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Kids requesting more books to read at juvenile detention center

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Playing basketball

Two juvenile inmates take turns dribbling and shooting three-pointers Thursday at the Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center in Rapid City.

There's no shortage of avid readers at the Western Juvenile Detention Services Center, which has resulted in a major need for more reading material to stock the detention center's book cart.

That's why the Pennington County Sheriff's Office is asking the public to help by donating soft cover books, particularly Spanish language books or popular youth novel series, for the detainees to read.

The facility houses children between the ages of 10 and 21. Several detainees expressed their desire for novels authored by James Patterson, Stephen King, Tess Gerritsen, while others requested books from the popular series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Maze Runner.

The young bibliophiles would also benefit from nonfiction books and self-help materials, according to Sgt. Tim Lindblom, who is in charge of juvenile center's services and programs.

Lindblom noted that some of the children would also benefit from materials appropriate for low reading levels, especially the Spanish-speaking detainees from Puerto Rico.

"We have a need for books in Spanish, we’re getting more (of) a population from the Central American territories, so that’s a huge need," he said.

"A lot of times we get donated books from community members," Lindblom said, but according to the detainees, they're going to need a lot of new reading material to pass the time.

Several detainees shared that reading helps them take their mind off of negative thoughts and lessens oppressive feelings by allowing them to focus on what they're reading.

Lindblom requests that the donated books not contain sexually explicit content or themes of drug and alcohol use.

"Mystery books are fine, you just have to be pretty careful. If there’s anything that involves criminal behaviors we’d like to stay away from that if we can," Lindblom said, though that doesn't apply to crimes committed in the world of wizardry.

"For example, (the) Harry Potter series would be okay," Lindblom said.

Book donations can be dropped off beginning Monday through the end of the month at the Public Safety Building located at 300 Kansas Street in Rapid City.

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