Monday, July 18, 2005

Dear Convicted Felon

jack the ripper How terribly exciting. Today I got to answer my first reference question from an incarcerated individual. The letter showed up in my inbox, and was addressed "Dear Director". A post-it note attached to it said "Matthew, can you take care of this? I don't know where to begin..."

And so my journey into enlightening a criminal began. The question was really quite straight forward. I answered it, typed up a letter and realized "I can't sign this thing!" So I closed with a simple "Thank you, XXX Metropolitan Library". According to several veteran librarians at my library, NO ONE signs their name on enquiry's from jailbirds. Makes sense. It could be terribly amusing to sign the name of another librarian that you dislike. Just remember, what goes around comes around.

I shall always remember this momentous occasion, my first reference question as a degreed librarian.

Then of course, I got morbid. I decided I had to find out what this guy was behind bars for. The internet is a wealth of information when you have a convict's prisoner number. I simply went to this site and entered the valuable information that he had provided in his return address.

Turns out that this queery answered the query of an individual convicted of aggravated murder. Delightful. Simply delightful. Apparently, there is no library in his facility.

If you are interested in Prison Libraries, check out IFLA's documentation on the subject. The Directory of State Prison Libraries might also be helpful.

Moral of this blog: Everybody in the whole cell block - was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

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