Thursday, November 10, 2016

BadgerLink Outreach: Stanley Correctional Institution

On October 19th, I had the opportunity to represent BadgerLink at the Stanley Correctional Institution Employment and Resource Fair in Stanley, WI. The Employment and Resource Fair is an effort by the Stanley Correctional Institute to reduce recidivism rates and encourage a successful return to the community for inmates. Organizations attending represented workforce development boards, education organizations, and public resources. Stanley Correctional Institute plans to host similar opportunities for inmates every one to two years.

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Stanley Correctional Institution mural

I talked with more than 250 inmates to promote the educational and lifelong learning resources in BadgerLink that upon release, can help build job skills. In addition to BadgerLink resources, I also encouraged inmates to take advantage of the amazing resources available at their local public libraries, like books and media, local information.

Inmates were curious about BadgerLink resources, especially Learning Express Library, our newspaper and magazine collections, and EBSCO’s Auto Repair Reference Center. Most said they hadn’t heard about BadgerLink previously, but planned to use it once they were released. Nearly all were surprised to hear that Wisconsin is using state and federal funds to provide BadgerLink to all Wisconsin residents.

Over the past few years the BadgerLink team has increased outreach to staff at the Department of Corrections (DOC). While most correctional facilities don’t allow inmates direct access to computers or the internet, BadgerLink resources can still be used by educators in jails and prisons and is an invaluable resource for skill building and research upon an inmate’s release. Connecting with new audiences helps us better understand the needs of the communities we serve. We welcome the chance to interact with and learn how to best serve all Wisconsin residents.

Please contact the BadgerLink team with any questions, and subscribe to our email lists for BadgerLink updates and training reminders.

Written by:
Ben Miller, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning