the U of M – Institute for the Humanities website)
Read media coverage about our committee
- ‘I think he would be really thrilled’: Book drive seeks work by Indigenous authors for Manitoba prisons from CTV News (October 21, 2023)
- Books behind bars: Incarcerated people in Canada are often without access to information. Prison librarians are working to change that from THIS magazine (July/August 2023)
- Book & Bake sale supports incarcerated readers featured in the Winnipeg Free Press (June 2023)
- ‘They had no libraries’: Book drive in Winnipeg gets reading into province’s jails featured on APTN (May 2023)
- Prison book drive and book sale returns to the West End featured in the Winnipeg Free Press (June 2022)
- Providing space to create featured in the Uniter (October 2019)
- Inmates tell their stories featured in the Headliner (September 2019)
- Publication aims to give prisoners a voice featured in the Winnipeg Free Press (September 2019)
- Feature: Prison Libraries Committee on Human Rights Hub Winnipeg (February 2018)
- The Right to Read – A Prison Story featured in the Freedom to Read Week Review (February 2018)
- ‘Bibliographic rehabilitation’: Fundraiser helps connect inmates with books in Manitoba from CBC Manitoba (May 2017)
- Listen to From classics to dictionaries, the books that prisoners want to read from CBC Radio’s Now or Never (February 2017)
- Short YouTube video featuring MLA-PLC volunteer Monique Woroniak describing our programs and services (May 2016)
- Building Bigger Libraries not Bigger Prisons, a TedX talk by volunteer Isaac Wurmann (May 2015)
- Books Behind Bars: a volunteer-run prison library service in Winnipeg, Manitoba – from In the Library with a Lead Pipe (March 26, 2014)
- Free to Read: Bringing Library Programming into the Winnipeg Remand Centre – from Wired West2014 Volume 17, Issue 2.
- Books Behind and Beyond Bars– an article written for Feliciter magazine (Vol. 59, No.2 April 2013)
General questions can be directed to the Chair of the PLC: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about volunteering please contact: email@example.com
For questions about donating books please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/MLA.PLC
To our donors, those who have donated books and money.
To Highwater Press, Portage & Main Press, University of Manitoba Press, Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, and McNally Robinson for their book donations
To the staff at the Winnipeg Remand Centre, the Women’s Correctional Centre, Headingley Correctional Centre for Men, Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, the Manitoba Youth Centre, and The Pas Correctional Centre for their support, advice and encouragement as we continue to develop and present library programming and services inside their respective correctional institutions.
To the Winnipeg Public Library for their continued support in the form of storage space for our collections, for donations of post-book sale books, and much more.
And a final heartfelt thank you to our prison library users, the incarcerated Manitobans who inspire us to do this good, hard, and important work. Thank you.