Friday, November 7, 2014

Notes from Training

Good evening, dear readers and Happy Friday! Tonight's prison librarian story comes to you from the training room. One facet of work as a prison librarian is mandatory training. This usually looks like a bunch of people in a room and you may have a vague idea of who they are but you're not really sure because you are not used to seeing people in civilian clothes. Another benefit of training is usually you get out of work early, although try and avoid taking training classes from newbie instructors because they haven't grasped this concept and you will be stuck in training 1.5 hours after you expected to be there when you made important plans contingent on leaving early. But I digress...

I was going to blog about my awesome picture I drew in Motivational Interviewing that showed the library was like the auto parts and repair store because we give people the tools to make their cars/lives awesome until there was some major drama that completely changed my plan.

We were in a part of the class where we were talking about stress and the staff person sitting next to me told a story about how they were dealing with stress that included telling jokes "about black people." Not many people heard it and that wasn't even the point of the story, just a segue to the important part about how she was dealing with stress. Well, another staff person took it upon themselves to make sure an African-American person in the class knew what she said and that particular staff member BLEW UP and confronted the other staff person right in front of EVERYONE. The first one apologized for causing offence but the second one refused to let it go and kept yelling at her until the teacher interjected with "Ok let's move on."

This was something I've never experienced, but I think it should be addressed because you never know when you will run into a similar situation in your tenure as a prison librarian. Yes, the first staff could have been more sensitive to the racial makeup of the class but if the second staff was really offended, a better way to handle it would have been to confront that other staff member in private. Instead, she just looked like a rookie who lost her professionalism in response to unprofessional comments. And the unknown staff member who passed it along would have been smarter to keep their mouths shut and not cause drama.

So, future prison librarians, the morals of this story today are:
1. Don't say racist things at work.
2. If people offend you, it makes more of an impact to confront them in private and helps you maintain your professionalism.
3. Don't schedule training on a Friday expecting to get out early.

Until next time!

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