The Betty Frandsen Library at the John A. Davis Juvenile Hall opened its doors to residents on November 1, 2006 with the mission to promote a love of literature and reading, support the school curriculum, and encourage the development of a lifelong habit of self-directed learning. The library is named after Betty Frandsen, founder of a bedtime reading program called the Late Show Readers. Volunteers come to the living units and read stories over the intercom to the residents after lights out.
Library staff conducts an introductory class for incoming residents to teach them how to search the catalog and request materials. Teens from each living unit visit the library once a week to learn how the library is organized and if time permits, play a fun, lightly competitive game to reinforce what they have learned. The rest of the visit is devoted to exploring the collection and checking out books.
Staff at the Juvenile Hall Library also schedules author visits and art sessions with the teens, encourages them to participate in the annual summer reading program, researches reference requests, recommends good reads, and issues Contra Costa Library cards to all incoming residents. Many of the teens here repeatedly state that they never read an entire book until they used the library at Juvenile Hall. Many have also said they thought they hated reading until they discovered all the books that speak to their experiences and involve subjects that are geared towards their interests. These teens often become some of the most avid users of the library.
Learn more about the Juvenile Hall Library by viewing a short video.
How To Help
- Are you interested in working with at-risk teens? Volunteers are now needed for Contra Costa County Library's outreach program Technology for Teens in Transition (T3). T3 volunteers work one-on-one with youth incarcerated in Juvenile Hall, using the Internet for both school projects and general surfing. If you would like more information about this program, please call us at 925-957-2704.
- Support the library’s collection by purchasing titles from our Amazon Wish List.
- Become a member of the Late Show Readers!
- Shop at the Hall Closet, a thrift store run by the Juvenile Hall Auxiliary, a small non-profit volunteer organization designed to assist at-risk youth.
- Make a Donation