Prison Librarian

Maintain a prison library and inspire inmates through books.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $84,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Prison Librarians do?

As a Prison Librarian, you free inmates from their own mental prisons through the power of reading. By introducing them to the world of the printed page, Prison Librarians open the doors to reform, education, and creativity. The job is about more than just shelving books. It’s a way to help others thrive in a world that drove them to the edge.

On paper, the tasks of a Prison Librarian mirror those of any Librarian. Your patrons need library cards, and you certainly need an efficient checkout system. Ordering new books, shelving returned books, and filing new library cards constitute the daily office life of a Prison Librarian.

In practice, your job differs from the day-to-day life of a Public Librarian. Inmates may not want to come into the library if they’ve never visited one before. Your first order of business is getting people through the front door.

Once they pick up the right book, they’re hooked. When someone catches the reading fever, you need to fan the flames. A large part of your daily job involves talking with your patrons and recommending books that will really spark their interest.

In other situations, you may help an inmate research laws relating to his or her court case. Whatever the subject, you know exactly where to look, and you always feed your patrons’ thirst for knowledge, self-improvement, and peace of mind. Your kingdom is a realm of fiction and self-help books just waiting for someone to turn that first page.

Should I be a Prison Librarian?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Principal Librarian

    How to become a Prison Librarian

    Most Prison Librarians have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aabj9a&chl=||associate%27s+%282%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2813%25%29|master%27s+%2884%25%29|doctorate+%281%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,84
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