Site Index | CDE Offices | Staff Directory


* * CDE will be closed on Monday, January 21 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. * *

Prison Libraries

The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Development unit serves over 13,000 adult offenders in 19 Department of Corrections facilities statewide, and 900 residents in 11 Division of Youth Services facilities statewide.

In keeping with the public library model of patron services, our library collections represent broad and varied points of view in a variety of accessible formats. Our libraries also offer a variety of public library-style programs ranging from book clubs and Spanish classes to resumé writing and literacy.

The Colorado correctional libraries hold intellectual freedom and the Prisoner’s Right to Read in uniquely creative tension with the demands of security in a sometimes volatile environment.

The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Development unit and the staff of the correctional facility libraries believe that libraries have the power to change the world “one reader at a time.” Many of us find prisoners to be the most appreciative and enthusiastic library users we’ve ever worked with, and serving them to be the most gratifying work we’ve ever done.

Please visit the Institutional Library Development page for information about our other activities and our Staff page for profiles of the Institutional Library Development team.

Re-entry and Recidivism

Reflective of the prison population nationwide, 97% of Colorado’s incarcerated offenders will eventually be released. Also reflective of national trends, over 50% these individuals will return to prison within five years. This degree of recidivism produces devastating social consequences for families, victims, and offenders themselves, and entails a more than three-quarters of a billion dollar annual price tag for Colorado taxpayers.

Successful reentry means never returning to prison. It depends on numerous interrelated factors, including education, housing, finding employment, staying healthy, and reconnecting with family and friends. Colorado correctional libraries contribute to reducing recidivism by:

  • Providing current, quality recreational and information reading materials, music, and video recordings that help offenders constructively manage their leisure time and help them stay connected to events and cultural trends in the outside world.
  • Providing materials and programs on specific reentry subjects, like interview skills, parenting, getting a driver’s license, personal finance, and eating healthily on a budget.
  • Offering the Read to the Children program at every Department of Corrections facility, which helps offenders stay involved in their children’s lives by encouraging their children to read.
  • Giving offenders a wide range of choices, which allows them to exercise good decision-making and to explore previously unimagined possibilities and opportunities for themselves.

Re-entry Program

Parenting from Prison - for Children of Offenders

RTC Photo

Jobs in Colorado Correctional Libraries

Working in Prison


Go to: Correctional Librarian Resources | Institutional Library Development | Staff

Quick Links


Contact Us

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Contact CDE

CDE Hours
Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See also: Licensing Hours

Educator Licensing 

WCC Access