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Alameda County Library

The Nov 12 Press Release from AC HCSA announced a pause to the reopening of additional activities and mentioned that Alameda County may move back to a more restrictive tier. As of today, we are determining what this means for our Library reopening plan. Read more

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Social Justice Services: Home

General Info

Social Justice Services provides library materials, services, and programming to populations and communities not traditionally represented in brick and mortar libraries.

phone iconPhone: (510) 745-1448
Social Justice Services Manager: Lisa Harris

Jail Tutoring

We are seeking volunteer tutors that are flexible, patient, and caring who believe they have as much to learn as to teach. We ask that prospective volunteers not seek to promote any social, political or religious platform within the jail. Prospective volunteer jail tutors are screened by our staff, and, if invited to join the program, must participate in the required combination of online training and classroom orientation. This includes training in basic literacy instructional theory and technique, a substantial orientation to the jail environment, and an in-depth discussion of the rules for volunteers who work in a jail. If you would like to become a volunteer Jail tutor, please call (510) 745-1490.

Start With A Story Volunteers

Volunteers read stories to children, ages 0-8 years, who visit the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Volunteers also supervise the distribution of books to children who visit the jail. We are asking for a minimum time commitment of 2 hours a week.

Each volunteer will be required to complete a site security clearance form, the Sheriff’s Department required check of any active warrants. We welcome youth volunteers, but please note that all volunteers under the age of 18 will be required to have a parental permission slip signed by a parent or guardian and on file with our program before they begin volunteering. If you would like to volunteer with Start with a Story, please call (510) 745-1486.

You may also contact Social Justice Services online to learn more about these opportunities. 

Inmates who can read and write have a greater chance of staying out of trouble when they get out of jail. We provide inmates at the Santa Rita Jail with tangible skills to prepare them for life after jail. Our library service provides over 600,000 books to inmates, with over 75% of the materials coming from donations. To donate items contact our office directly at (510) 745-1485.

With the support of volunteers, the Reading for Life Program provides inmates at the Santa Rita Jail provides tutoring to inmates who read and write below the 8th-grade level, giving them tangible literacy skills to prepare them for life after jail.  To get help from the Reading for Life Jail Tutoring Program, all an inmate needs to do is ask. If a deputy or other jail employee believes that an inmate may need our service, but is hesitant to ask, he or she may encourage the inmate to apply. If you would like to become a volunteer Jail tutor, please call (510) 745-1490.


We have fully equipped library spaces for the young people detained at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center and Camp Wilmont Sweeney. All detained youth have access to library materials, services, and programs through these libraries. Additionally, our library staff create post-release connections to community-based resources to assist in their transition out of custody. 


Start with a Story delivers storytimes, free books, and family literacy activities to children, ages 1-16 years old, who visit at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Start with a Story is a gratifying way to affect the lives of very appreciative children. Children are often relegated to many long hours – sometimes an entire day – of waiting at the jail for a brief visit to an incarcerated parent or guardian. Start with a Story offers these children what we believe is the most precious of all opportunities: the chance to escape inside a good book. If you would like to volunteer with Start with a Story, please call (510) 745-1486.


Every summer, many children face food insecurity without access to free lunches provided by the school. The Lunch at the Library program helps to provide healthy lunchtime meals to children who come to our libraries with food insecurity. In partnership with the USDA Summer Food Service Program, the California Library Association, and the Summer Meal Coalition the served meals reduce hunger and help keep children healthy and ready to learn when they return to their classrooms in the fall. 

No cost meals are available in the summer at the Newark, San Lorenzo, and Union City Libraries. The service is coordinated with the school district's summer school programs. Meals are only for children 18 years or younger, and no proof of need is asked for or required. Disabled adults who are enrolled in an educational program may also receive a meal. 

Social Justice Reads