Norfolk Jail Asking for Books for Inmates

By: Karen Hopkins

The Norfolk City Jail’s library needs at least one thousand books to give inmates a better chance of finding inspiration behind bars.

Sheriff Bob McCabe is asking the public to donate only paperback books to help close the gap.

“Certain books that they have are old and outdated,” said inmate Brian Gatling. “It gives us something to occupy our time inside the jail; it keeps guys out of trouble by reading books.”

The goal is to allow each inmate to check out two books, but right now there aren’t enough books to go around.

Jail library director Dan Provance explained they need more donations to help replace old or damaged material. Just like any library, inmates are fined for not returning or damaging books.

Employees screen all donated paperback books to make sure they are in good condition and do not contain any sexually explicit or violent material.

In particular, Provance hopes people will donate educational books or nonfiction biographies of people who have risen above struggles.

“It helps the inmates be in a positive, instead of negative situation while they’re here in the jail. We would appreciate inspirational books that would help them out,”  Library director Provance said.

If you would like to donate paperback books to the Norfolk City Jail, you can drop them off at the Public Safety building’s visitation room (old General District Court) at 811 E. City Hall Avenue.

Hard copy books will not be accepted for security reasons.