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Books helping encourage literature and education in Pima County’s Juvenile Detention Center

At the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center, reading is part of the culture.
Posted at 6:36 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 11:10:40-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — At the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center, reading is part of the culture.

Stephanie Mitchell, the librarian residence, says “libraries in juvenile detention facilities are increasingly rare.”

She adds, “what we’re doing is providing a library and literacy program that just so happens to be at this location.”

It’s part of the Pima County library branches.

Kids ages 8 to 18 who are in the juvenile detention center can make their way to the library where the atmosphere is set up in a self-service environment.

Mitchell says, “the collection here is curated and especially here curated for this very narrow population.”

Just like a regular library, when one book comes in, another is taken out.

Programing and training supervisor Shannon Kinne says, “reading is therapeutic. Kids really enjoy just grabbing a good book and having time to themselves to really divulge into literature. And educational as well.”

She adds, “in their time here they tend to really focus on where do I go from here, transition is important, so how can I incorporate the library into my future.”

With the power of books, kids are able to think about what their life will look like once they leave the detention center.

The cool thing about the set up is that once a kid leaves, they are able to pick one of six books to take home and keep forever.


Heidi Alagha is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Heidi spent 5 years as the morning anchor in Waco where she was named the best anchor team by the Texas Associated Press. Share your story ideas and important issues with Heidi by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.