Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm back in black...pants

Sometimes when you work in prison, you see certain patrons every day and then you don't see them for a while. Mainly, you go on with your life but sometimes you will hear from other library patrons or clerks: "OMG did you hear about So-and-So? She went to the hole because she beat up her roommate! There was blood everywhere!" And then you think to yourself "Hmm, never would have thought that the little gray-haired old lady would have had it in her" and then you learn to never be surprised in prison. And then after 60 days, you see that little old lady patron back in the library and everyone gives her a little bit of space, because you never know... Anyway, that anecdote (which is based on a real life situation with one of my most docile and friendly library clerks) is kind of like this blog. Sometimes I disappear for a while, which is not a good idea in the blogosphere, so I will do a better job of staying out of the hole so I can honor my commitment. :-) Today, let's talk about prison work attire. While going to library school, the only thing I ever heard about correctional librarianship was "Don't wear orange pants." Ok, who owns orange pants anyway, unless you are Ke$ha, or a member of LMFAO. When I began in prison, I was allowed to wear street clothes, with the caveat that you stay away from the colors that are worn in the prison. (Note for outsiders--orange pants are worn when a patron is on Restricted Privileges status, which means no phone, makeup, tennis shoes, library, etc.) Well one day, I was getting dressed and I thought "Oh, this sweater will look good with those pants! That will be my outfit today!" and I went on my merry way to work. Well, I arrived and the lobby officer kind of looked at me sideways but let me in the facility. I knew that I had made a huge mistake when I went out to get the book drop and a yard officer pulled me aside and said "Um, generally you don't want to wear that color in here in case there's a riot and you get shot." Oops. Ok, well why did they even let me in the door then?? But the icing on the cake was when a patron came up to me and said "OMG I LOVE YOUR SHIRT! I have one just like it..." *facepalm* Now, I have awesome black pants and a uniform shirt and the moral of this story is be careful what you wear to work when you are a prison librarian.

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