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This action research project describes the impact a love for reading and access to books had on incarcerated youth and the adults directly working with them. Through adults working inside a juvenile detention center a library was established, young adult books were made available, and literature discussion groups were conducted. The positive results dispels the myth of high illiteracy rates associated with people serving time for criminal offenses. The act of establishing a library in one detention center evolved into academic course work that brought educators, social workers and criminal justice students and professionals together for the first time. This action research had ramifications in the surrounding communities and other state agencies working with youth at risk. Suggestions for preventing problems associated with juveniles in schools and communities are part of the outcomes in this paper. A list of YA books around the theme of youth at risk is included.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Young Adult Library Services, published by American Library Association. Copyright restrictions may apply.

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