As enthusiastic supporters of World Book Day we are involved with several local schools and always tend to order too many copies of each yearly crop of fantastic WBD titles. After all, the last thing we ever want to do is to run out! It does mean that after the dust has settled on the WBD events we are always left with extra stock. We have found some good uses for them over the years but the latest is maybe the best – a link with the local library service who take books into prisons.
For children, the occasional visit to their father in prison can be a difficult, awkward and daunting experience. The unfriendly formality of the visiting hall is not a helpful environment for a quality time together. Essex County Libraries have recently started to run Family Library Time sessions in Chelmsford Prison where fathers can spend time reading with their children in a much more welcoming environment. It is a place where children have a chance to relax and actually enjoy the time with their fathers. Our surplus WBD books mean that prisoners can give their visiting children a book to take away. A book to read and enjoy which is also a tangible reminder of their visit with their absent father.
Research has shown how important it is for parents in prison to maintain family relationships. It plays a big part in reducing the likelihood of reoffending. So, this is a brilliant partnership. Over 500 surplus WBD books, built up over years, are out of our stock room and getting into the hands of children – and in the process strengthening the family ties that help keep society healthy.