At HMP Altcourse the library is a popular place where prisoners can borrow books or
story-tapes, or read magazines and newspapers. It is staffed by a professional librarian
who is helped by two prisoner library assistants. The library opens five days a week and
The HMP Altcourse library is owned and run by The Manchester College. It is arranged to be as much like a normal branch library as possible. All prisoners have access to the library at least twice per week, where they can borrow books and story-tapes for two weeks at a time. The library holds the usual collection of materials - reference books, non-fiction books, fiction books as well as the story tapes - but is naturally tailored to meet the specific needs of the prison population. To this end the library stocks a range of foreign language materials, including magazines and has a large collection of prison law information and the standard legal reference works that all prison libraries must stock. We also have access to Braille and Moon materials.
The library is often the only resource within a prison for prisoners to continue their informal independent learning, especially those who do not feel that full-time education would suit them. The library is the central access point for prison law information, and for leaflets and booklets such as Criminal Cases Review Commissions, or the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.
We positively encourage prisoners who have previously lacked confidence in their reading ability by providing a wide ranging collection of adult literacy materials, sometimes called 'easy reading', where existing titles by authors such as Stephen King and John Grisham are rewritten using a limited vocabulary. Other non-fiction adult literacy titles are also stocked to encourage the reading habit.
In addition to the above a trolley service is delivered to the CSU and Healthcare Units.