Meghan Noel is a fourth-year student at Dalhousie University majoring in political science and minoring in law and society. Her program involves a co-op placement with the John Howard Society of Nova Scotia, where she’s been able to plan a book drive.
The John Howard Society is a non-governmental organization with locations in every province and the Northwest Territories, totaling to 60 offices in communities across the country.
The mandate of The John Howard Society is “effective, just and humane responses to the causes and consequence of crime.” They attempt to accomplish this through organizing multiple programs and services for individuals who have been in conflict with the law or are at risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system.
“I wanted to get involved with The John Howard Society because I’m passionate in ensuring people are treated fairly and allowing them to reintegrate and contribute to society and to gain success in their own personal growth and development,” said Noel.
Noel had to interview for her position, but it was her first choice for a co-op placement and is happy that she got to be a part of The John Howard Society. As part of her placement, it’s her responsibility to organize a book drive for the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility.
According to Noel, the correctional facility’s library has very scarce resources, and the goal is to combat the problem by providing these members of the community who have come into conflict with the law with better and larger supply of reading materials.
Correction Service Canada reports that release offenders lack basic literacy skills and education, which makes it harder for them to incorporate back into regular life upon release, especially when it comes to entering the labour market.
“I think it is important (to do the book drive) because I am a strong believer in individuals having the ability to gain success in their personal growth,” said Noel. “I believe an access to a well-equipped library will provide the materials and resources to aid in this.”
As for the book drive there are some preferences and guidelines for donating. There is high interest in books with reference to other cultures, and authors such as Dean Koontz and Tom Clancy are preferred. They will only be accepting paperbacks, and won’t be accepting romance or harlequin novels.
The first book drive will be taking place on November 24 in the lobby of the Dal SUB.