« Back to Civic & Community Engagement

Rikers Island Standing Library at EMTC Jail

New York Public Library

Problem Statement

At the Eric M. Taylor Center (EMTC) jail on Rikers Island, library service was limited to two housing areas twice a month and comprised of a small collection of reading material on a book cart. There are 24 housing areas in EMTC with a population of 1,300 inmates. Inmates in 22 housing areas have no access to general library service of any kind.


New York Public Library Correctional Services staff coordinated with the Department of Corrections, Pratt Library School interns, and Brooklyn Public Library to create a 2,000 volume weekly standing library service at EMTC jail for male adult and teen inmates.


As a result of this innovation, library service has increased seven-fold from two housing units to 14. Each week between 60 and 90 inmates participate in the unique library program.