A sign (tooth)pasted to one of the United book shelves the other day:
"Please don't be a scumbag
punk by tearing up
all the books...
Today the Mail Room messaged me and asked if I was expecting an offender's mom to be sending us one of our books back called Will I Ever be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. I remembered charging the offender for it a while back so I said I would take it and went down to get it, expecting some sort of apology on behalf of the offender when the mother realized that her daughter had stolen the book.
When I got the package back to the library, I noticed the mailing label was weird, and was actually an envelope addressed to her daughter rather than the library. I cut it off the package and inside was a whole long letter yelling at the daughter about how she needs to get her s*** together and she (the mom) is not going to buy her $50 worth of food because her daughter is not going to be in prison that long, and then it ended with: "And here's the book you probably owe the library for...stop blaming everyone else for your problems. Love, Mom."
It's ironic on so many levels, and always interesting to get a glimpse into the outside lives of our patrons.
Until next time!
Greetings, loyal readers! It's your friendly neighborhood prison librarian back with an important PSA about personal hygiene in prison and where it is and is not ok to take care of your personal needs with regard to your cleanliness.
Yesterday I was looking something up in the office on my computer and one of the clerks came to the door and said, "Um. I don't want to be a tattle tale but there is a girl listening to music and clipping her nails out there and it is grossing me out." Since I am the Voice of Reason, I immediately went out and tapped on the table to get the attention of the perpetrator. Apparently she was very engrossed in what she was doing because I had to rap my knuckles not once or twice but THRICE before she acknowledged I was there.
With a heavy sigh she looked up at me and removed one headphone from her ear to her forehead and said annoyedly, "Yes?"
"I need to talk to you in the hallway please," I told her because if you remember from previous posts, one of the cardinal rules of prison librarianship is Don't Confront People About Things When They Have an Audience.
She spent a good 30 seconds wiping the nail clippings from her pants into her hand (at least it wasn't to the floor) and then she followed me out to the hallway where I informed her that nail clippers are not allowed in the library and doing personal hygiene is frowned upon in that setting and then I gave her the option to stay and I would send the nails clippers to Property or she could go back to her unit and lose the rest of her library time. Due to the fact that one has to work at least 3 days on prison pay to afford nail clippers, she elected to do the latter and returned to her unit, surprisingly with no attitude. Because she was compliant, I just gave her a verbal warning which should be enough to keep her from doing it again.
Now, on the positive side, I am glad that patrons feel so comfortable in the library, but whether you are clipping nails, threading eyebrows, or popping zits, there are just some places you don't do certain things and the library is one of them.
Until next time!
In an environment that thrives on consistency and repetition, anything out of the ordinary is bound to send shock waves throughout the entire system. A few years ago I dyed my hair brown and you would have thought I did something way more terrible from the reactions I got. EVERYONE hated it and felt like it was their job to tell me so, but I just laughed it off because a.) I didn't do it for them, b.) I liked it and that's all that matters and c.) I'm not there to impress anyone. But what was really hilarious is that my boss at the time also had brown hair and people used to say "Oh, the blonde librarian told us that/said we could do that" and after neither of us was the blonde one they became very consternated.
So, fast forward to the present day and a little background: every day at work I wear my work outfit. It is the same every day, down to my items on my belt (radio, keys, pepper spray) and my car key that I hang from my belt loop with a carabeaner (spelling?) so I never lose it because if you read this blog you know how stressful it is to even THINK about losing keys in prison. So, I thought for sure the first day I had my brand new key of my shiny new car on my belt loop, SURELY I would have to fend off multiple comments about my new key. But so far, nothing. Not one single comment or sideways glance while they try and estimate if they will get in trouble for asking. Veritable. Crickets.
So what does this mean? Well my theories are that because I have some other minor keys on the ring, everyone just looks at those and assumes it's key business as usual. It could also be that they are so busy with their own other life drama that they have no time for changes in the library at the moment. My final idea, and this is the one I would like it to be, is that I have finally, after five long years, gotten to the point where they know my answer will be "I don't talk about my personal life at work" and they respect me enough to not even try and bring it up. It's unlikely that that's the reason, but one can always hope.
Until next time!
I was going to do a long post about more hiring tips tonight but I'm tired so here's a short funny story to tide you over:
Patron: "Do you have black panties in the back?"
*remembers it's the album for a CD we have on Inter-Library Loan*
Me: "Oh yes, I believe we still do have that R. Kelly CD. I'll be right back..."