At HMP Rye Hill the library is a popular place where prisoners can borrow books, DVDs, audiobooks, or read the daily newspapers. It is open four days a week and is staffed by a professional librarian who is helped by prisoner library assistants.
The HMP Rye Hill library (which is owned and run by The Manchester College) is structured to be as much like a normal branch library as possible. Effective links have been established with local libraries to provide additional resources to ensure that prisoners can access the same service offered to the general public including the ability to order specific titles by request.
All prisoners are able to access the library twice per week with trolley service available in the Care & Segregation Unit and Healthcare.
Educational resources are available on an increasing basis to support Learning & Skills across the establishment. There is a reading group that meets monthly to discuss the latest book.
Prisoners can borrow books and audiobooks for three weeks at a time, DVDs for one week. The library holds the usual collection of materials - reference books, non-fiction books, large print, fiction books and audiobooks - but is naturally tailored to meet the specific needs of the prison population. To this end the library stocks a range of foreign language materials, and has a collection of prison law information and the standard legal reference works that all prison libraries must stock. A book rental service to cater specifically to the needs of Foreign Nationals is in operation.
The library is often the only resource within a prison for prisoners to continue their informal independent learning; especially those who do not feel that full-time education would suit them. As such, the library endeavours to provide a diverse range of material. There is a computer where they can access Encyclopaedia Britannica for their own research.
The library is the central access point for prison law information, and for leaflets and booklets providing information on Criminal Cases Review Commissions, or the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.
We positively encourage prisoners who have previously lacked confidence in their reading ability to use the library by providing a collection of adult literacy material. Quick Reads (sometimes called 'easy reading') are available. Quick Reads amend existing titles by authors such as Stephen King and John Grisham by rewriting them using a limited and simpler vocabulary. Other non-fiction adult literacy titles are also stocked to encourage reading.