The other day I was doing deliveries in the Segregation Unit and I heard a high pitched yelling from the other side of the unit:
"Bring me my books biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!!!!!!! Bring me my books biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!!!!!! Bring me my books biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!"
Now normally I don't make any acknowledgement of such bad behavior, but it was so unexpected and ridiculous that I looked at the officer who was escorting me and just started laughing. "Seriously?" I said to her. "Yeah, they are all mean to your back but they will be all nice to your face," she replied. I guess this wasn't her first interaction with that guy that day, but she is right in that they really just want attention. Unfortunately, I didn't have books for him anyway, so I didn't even go over to that side because I figured to talk to him when I had no books would be playing into his game. What I would have said though, had I had something for him, would have been "Not with that attitude!"
Sometimes when you are working in a prison library, you deal with people who are losing it because they are locked down 23 hours a day. Don't take it personally if you get called a bitch, or any other colorful name. On a similar note, if that kind of stuff really offends you, or you have a sensitive personality, a different type of library might be up your alley.
On a happy book delivery note though, I was taking unit books to the people who have no library access the other day. I didn't have enough to leave more than one box per unit, but the offenders in every pod I went in greeted me with "OHMYGODTHEBOOKLADYISHEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!" and "Thank you so much for the books!" and "You are bringing more books?!?!? You are like a GOD in here!" And as I was walking back I decided that one way to bring joy back into my day is to take unit books to those guys because even though it is just something small, it brightened up their day and gave them something to combat the inherent boredom that is prison life. Sometimes it's the little things.