STORMING THEM LIBRARY GATES: Or: “Why do you have to CLOSE for Inventory?”

This is June 2013AD, and we’re worrying about a manual inventory of books and CDs and VHS tapes. Welcome to correctional Librarianship.

On Friday, June 7, we worked between 6PM – 8:30 putting all books in correct alpha-numerical order.

Cataloguer assures me that all shelf list cards are where they should be.

Some of these here Library clerks display a disturbing horseshoes/ hand grenade approach to inventory. If card and shelf order is “pretty good” or “close enough,” they’re satisfied. Then they wonder why they have to run around like chickens with their legs cut off trying to find where cards and books are.

Left a signed memo for the officers at the OIC desk to please keep the Lending Library closed for the weekend, in order to preserve the work we’ve just completed, and also to prevent any additional books being taken from the Library without being properly signed out. Amazingly, this actually happens, and the memo is honored. I am grateful.

Today my ILL clerk tells me that over the weekend some inmates from his Unit wanted to use the Library and came back to the Unit “heated.” The way he repeats “Heated” makes me ask:

“So they’re hiding behind the Book Return Box waiting to shank me?”

“I don’t know anything about that. All I know is they were heated!”

I remind him that it only happens once a year, everyone has a different way of processing disappointment. This is the way I convey this: “Think they’ll get over it?”

“I’m just tellin’ ya.”

“I guess for my safety I’ll submit a confidential IPS report.”

“No! No, it ain’t nothing like that. What I’m sayin’ is they were angry they couldn’t get in, that’s all.”

“Gee, that’s…too bad, I guess?”

“Yeah, well….”

A few weeks ago, we posted a memo in each Unit asking everyone to return books that were never checked out. These notices will be ignored. But we feel it’s worth a try.

WHY we feel that way is anyone’s guess.