I grew up in a library family and love freedom of information. At the end of September I will be sporting my “I Read Banned Books” button and giving out bookmarks of banned books. I speak fanatically about how wonderful it is that anyone can get information about anything if they have a library card. If I hear, “Should that be allowed in the Library?!?!?” I give a little lecture about how the only person who has a right to censor information is that person themselves, and when I see someone in the public library looking at pornography I chuckle and walk away.
That being said I understand that Prison is a different setting entirely and that if the Safety and Security of the Institution is compromised because of a book, how to make a bomb for example, that book should not be available. When I applied for the job I was worried that I would be banning books left and right, no sex, no violence, and no drugs!!! This is not the case. I was happy and surprised to see that the Institutional Library System works hard at deciding what is and isn’t allowed and does not restrict lightly. How to cross-stitch almost anything: Allowed. How to escape from prison: Not Allowed. Concrete Mama: Allowed. Hacking for dummies: Not Allowed. It’s hard to imagine a time when a book could be banned because of an amoral message or because animals were talking and wearing clothes. It is equally hard to justify checking out a book to a prisoner that advocates violence against a specific group of people. However, you should rest easy knowing that Danielle Steel and Jake Logan are on the shelves and ready for action.