Is there a new approach that works to turn juvenile offenders around? Yes - it is the Fairfax County Public Library's Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) program. According to FCPL Program Manager, Ted Kavich, CLTL uses the power of literature to transform troubled youth through reading and group discussion.
"Changing Lives Through Literature is an alternative sentencing option for juvenile offenders in Fairfax County," said Kavich. The library, working with the Juvenile Court staff, form groups of a dozen teens each (groups are divided by gender) along with a facilitator and a court officer for a multi-week program of writing, reading, and discussion of books specifically selected because they deal with topics and situations young offenders can relate to.
"The program’s participants benefit from being exposed to new points of view, discussions of consequences and responsibility, and the wisdom of a skilled facilitator/teacher," Kavich said.
The results of CLTL, based on several recidivism studies, show it to be a resounding success.
To help expand the program, the Friends of Richard Byrd Library in Springfield will donate the funds they raise at their next used book sale on May 31 - June 3 to CLTL. The library is located at 5270 Commerce Street in Springfield.
"Think about it: where else besides the Friends sale can you be green by recycling books, be thrifty because ‘like-new’ books cost $1 to $2, and reduce crime," said Chris Petersen, president of the Friends of the Richard Byrd Library.
*Thursday, May 31, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Friends Members Only; 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. General Public
*Friday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. General Public
*Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General Public
*Sunday, June 3, noon to 3 p.m. – Bag Sale