[Libs-Or] Books banned in Prisons...What?

Ted Smith t.smith at newportlibrary.org
Thu Dec 21 14:54:35 PST 2017

The guards at the jail where I was a branch librarian hated it when we had body building books for inmates.  The jail guards were overweight and slow and the inmates were ripped and fast.  They thought I might be contributing to them getting hurt.  While I understood their concern, the library system I worked for had an agreement that they would run the jail library in the same manner that they ran any of their branches.  The only real problem we had was that inmates would rip pages out of paperbacks to roll cigarettes.  Obviously, this was back in the days when cigarettes were still allowed in jails.

I censored a book only one time.  It was final exit - a how to suicide book - and the patron making the request was in for a mental health violation/crime.  I just said I wouldn't be part of helping him come up with ways to kill himself.  Bad librarian, but I've never lost any sleep over it.

From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Tony
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2017 2:02 PM
To: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: [Libs-Or] Books banned in Prisons...What?

Ms. Florenzen, how could the subject of an Anne Rice novel be incarcerated in a prison?  Didn't she make that stuff up?  Are you telling me the Vampire Lestat walks among us?

Tony Greiner

Primo and Alma: Making WorldCat Local Look Good
**tony_greiner at hotmail.com**<mailto:**tony_greiner at hotmail.com**>


Message: 20
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2017 21:30:14 +0000
From: Heidi Florenzen <hflorenzen at hermiston.or.us<mailto:hflorenzen at hermiston.or.us>>
To: "Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us<mailto:Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>"
        <Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us<mailto:Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>>
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] books banned in Oregon state prisons?
Message-ID: <1513805416514.41190 at hermiston.or.us<mailto:1513805416514.41190 at hermiston.or.us>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

There was such a list of subjects when I worked at one of the correctional institution libraries in Oregon in the early 90s.  It was developed for security purposes.  Certain types of books were not allowed.  Books describing bomb making, for example, were not allowed. This was state-wide.  Specific titles of fiction could also be restricted for these reasons. Books were not banned just because they included sex or violence.  We had a widely varied collection of popular fiction.  The librarians at our facility were not involved with creating these lists but were required to keep these books off our shelves.

I remember Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses was on the list at the time because it might cause riots.  And at our institution an Anne Rice novel was not allowed at our library because the subject of the book was at our institution.

I would imagine the practice of a banned list has continued.

Heidi Florenzen <hflorenzen at hermiston.or.us<mailto:hflorenzen at hermiston.or.us>>
Assistant Director
Hermiston Public Library <http://www.hermistonlibrary.us>

235 E Gladys Avenue
Hermiston, OR 97838
(541) 567-2882

From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us<mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>> on behalf of Trott, Garrett <GTrott at corban.edu<mailto:GTrott at corban.edu>>
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 1:01 PM
To: Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us<mailto:Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
Subject: [Libs-Or] books banned in Oregon state prisons?

Is anybody aware of a list of titles that are not permitted in Oregon state prisons (i.e. for prisoners)?  Does such a list exist?  Is it up to each and every facility to determine what they allow and do not allow?


Garrett Trott
5000 Deer Park Drive SE
Salem, Ore.
Voice -- 503-589-8116
Text/SMS -- 503-551-7690
Fax -- 503-375-7196
gtrott at corban.edu<mailto:gtrott at corban.edu>
Web Site: www.corban.edu<http://www.corban.edu>
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