Airway Heights Correction Center Library is starting its 6th Library Reads Program. We started this program one year ago with John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row”. After that we read “Sky Fisherman” by Craig Lesley, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.
This program has been very exciting and I am amazed at the way the guys get into the books, whether they like it or not. Every discussion has been exhilarating for the entire group. No matter how the inmates feel about a given book, the author has accomplished his or her goal. The books have them thinking about what is written and how it is written, not just if they like it or not.
As we go into 2013 we are changing modes a little and our book in January will be “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. This book is really pumping up the group. I may have to increase the number of discussion groups to accommodate the interest in this program or try to find a different place to hold it. I do not want to limit who can be involved in the discussions because this program is so positive. It is good for the inmates here at Airway Heights, and for me, and good for the communities the inmates will release into.
This program is so much more than a reading group. The inmates are having a positive experience and learning social behavior skills as well. I love to read and I love sharing my interest in reading. I see inmates discussing books at the tables in the library now and helping each other pick out books to read. “The Hunger Games” is bringing in faces I have not had in the group before and increasing the interest in reading. I am very excited to see so many people reading for the pure joy of reading.