Prison Libraries and Heritage Library Management System

We know that not all prison libraries are the same. Some are are networked and well-resourced, with qualified library staff and access terminals for prisoners. Others link out to a public library, or run a completely standalone system, possibly managed by a part-time member of staff. Our system is used in each of these contexts and with that comes a number of advantages that other suppliers cannot match.

Young woman holding a book which demonstrates reading as a route to independence

Maximising resources

Every librarian knows that resources can only be put to use if would-be users know that they exist. The process of raising awareness about resources is a multi-pronged approach, that mixes human interaction and digital tools. In a prison context, where around half the population struggles to read, it is important for library staff to be able to identify and target those who don’t use the library as well as those who do. Heritage Cirqa’s range of library usage and resource reports will assist in developing strategies to connect with prisoners and help improve outcomes for them.

Resources to help with practical skills, such as learning to read, will be transformative for some. Heritage Cirqa enables library staff to curate and share reading lists of suitable titles in a range of genres. In prisons where users are unable to visit the library they could be offered the opportunity to browse the online catalogue, identify the books they would like to read and share that list with the librarian.

Heritage Cirqa enables library staff to showcase particular books and other resources, easily. Library users can participate in resource promotion too, by rating and reviewing titles and recommending their favourite reads to others. ‘Reading for pleasure’ has been shown to help prisoners improve vital social skills, such as empathy and develop an emotional literacy that will prepare them for reintegrating into society.

Scalability and cost-effectiveness

We can offer all of the multi-site and web connectivity required by a larger and better resourced library, but we can also offer a unique version of the system as a standalone application or in a closed network; something other suppliers are now unable to do, having adopted an exclusively cloud-based approach.

Heritage is our Windows product and is still available to run on a single PC or local area network, stored and available locally. There is a direct upgrade path to Heritage Cirqa should the technical infrastructure change in the future.  

Heritage Cirqa is our web-enabled version that can be hosted by us, or run locally on an intranet. This option offers a browser-based online catalogue that can be available to access terminals in the library or around the prison via kiosks, such as those provided by Unilink.

Support and Training

IS Oxford has provided services to prison and secure hospitals for over 25 years, so we are experienced and accomplished at delivering effective support and training solutions, particularly online. Our support website is packed with help and advice from the team and the wider Heritage user community. Our weekly ‘Hints and Tips’ email provides ongoing learning, in easily digestible instalments.

For more information, or to book a demo, contact our Sales Manager Emma Duffield at or via our Live Chat facility’.