About Us


An estimated two million children in the United States, ages 5 to 18, have a parent who is incarcerated in a federal or state prison or a local jail. The majority of these children are very young – over half are less than 10 years old, and more than 20 percent are younger than age 5.

We cannot begin to solve all the problems these children face, but we can…START WITH A STORY.

Children who have been exposed to a number of reading experiences at an early age are given the chance to learn to love books and stories — a love that they often take into adulthood.


“Start With a Story”, a project of the Alameda County Library, delivers story times, free books, and family literacy activities to children, ages 1-16 years old, who visit at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, and at the Glenn Dyer Jail in downtown Oakland.

“Start with a Story” is an easy and gratifying way to affect the lives of very appreciative children. Children are often relegated to many long hours – sometimes an entire day – of waiting at the jail for a brief visit to an incarcerated parent or guardian.

“Start with a Story” offers these children what we believe is the most precious of all opportunities: the chance to escape inside a good book.