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 SDCOE, Probation Create Children’s Library at Facility

children's library at East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility

Children and families visiting loved ones at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility now have a comfortable and colorful place to sit and read thanks to a collaborative effort to build a library.

County Probation Department personnel worked with San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) personnel on the children's library in the lobby of the facility. The Probation Department operates the facility and SDCOE runs the school at the site as part of its Juvenile Court and Community Schools program.

"I noticed that young children were playing in the front lobby and outside the building while families waited to see their loved ones," Site Administrator Nathan Head said. "The front lobby is dark with metal benches and not particularly child-friendly."

Students painted a colorful mural of a tree and animals on the wall near the library. The Probation department brought in a kid-sized table and chairs. SDCOE donated soft, colorful flooring.

The books were donated to the facility over the years but didn't have a central place where they could be accessed by visitors. Children who find books there that they particularly enjoy will even be allowed to take them home.

"The library is a direct result of strong relationships and partnering together to make things better for children and their families," Head said.