Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On the issue of Moral Outrage

Good evening, dear future prison librarians.  As many of you may or may not know, I am an Aries, in addition to being a Millennial, so I am a fiery and passionate person when it comes to an issue that I care about.  As you may recall from my previous posts on the current Censorship Ridiculousness we are experiencing in the correctional facility that shall remain nameless, I am a proponent of Intellectual Freedom and the Prisoners' Right to Read.  Recently, one of the books from my collection that was sent to the Powers That Be for a decision on how much nudity is too much nudity was deemed too nude, and required to be de-accessioned.
When I heard the final decision, I immediately thought, "What the BLEEEEEEEEP!"  And then I thought, "This book is a work of art by a world-renowned photographer, how can they say that THIS art is NOT ART?"  When I expressed my dismay to my consultant the conversation went like this:
Me: "I am MORALLY OUTRAGED at this censorship decision!!!"
Consultant: "Do you mean you are concerned because it goes against the grain of librarians' professional standards?"
Me: "Sure, that sounds good."
Consultant: "Well, I understand your feelings, but just remember that you must follow the policy even if you don't agree with it."
Me: *Uncharitable thoughts about how the Nazis also preached following policy when clearly it was not morally right.* "SIGH.  FINE."
It didn't really end like that.  I said more professional things but that's what I was thinking.  Then I had a weekend and some time away from the situation and I came to some realizations:
1.)  Moral outrage against the Nazis is completely ok, because that was horrendous.  Censorship of female breasts...maybe not as much of a world crisis.
2.)  I can only change what I can, and I must learn to accept those things that I cannot change.  Also, I can control how I react to things, even if I don't control those things.  BUT, luckily for me, the only constant in prison is change and maybe when there is a new regime there will be a new policy when they realize that there is such a thing (according to the Sex Offender Treatment mental health professionals) as healthy sexuality and the human body won't be seen as something that is dirty and should be covered up.
3.)  While we TRY to run on a public library model, we are NOT a public library.  It is still our responsibility to get to yes in a culture built on no, but we also need to realize when it is time to accept the no, at least for the time being.
So, loyal readers, that is what has been going on in my neck of the woods lately.  I see many more de-accessioned books in my future but it is what it is.  I will still continue to promote the benefits of allowing people to make their own reading choices and maybe one day someone who is in charge of creating the policy will agree with me.  Until next time!


  1. I love your blog! I am also an Aries, a millennial, and a prison librarian. My intention is to be a blogger as well, but that hasn't happened yet, haha. -Stephanie

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I think that the world of Prison needs more of our type haha! I would love to hear stories about what goes on in other prisons, so I hope you start your blog soon!