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On Friday 10 June 2022 the School of Education held an online prison library symposium. The event was facilitated by Dr Jayne Finlay and Dr Jessica Bates from the School of Education, and independent researcher, Dr Susannah Hanlon.

The symposium was an opportunity to share findings from the Review of Prison Libraries in Ireland and to hear more about prison library practice and research both globally and across the island of Ireland. The event was attended by over 60 people from across Ireland, the UK, wider Europe, North and South America and Australia.

The full programme of the symposium can be accessed here: [attached PDF]


  • Welcome and overview of the symposium
  • Global Perspectives of Prison Library Services
    Lisa Krolak, Chief Librarian of the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, discusses her global research on prison library services.
  • IFLA Guidelines on Library Services for Prisoners
    Dr Jane Garner, Lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Australia, discusses the approach to developing IFLA’s revised Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners.
  • Review of Prison Libraries in Ireland
    Hear about the recent review of prison library services in Ireland. This session is introduced by Dr Stuart Hamilton, Head of Libraries Development at the Local Government Management Agency, Ireland. Dr Jayne Finlay, Dr Jessica Bates and Dr Susannah Hanlon then share more about their approach to undertaking the review.
  • Dublin Prison Library Service
    Rachel Lacey, Senior Librarian in Dublin City Libraries, offers an insight into the Dublin Prison Library Service.
  • The Reader Organisation: Shared Reading in Prisons
    Lizzie Dass, Teaching and Learning Leader at the Reader Organisation, discusses the work of the Reader Organisation in criminal justice settings.
  • Reading and Writing for Enjoyment in Prison
    Rebecca Perry, Head of Adult Literacy at the National Literacy Trust discusses the various initiatives run as part of their criminal justice work across the UK.
  • Libraries and their Importance in Prison Literacy: A Shannon Trust ex Mentor’s Experience
    Pank Sethi, a Trustee on the Board of Shannon Trust, shares his own experience of being a Turning Pages mentor while in prison.
  • Lived Experiences of Libraries and Learning in Prison
    Stephen Keogh, who is currently finishing his sentence at Shelton Abbey Open Prison in Ireland, shares his experience of accessing library services and learning opportunities while in prison.
  • Staff Experiences of Providing Prison library Services in the UK and Ireland
    Dr Jayne Finlay, Researcher in the School of Education at Ulster University, discusses her PhD research on staff experiences of providing prison library services in the UK and Ireland.
  • Education and Libraries in Prison
    Cormac Behan, Lecturer in Criminology at Technological University Dublin, shares about the vital role of education and library provision in prisons.