Tonight's blog will give you a small insight into what it's like to weed books in prison............
So the other day we had a GED teacher retire after a long and illustrious career. She left us many books and her boss graciously passed the usable ones along to us and discarded the old ones including a set of encyclopedias from 1981. I thanked her, and went along on my merry way.
Fast forward to 5 minutes from then, and I got my first phone call:
Me: "Library, how may I help you?"
Officer: "Yes, is this the library?"
Me: "Yes it is, how may I help you?"
Officer: "Um, I have some offenders who are wondering why you threw all these books away."
Me: "Well, it was actually the teacher, but it's ok, they are supposed to be in the trash because they are encyclopedias from 1981."
Officer: "They want to know if they can get them out of the trash."
Me: "No, they are from 1981. They need to stay in the trash."
Officer: "Ok, bye."
Now, dear readers, nobody EVER throws anything away in prison. They are the KINGS AND QUEENS of repurposing items. They were repurposing things before repurposing became trendy. My patrons simply cannot accept the idea of library weeding because "Someone will want to read those!!!!" When I respond that nobody has wanted to read them in 3 years, or nobody wants to read a book that is only pages 25-167, they look at me as if I am speaking gibberish. And if nobody wants to read the items, they want to cut them up and decorate their bulletin boards. Nobody cares that it's still state property and our rules state that we can not give state property to offenders for personal use. "Ha, rules? I care not a fig for your RULES!" is what they would say if they had a good vocabulary.
About 30 minutes after my first phone call I was out getting the book drop and the officer in the office (different officer) where I was signing in asked me why we threw away a set of perfectly good encyclopedias. After a *facepalm* I explained again why it was ok that they were in the trash.
Me: "Do you know how many things have happened since 1981?? Like THE INTERNET?!?!?"
Officer: "Oh, I guess you're right."
Me: "We would actually be doing them a disservice by letting them keep those hopelessly out-of-date encyclopedias. I have some current ones in the library they can look at any time they like."
The next day took the cake though. I was out getting the book drop again and I stopped in yet another block office to sign in and I was greeted by a very happy-sounding officer:
Officer: "The offenders in that pod are SO HAPPY! They rescued a perfectly good set of encyclopedias from the trash that someone just THREW AWAY!"
Me: *HEAVY SIGH*
So now I think that these encyclopedias are somewhere floating around in one of the units. I can't bring myself to go find them and confiscate them, because right now I have way too many other things on my plate than fighting the Battle of the 1981 Encyclopedias.
Until next time!