Skip to main content
Alameda County Library

Social Justice Services: Adult & Juvenile Jail Services

Jail Services

ADULTS: Alameda County Library provides library service to inmates in the county jails.  Over 600,000 books are circulated within the two jails in Alameda County: Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and Glenn Dyer Jail in Oakland. Over 75% of the materials circulated each year are donated by members of the community. Bestsellers, westerns, poetry, African-American fiction and non-fiction as well as books focused on self-help and recovery are all very popular.

Alameda County Library also provides one-to-one and small group literacy instruction to adult English-speaking Alameda County inmates who read and write below the 8th grade level. Conservative national statistics suggest that 2/3 of inmates in this country don’t read and write well enough to manage in their daily lives.These people are released into our communities without the skills to carry out everyday tasks that most of us take for granted, like reading a bus schedule or prescription label, filling out a job application, using a phone book, or writing a note to the teacher of a school-aged child.

     The simple fact: inmates who can read and write have a greater chance of staying out of trouble when they get out of jail.

     We provide inmates with tangible skills to prepare them for life after jail.


To get help from the 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. After receiving an inmate request, jail staff will evaluate the appropriateness of the inmate for one-to-one tutoring. Jail Tutoring Program staff also performs preliminary testing to screen the inmate for literacy tutoring.

Literacy students in jail are just like any other literacy student. They have, first and foremost, displayed a great deal of courage in the decision to improve their life by improving their reading and writing skills.Our literacy students may be male or female, 18 or 65. They may be from a number of different ethnic backgrounds. They may have had several years of schooling without success, or may have never gone to school. But one thing is sure – all of our students want to learn to read and write better. And their success in this journey will have a direct impact on their ability to succeed after release from jail.