Incarcerated Services Librarian Melody Kinnamon fervently believes Library services are for all Johnson County residents, including incarcerated individuals who can’t visit the branches. This year, Johnson County Library has expanded its outreach to Johnson County Corrections Department facilities on the New Century, KS, campus. Library staffers also assist Adult Residential Center clients serving alternative work-release sentences, and clients receiving intensive substance abuse treatment at the Therapeutic Community Center.
Kinnamon and other members of the Library’s incarcerated services team resumed in-person visits to the campus in April 2021. They’ve seen an uptick in the number of Library cards issued, called “justice cards.” And a pleasant Library space at the Adult Residential Center has been enhanced with additional books and more office hours. “The justice cards are Johnson County Library cards that are issued to the Corrections Department clients who reside within that system,” Kinnamon explained. “We are focusing more on this population and serving their specific needs better. I can see [the initiative] continuing to grow.” Kinnamon says about 100 new justice cards were issued in 2021, an increase over 2020. Clients can continue to use them at Johnson County Library locations even when they no longer reside at Corrections facilities.