Access to information is severely limited for incarcerated people. Their information needs also vary widely and are often not easily met.

Over the past semester, students have engaged in a service-learning partnership with the New York Public Library’s Correctional Services Department, answering reference questions mailed from people incarcerated not only in New York City and State prisons and jails but also in prisons and jails across the country.

This panel presentation describes the experience of engaging in the project, and addresses the value of this reference service in the context of the information needs of incarcerated people, the right to information, and librarians’ professional standards and ethics.