TOAJfinal6914lgTales of a Jailhouse Librarian: Challenging the Juvenile Justice System One Book at a Time gives faces to the growing national conversation—educate, don’t incarcerate. Instead, of reading facts and figures in a newspapers, Marybeth Zeman gives the readers a glimpse of the everyday lives of incarcerated youth.

The author, a teacher for 30 years, became the transitional counselor in the school program for incarcerated youth at the Nassau County Jail in 2010.

She took an unused Masters degree in Library Science, a love of reading and a ragtag collection of donated DC Comics from a friend and started a library.

Marybeth became what Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times described as “the ‘book-lady’ who brought books to a juvenile detention center and used them to try to build kids up again.”

Pushing a cart around the jail ever since, she’s been peddling a message on the outside that’s loud and clear literacy programs can help kids stay out of jail.

Final Nominee For Foreword Review
Indie Fab Book of the Year 2014
Social Sciences
Young Adult Non-Fiction



Misericordia University
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
National Library Week Author Series

Alumni Author Event

7th Annual DLIS Symposium
Saturday April 18, 2015
St John’s University School of Library Science

Articles of Interest

The New York Times
The Opinion Pages: On Common Ground
Nicholas Kristof
Kids Behind Bars
June 28, 2014

Long Island Newsday
“Jailhouse Librarian” tries to inspire juveniles with literature
Zack Dowdy
June 28, 2014

School Library Journal
Interview: “Tales of a Jailhouse Librarian”
Marybeth Zeman
Interview by Alicia Eames
May 2014

Social Justice/Advocacy Award 2015

Article in the St John’s University Torch


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