York County Libraries won a statewide award last week for the Beyond Our Walls: Read Me a Story program aimed at connecting incarcerated parents with their children through reading.

The 2019 Best Practices Award for Family/Multi-generational Programming was awarded at last week's Pennsylvania Library Association Conference in Erie, according to a York County news release. The program allows incarcerated parents in York County Prison to teach their children literary skills through voice recordings.

“The voice recording bridges an emotional gap, connecting parent to child beyond the prison walls that divide them,” said Robert F. Lambert, president of York County Libraries.

The program works by allowing a limited number of inmates to choose children's literature and record themselves reading for their children. The recordings and library resources are then mailed to their children for their own educational purposes.

The effort is based on studies that have shown maintaining connections with family members can ease incarcerated parents' transition back into society as well as reduce recidivism rates.

The program, which is on its third year, has served more than 330 county inmates, the release states.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.

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