Jeanie Austin

Steve Thomas: Jeanie Austin, welcome to Circulating Ideas.

Jeanie Austin: Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here.

Steve Thomas: I wanted to start with just finding out how you got involved with the library profession in the first place.

Jeanie Austin: Yeah, it’s a great question. Until I went to library school, I didn’t intend to become a librarian. My background is in social services, so very mental health focused. And then I did a lot of different things, including at one point working as a gift wrapper in a high-end bookstore in Oklahoma City, and while I was doing that work, one of my coworkers worked for the library system in Oklahoma City and basically told me, “you should work for the library.” It was an instant recruitment. And I worked for a while as a purchasing assistant, so I did a lot of looking at book reviews and selecting materials for the entire Oklahoma City Public Library system. I sent an application in to UIUC, and I was accepted. That really changed the course of my life and my areas of study and research, and I’m so glad that I did make that decision.

Steve Thomas: So after that work, what drew you to working with incarcerated populations or being interested in that part of the field?

Jeanie Austin: I had worked with youth who were involved in the juvenile detention system, accompanied youth to court. But when I started library school, I didn’t envision bringing that part of my life into what I was doing, I had a different focus for my early research. And then I was working on a community informatics project with a group of youth called the peer ambassadors, a group of black youth who lived mostly in Champaign, Illinois, and they were doing this amazing work around social justice, around police violence. For many of the youth, one of their friends had been killed by the police for entering a building that he was allowed to be in, and they were doing programs and mentoring in a juvenile detention center. And a number of them had been incarcerated in the juvenile detention center.

And as my colleague, Joe Coyle and I were working with them, they basically were like, you all are librarians. There’s this library in the juvenile detention center that’s not meeting our needs. How can we get you to revamp it and start taking care of it? And so I really owe that turn in my profession to the ambassadors and the work that they were doing and how smart and savvy they were about the circumstances.

So Joe and I worked with them and with librarians throughout the area, as well as some other key stakeholders to have a robust library collection there. We weeded out a lot of books when we got started. The director of the juvenile detention center was very excited about having a new librarian, having this involvement, and so we were able to build a collection that was much more racially representative of the youth that were inside, much more representative of their experiences. And we were also able to do library programming, book clubs. In this particular facility, youth weren’t allowed to talk to one another, unless there was a security officer present, and so having those kinds of programs gave youth an opportunity to have a feeling of connection in an environment that could be really isolating. We also supported some of the school programs that were happening in the juvenile detention center with that library collection.

Joe and I were still library students, but we called ourself librarians. We were the main librarian s there. We’d go about once a week to do one-on-one reference, but kids had access to the library collection whenever they’re going to and from class. What came out of that and with that coalition of partners, community partners, and library work was an application for an IMLS grant, which we called Mix It Up, and I became project manager of that grant when we received it. It was really awesome because we were able to take the model that we’d developed doing the juvenile detention center library work and move it to different community sites all across Urbana-Champaign.

We were really thinking broadly with that work so we took not only our model, but our knowledge that the profession is just so deeply steeped, you could say in awareness and in a real lack of diversity, beyond racial diversity, diversity of experience, LGBTQ librarians. And so we started recruiting through that grant library of students that were more diverse in many ways than is often the case and supporting them financially through their degree process.

We would do critical theory and other kinds of research learning work together as a cohort, and then each of those students was placed with a community group across Urbana-Champaign to provide library services that were really directed by that community site. So those might be there’s an historically black library in Champaign, so that was one of the sites that a student was placed at. There’s an LGBTQ center that does a lot of youth programs, a lot of youth programming, and so one of the students was placed there. It was really exciting and amazing work and helped me to see the possibility of the model that we had developed.

Steve Thomas: This is obviously a subject that could be discussed for hours, days, months, years, but could you give listeners a brief, as much as you can, overview of the current state of incarceration in the United States and how we got here just as a base for them to understand the conversation going forward?

Jeanie Austin: Where I’m starting at this point when I talk about incarceration in the US is with this recent report, which showed that one in two adults in the United States has an immediate family member that has been incarcerated for at least one night and I think that number is so important because it starts from a place that is very human, but it also helps to tell the scale of incarceration in the US. The other thing I like about that report is it starts with that startling fact, and you can find it online, and as you scroll down, it starts to disaggragate that information. Histories of slavery and colonization have really led to a system of incarceration in the US that heavily impacts Black people and their communities and families, indigenous people in their communities and family, and LGBTQ people of all races, and especially along the intersections of identity and circumstance. So black trans women are much more likely to be represented in the populations of jails and prisons and juvenile detention centers across the United States than white cis women, for instance.

It really is pretty staggering, the scale of incarceration, the number has held that there’s about 2 million people to 2.3 million people who are incarcerated on any given day in the United States, and these systems are often talked about as distinct, but they actually intersect a lot between juvenile detention, jail, and state and federal prison, which is something that in my book, if you’re interested in that kind of overlap, I try to pull apart because these institutions supposedly serve different functions. But when we start to look at them, there’s a way that they wind around one another, including ICE detention. As a librarian who has worked in juvenile detention centers and jails, on and off for over a decade, those facts are just incredibly apparent walking into any facility in the United States.

Steve Thomas: And yet in some places you couldn’t even talk about this because it’s critical race theory or whatever, but these overlaps, the intersections, like you said, are really important to understand.

Jeanie Austin: Right. And to speak to that kind of the ban on talking about things like this, what we’re talking about while there are theoretical ways of understanding it, and I would not be who I am without the amazing work of black feminist scholars and the ability to follow the work that they’ve been doing and other scholars of color. It’s also, we’re just talking about people’s lived experience, the theory is the theory that helps us understand, but whether or not we’re theoretical about it, this is shaping the lives of millions of millions of people.

Steve Thomas: So I think for a long time, jails, prisons have had small collections of books that incarcerated people could look at, check out, but when did it become a more professional thing where there was an actual librarian there? How did the profession get into this population?

Jeanie Austin: Yeah. That’s a tricky question to answer, because I think some would argue that while services exist in some places, there’s not an amount of services where we would necessarily call them real. The latest version of the library standards for services for incarcerated people was published in 1992. That’s currently being updated under the leadership of Tracie D Hall ALA’s Executive Director, but recent research found that most prison libraries weren’t even hitting the mark of those 1992 standards, despite it being almost three decades later.

I see a lot of energy and interest in the field that I’ve never seen before related to this topic. And I’d say the closest to what I seen in the history of this type of service was interest in the 1970s, which was also a time of a lot of social change and social regeneration. And they can’t say one caused the other necessarily, but there was definitely overlap in that period. And I think we might be experiencing that again.

The standards for prisons that are put out by the American Correctional Association, which prisons have to adhere to in order to get certification, say that there just needs to be one librarian with an MLIS in an entire prison system. What that might look like is for some state department of corrections, they have one librarian who may consult for incarcerated library workers, might buy the material in the collection, but may never step foot in the prison. It’s really a dire state of affairs. There are some really great examples of good library work, but in a number of jails and prisons and juvenile detention centers, what’s stated in one of the earliest proposed original documents I’ve found in the US, which was written in the early 1900s is still true today. And what that document says is this library consists of books that are of no interest to anyone or are in rags, and I think it’s really important when we’re talking about incarceration to focus on that kind of lack of access as a form of systemic oppression because, in addition to there not being materials like books, there’s very, very rarely access to like college databases, or the internet generally. I always encourage people to think about just what they’ve done today on the internet or what they’re doing right now with listening to this podcast and think of how drastically their lives would be changed by suddenly not having that access.

Steve Thomas: It’s mentioned in the book about the fact that there’s in prisons and jails, there’s this control of information. Information is regulated to a very high degree. And then on the other side, the library point of view is that information wants to be free and all this. So how do we square that with our professional values?

Jeanie Austin: There’s a lot of tension there and I think there’s the kind of dissonance that people who do this work have to take on because it’s very unlikely that they will not be compromising professional ideas and beliefs and philosophies. I think too, it’s very possible that many librarians and library workers find themselves doing that in their day-to-day work, especially in this moment. I grew up in Oklahoma and I remember. Not even being able to have LGBTQ children’s books in the library when I was a library worker, or they had to be in a place where children couldn’t see them. So while this is very prevalent among librarians who work with incarcerated people, I don’t think it’s unique to them. I think it’s actually a professional concern that we could connect across. Even given that, I think there are many opportunities. I know there are many opportunities for library systems, librarians, library workers to begin to address that lack of information access. For instance, here at San Francisco Public Library, where I work, we’ve answered over 10,000 information requests from incarcerated people in the last four and a half years.

And while there’s this control with information, for sure. Everything we send is sent within the rules of a prison mail room, for instance, cause we want it to get through. We’ve only received maybe 10, 15 letters back out of that 10,000. It’s possible that some have been destroyed and we weren’t notified, but I think that that speaks to the real possibility that librarians of all kinds have to begin addressing this lack. In some instances, I do think that carceral systems, jails and prisons and juvenile detention centers are intentionally controlling information, but in others, I think that there’s just a passive gap. They’re not interested in putting their resources to a library collection, but then no one else is doing it. And so it just doesn’t exist.

Steve Thomas: Right. You mentioned that you all are answering a lot of questions there at your library. Does that happen a lot where the library on site in the carceral facility is not doing all of the work, but that they are communicating with outside libraries or on the other end, that public libraries are coming in to do work in the facilities?

Jeanie Austin: Yeah, it really depends. There are all kinds of models for doing this work. So here we’re public in San Francisco, we’re public librarians, and we work in the local jail, which did have books, but did not have a library. We’re very happy to do direct services.

We’ve also worked with librarians across California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to do some basic things. One of the things we found out was that the prison librarian who in CDCR are often acting both as legal librarians and as general youth librarians. So that’s a lot of demand and a lot of specialized knowledge for someone to have. I don’t have time to promote resources like the public library. So we did something very simple. We made a sign that was like, here’s some basic stuff that’s in a public library, and then the CDCR librarians were able to put that up in their library. It was also a nice way of saying we know that we might see you later, come on over once you get out.

I’ve known public librarians that do programming that supports prison librarians, that do programs that collaborate with educational staff, or librarians inside of prisons. I think there’s a real opportunity for libraries on the outside and librarians on the inside to connect and mutually support each other in this work. A great example of that is Washington State Library, which is pretty unique compared to other prison library systems. Washington State Library has basically general use branches in the prisons across Washington that are staffed with librarians, and one of the things that those librarians do when they know that their library patrons are going to be released is collaborate with the public libraries in the community to get people a library card so that when they get out, there’s a library card waiting for them, which I think is just such an amazing recognition and invitation to the library’s resources, because we know that much of what the library offers is of interest to people who are in the process of reentry things like basic digital literacy programming. People, if they’ve been in for a decade, technology has changed tremendously and they haven’t had access to that change. Resume development, getting a job, all kinds of things that libraries are already doing, even movies for a story time, so that they can go to something with their kids that doesn’t cost money. Yeah, the possibilities are endless in this area.

Steve Thomas: Yeah, I know there are some libraries that have done story times where they’re connecting somebody who’s in a facility with their family outside. So they’re kind of beginning to do a family storytime in some way, even if there’s some virtual component to it, so it’s a nice connection there as well.

Jeanie Austin: Yeah. And many libraries have also done, or I’ve seen this program happen many times too, programming where tech is brought in so that people who are incarcerated can tape themselves reading a book, a children’s book, and then can provide that book and that tape to their child, which is just such an amazing way of maintaining connection.

Steve Thomas: What kinds of programming do you generally see for this population? Not when they’ve gotten out and they’re in the reentry process, but while they’re still in the facility, what kind of programming is useful to them? And I should say you do even mentioned in the book that you don’t really go into the legal aspects of things, which is an important resource for them to have access to legal services and legal resources, but you’re not a law librarian. And it’s a whole different field, but other than legal kind of issues that they need assistance with, what are kind of programming and services can you offer inside a facility?

Jeanie Austin: I mean, I think the possibilities are endless here and really dependent, not on what people need or might want, but are dependent on what a facility commander or warden would allow and the circumstances, right? Like, during COVID a lot of programming ended because we couldn’t have people outside coming into a prison except the workers.

I think almost any library program that is done in the public could be done in a library in a prison or in a jail or juvenile detention center. In Multnomah, which is in Portland, a juvenile detention center, they’re doing this amazing program where they’re doing professional recording and remixing of kids who are expressing themselves through music, and I got to hear some of those recordings recently, and they’re so beautiful and powerful and such a testament to the kids and their knowledge of the world. There are very often rehabilitative focused programs, which are definitely very important. So things like writing resume, job development, seeking a job with a conviction history.

People who are incarcerated are whole people and with a variety of interests and information needs and desires. So even things like writing programs or bringing in guest speakers from the community that can talk about their own lived experience. There’s just a lot of possibilities.

Some of the things we’ve done here are bringing in authors. A number of people that spoke with the author talked about their own creative process and about their desire to get published. I used to do here pre COVID, and they will again, a transgender representation group. In San Francisco, there’s a pod for people who are transgender. So I would go weekly and we would watch films or discuss articles that were about or by trans people, and just have that time to be together, discussing it in a place that was removed from the general population of people who are not trans. So I think there’s so much that can be offered, even if it’s as simple as the library coming in and doing a five minute presentation on library resources.

We also have a library staff person who goes to the mandated parole meetings, that people who get released from prison in California has to attend as part of doing well by parole and just make library cards for people and talk about the library resources, and it’s consistently one of the most popular options that are there because a lot of other stuff feels really heavy. You know, it’s like you have to get housing, you have to get a job. It’s a lot of demand.

To the law librarian stuff, maybe it’s a little bit of a cop-out for me to say, I’m not talking about it very much because I am not a specialist in it because so many people who become prison librarians are often expected to become law librarians, whether or not they have any training in doing that, which means that they have to learn very quickly on their feet, and that while they’re learning, people might not have the kinds of access that we would expect would be provided to people who are very much in the need of legal information. There is a federal mandate that people who are incarcerated are supposed to have meaningful access to the law, but there is some wiggle room in what meaningful access is. So some prisons, there might be people who come from a law school who can’t give legal advice, but can give guidance on doing legal research or people who are incarcerated might be trained to be the ambassadors of understanding the law and understanding a law library, or if there is a librarian on site, they might be quickly developing their legal muscles. The only other guaranteed right to information access for incarcerated people is access to religious information and how that’s interpreted is often to the base religious texts. So Bible or Koran, but not much beyond that.

Steve Thomas: Whereas somebody who might be very much into their faith might want to do deep readings on that, but it’s not required under the letter of the law, and some places are just going to do the minimum of what they can get by with.

You mentioned that you organized the book specifically to have theory at the beginning and then some practical stuff at the end, and then you put technology in the middle. Can you talk about why you chose technology to be the middle section dividing those two sections?

Jeanie Austin: Yeah, definitely. I did that with a lot of intention. I think we are in this moment at which there is about to be a profound shift around technology, and that it could really go either way. The way it’s going right now is towards restricting access. In the last couple of years, there’s been a few companies that have popped up that advertise their services to carceral facilities as able to take physical mail, open it, scan it so it’s digitized, and then provide either that digitized scan to an incarcerated person on a kiosk or a tablet that they are likely paying a lot of money to access or to send that scan to the prison where it’s been printed out on a different piece of paper and handed to the person who’s incarcerated. This is something that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has done in a few facilities for awhile, but these companies are a little bit new in that part of how they advertise themselves to carceral facilities is their ability to surveil at scale everything that’s coming in: keyword tracking, AI, all kinds of algorithmic analysis. What that means is that the family members of people who are incarcerated are being swept up in this giant dragnet of surveillance, if we take the companies at their word, that their programs actually work. What it means for incarcerated people is that they do not get to hold the same piece of paper as someone that they love, that they care about, has held. This is being legitimatized through a, at times very likely real, at times likely fear-mongering, idea that people are slipping drugs through the mail or through books.

For instance, one of these companies called Smart Communications is based in Florida, and the Pennsylvania system was the first system that went to this company. So to write to someone incarcerated in Pennsylvania, people would have to write to Florida, wait for their letter to get there, wait for the material to get scanned, wait for it to get sent to the person that they cared about, and then the scans would be really sloppy, they weren’t great. Pennsylvania, when they went into this contract with Smart Communications, said it was because fentanyl was coming through the mail, and that a number of CO’s had been sick due to the level of fentanyl that they’d encountered. There are some prominent researchers that say that that’s very unlikely, that they would be so sick that they would have to be hospitalized.

Pennsylvania also tried in this moment to ban any access to physical books, met a lot of resistance from communities that had been impacted by incarceration and from amazing groups like Books to Prisoners, and now people can get access to books, although it’s a multi-step process. When Pennsylvania said there would be no access to physical books, they basically were saying we’re going only provide access to eResources, so things through the tablets. Again, the tablets tend to be very expensive, or content on them tends to be very expensive to access. [Eldon] Ray James wrote an article a couple of years ago about people being charged 5 cents a minute to read, incarcerated people’s wages are pitiful. People might make, if they’ve got a good wage, a dollar an hour. So 5 cents a minute to read is basically reinforcing illiteracy, reinforcing the dehumanization of people who are incarcerated. Even in instances where people have had access to eResources through tablets for free, those eResources have primarily been things in the public domain. And if you think about 1927, I think that’s where we were at public domain now, and before, and to the publishing industry, you might assume that many of those materials are fairly blatantly racist, but even if they are not, that’s a big presumption, it’s very unlikely that the majority of materials that are in the public domain have much relevance for people who are seeking information about job development, seeking stories that reflect their lives in 2022.

Libraries have a real role in advocating for models where people have access to eResources for free through the tablets, potentially public library eResources, if public libraries will acknowledge that people who are incarcerated are their patrons.

And we have a stake in this because of our professional ethics about . Information access. While there has to be some compromise in working with facilities, this is a compromise that is just too far, I think, for us to stand as a profession.

Steve Thomas: I would think that if all of the stuff that they’re reading is electronic, that’s also much easier to track what they’re reading as well and keep records of all that, and they probably like that as well.

Jeanie Austin: Yeah. And unfortunately, there’ve been some instances in which eResources providers have marketed themselves to jails and prisons as an alternative to physical books. Penn America recently came out with this too, that when we’re thinking about access to eResources, we need to supplement and not supplant physical books for so many reasons, some of them just being around like eResources licensing and like how long do you wait to get access to something? And how much does it increase the chance of getting access if there’s both electronic materials that are available and physical materials.

In addition, just to pause, a tablet that is used by a person who’s incarcerated is nothing like a tablet that exists on the outside. It’s extremely low function, but even that low functioning device can do things like allow someone to email their family members, at cost typically. And those are often used as punishment, they can easily be taken away, and it can be justified. If someone just moved to administrative segregation, which is solitary, they can be justified that a tablet might be used as a weapon.

If you’re interested in what prison tech looks like, there is a video by a British tech collector on YouTube, and if I can’t remember the name of it right now, but I think if you just type in “prison tech,” you’d get to it. It really shows the design of the technology as well as its lack of functionality.

Steve Thomas: So we talked a little bit before about some direct service options. What are some indirect service options that libraries provide for their incarcerated patrons?

Jeanie Austin: I touched on reference by mail earlier, which is where people who are incarcerated can mail their requests to a library and then get an authoritative response information packet assembled by the library and mailed back to them, and these services are pretty much the internet for people who are incarcerated.

There’s a growing network of people who are doing that, and it’s really exciting. The most robust network right now is in Missouri, where there are four different libraries that are providing reference by mail to people who are incarcerated in Missouri. I encourage people to reach out to New York Public Libraries Correctional Services Department if they are interested in starting a reference by mail program. They’ve developed all kinds of amazing onboarding material to help people get started in doing this work.

Another indirect service that’s fairly easy is working with the prison educational staff or librarians to identify areas of interest that people have, who are incarcerated, and then to set aside books that are weeded from the collection that meet that criteria to donate to prison libraries or jail libraries. There’s almost always a need for more materials.

A few years ago, a report was put out that for the entire state of Illinois, the amount of budget for prison libraries was $600. It’s likely that some money was being skimmed out of commissary income to go to library materials, but there was no infrastructural support. So there’s a real area of need for materials.

There’s also the option of just doing public programming. Denver Public did an amazing program about policing, which is obviously related to incarceration, just about, how do you make decisions about when to call the police? What other kinds of resources exist in my area that I may not be aware of that I could turn to instead? Libraries have done programs where they’ve brought in formerly incarcerated authors, there’s plenty of films about incarceration, one of my favorites is The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, which is beautiful. I don’t know that most libraries would show, it’s maybe a little bit too artsy, but it’s really a wonderful film.

And I could go on with other examples, a final one I’ll stop with is, in some way, supporting the work of a local Books to prisoners group. I work with Books to Prisoners a lot. They’re groups that do what’s in the name, provide books to incarcerated people for free, and some of them have been running since the seventies. They’re often volunteer run, and they’re the ones who’ve been meeting this gap that professionally we’ve failed to address.

Steve Thomas: Well, and hopefully with your book that we can help to address. One last thing I wanted to talk about is we’ve talked about a lot of services for people who are in facilities, but once they’re out, I think we mentioned this briefly, but they often have trouble with re-entry of getting back into the world. So what kind of services and programs can libraries help with that meet those challenges?

Jeanie Austin: The demands of probation and parole supervised release are expensive and at times arbitrary, but really common demands include things like getting housing and getting a job. For some people, even the act of getting ID if they’ve been incarcerated and you don’t have a network of support from outside, then where are there papers that even show who they are?

So there some things that libraries can do that are really low cost to the library to reduce barriers. Like if people can use their jail or prison issued ID to get a library card instead of having to get identification. San Francisco tends to be smoother than some other places, as far as reducing barriers to basic things like that, but even here, it can take hours and hours to get identification.

Beyond that, the demands of supervised release often fit with kinds of library programs that are already happening. So, like I mentioned with programs that could happen inside of a facility, things like job development, things like even having a basic resource on reentry services that are available in the community. So where is transitional housing? I don’t want to overstate the kind of social work role with that, but I think there’s a difference between just having information available and being a social worker, right? We are information workers and we are capable of having that type of information. I also think it’s possible for librarians to modify existing programs that might be relevant to incarceration, to reentry, to better support people who have experienced that and to better acknowledge the impact of incarceration on our society.

So things like saying, it’s a job development kind of workshop or program saying things like if you have a criminal conviction or a gap in your resume due to incarceration, here are some strategies for addressing that in an interview. It can be brief, it can be quick, and it will have a major impact because while some people will voluntarily talk about being incarcerated and their experiences, others are very unlikely to, and if we don’t acknowledge the scale of incarceration in the programming that we’re doing, we’re encouraging that stigma to persist.

Steve Thomas: If staff are wanting to start these services, do you have advice for them when they’re speaking to their administration about getting them onboard?

Jeanie Austin: Yeah we are really fortunate here in San Francisco that our city librarian, Michael Lambert is incredibly supportive of our program. And I think one of the easiest ways of getting Admin on board is to talk about things like the fact that, especially if you’re talking about local jail services, but even if you’re talking about prison services, people will be released from jail and prison, not everyone, but many, many people, and the library is a resource for them when they’re being released and it can be a resource for them while they’re incarcerated as a way of facilitating that release. And I think that Admin are often, how do we make this philosophical shift where we say incarcerated people are library patrons. If not now, then in the future.

And I think it’s also possible to go beyond that and to think about people who otherwise don’t have access to information. So it really depends on the Admin that you’re working with. They might be interested in things like statistics, demographics, et cetera. There’s a clear tie in with the EDI work that that many library systems are doing now. This is obviously social justice. Even bringing in the testimony of people who have been incarcerated about the value that libraries had for them.

I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about something that we’re working on here at San Francisco, which I hope will actually ease future librarians in making these types of arguments. We’ve recently been awarded a sizable grant from the Mellon Foundation, thank you, Mellon, to do further research on existing library services for people who are incarcerated. So over the next couple of years, we’re going to be working with ALA to increase services as much as we can.

One of the things we’ll do here at SFPL is create a digital map that will be available online of where library services are happening for incarcerated people, hopefully both within prisons and from outside libraries, we’re still really early in this, so forgive me. And what that map will allow people to do is to look at other library systems, the kinds of services that they provide and to identify library systems that are most like their own. A rural library system might look at what we’re doing here in San Francisco and say it’s only possible because you’re like a giant well- funded urban library system, but our maps will be able to show that there are rule libraries that are working directly with local jails to make sure that people have access to library materials, and they’re getting library cards in their release. And I think when we can make those arguments in a way that is more informed, that we’ll all be better supported in providing these services.

The other thing that we’re going to do here at SFPL is create a virtual training series, we’ll probably start late this year or early next, that addresses different topics about library services and incarceration, and that will be virtual and asynchronous so that people are able to bring that information into their own library work and develop their skills. We’re really, really excited about it. And we’re working with ALA to see if we can offer continuing education credits for some of those courses or for some people who participate in them as a way of helping to justify attending the course, in whatever way that happens, to administration.

Steve Thomas: That’s fantastic. I’m glad this issue is finally getting talked about in the profession, I’m glad it’s being worked on now. I’m glad you’re a part of that. Tracie [Hall] is great so she’ll be great working with that. So, thank you, Jeanie, so much for coming on the show to talk about this very important issue and for writing the book, which again is called Library Services and Incarceration: Recognizing Barriers, Strengthening Access. It’s a very good read and good coverage of this issue, and I hope it encourages more conversation about this.

Jeanie Austin: Thanks for having me, Steve.