Wow, time flies when you are having fun! It appears that I have been remiss in posting over the past YEAR so let me take a moment to catch you up.
First of all-the good news! I became the boss of the library last June and since then my life has been crazy. I have many more responsibilities, but it is so much more fun and I love going to work every day now. It also helps that now I have a "normal" schedule with real weekends! It's crazy! Another thing to note for you potential prison librarians--if you like your weekends on Saturdays and Sundays, that's probably not going to happen right away, if at all. Most of my colleagues have Wednesday/Thursday weekends. This is thanks to the American Correctional Association requirement that offenders have library services seven days a week. Which is great for them because it provides opportunities for positive use of leisure time, but not so good for the prison librarian's social life.
More good news-we are finally fully staffed in my library! As previously discussed, bureaucracy is slow. Extremely slow. So slow, in fact, that when people decide that this job is just not for them it takes at least a year to get a new person in the position. However, if someone is so uncomfortable in this environment, I would rather have them quit and deal with being short-staffed than have to walk them out because they were compromised by an offender. BUT, my new minions are awesome, and I think that this team will be around for a long time.
Mixed news-bed reductions. In our state, we have had a decrease in the amount of people being incarcerated (yay!) which means that we are reducing the population in our prison and also the number of staff. This is good in theory, but it always seems like there are not enough blue staff to go around so when I need some back up to get two offenders out of the same bathroom because they are having sexy time and all I have are staff members who don't even carry pepper spray...that could get interesting.
But, as I like to tell my patrons and fellow staff members, we are nothing if not flexible here so we will make it work. Prison librarianship is all about creative problem solving and going with the flow. For example-today I was doing library deliveries to the patrons who are on Restricted Privileges, and I went to their place of residence and waited for the officer in the control center to open the door. He looked at me funny after I was there for five minutes and then said "What are you doing?" I replied, "I need to deliver to the RP's." "Oh. They don't live here anymore." ?!?!?!? Turns out they moved them all to a pod across the hallway. Nobody tells me anything.