Chicago: “A Librarian’s Dream Helps Turn a Waiting Area at Cook County Jail Into an Educational Nook for Children Who Visit the Incarcerated”
From the Chicago Tribune:
When 2-year-old K.D. walked with his aunt inside the waiting area of the Maximum Security Division at Cook County Jail to visit his father, he smiled.
Unlike all the other times his aunt had brought him to the jail, this time, colorful furniture, dozens of books, toys and a vivid mural adorned the space where he typically — and anxiously — waits until an officer escorts him to see his father, who is incarcerated and awaiting trial.
His smile was thanks to the memory of Becca Ruidl, a librarian with the Chicago Public Library who died of COVID-19 in March at age 30. Her dream was to provide a literacy space for children of the incarcerated at the jail, where many children of color tend to spend time while visiting their loved ones, said Elizabeth McChesney, Ruidl’s friend and former boss.
On Dec. 13, an early literacy play space was inaugurated at the jail’s Maximum Security Division thanks to McChesney’s commitment to honor Ruidl’s legacy. McChesney galvanized other leaders who supported the vision to change the narrative of children experiencing trauma and providing them with learning opportunities.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.