Library gives gift of reading to Juvenile Detention Center - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Library gives gift of reading to Juvenile Detention Center

Until recently at the Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center, there wasn't much for kids to read, except for a few magazines that were not all that popular. But now, thanks to donations from the Memphis Library, that's changed.

In the middle of concrete lined hallways with steel doors, there is now a place where teens can escape without ever leaving.

"Our roll here is to rehabilitate children. Reading enriches your life and how you view life, and part of rehabilitation is to give them dreams, something to think about," administrator Rick Powell said.

The kids who come to the Center have a lot of time to think. The average stay for the 10,000 kids who come through each year is 14 days.

With a "living room" setting, the reading room is inviting to children at the center.  In fact, they are only allowed to sit on the couches there while they are reading.

Sherman Dixon is a volunteer who helped find the books teens would be interested in. The selection includes books on sports for boys, and books on fashion for girls, and various novels.

Dixon said his goal was for the books to fly off the shelves and literally disappear. If teens find books they like, they can keep them.

There's no school program for kids at the Detention Center to attend right now, but administrators tell us they are working with schools to come up with some classes.


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