Getting Lost in the Internet and Finding Libraries in Unexpected Places

by mlarents

The Internet is a black-hole.  Almost every day, I get lost in it.  Last night, while listening to a lecture for class, I stumbled upon a picture of a teepee on tumblr.  I paused the lecture, and spent the next hour and a half looking up indoor teepees for purchase (finally!  I knew our dining room was missing something!) and then tutorials on how to construct the perfect teepee (painted canvas and twinkly lights!).  As I clicked from etsy, to amazon, to youtube and then to personal blogs, I realized I have a problem.

Or is it?  I suppose in the world of procrastination, getting distracted by the Internet’s bright lights and sparkly pictures, it most certainly is.  But what about those times you get lost because you become so engrossed in a topic you know little about?  The Internet, and it’s virtual tome of knowledge, is infinite.

This summer, I got black-holed when I started looking into Prison Librarianship.  It lasted for several days and, every once in awhile, I relapse and get lost again.  While all libraries could use some extra dough, Prison Libraries could use buckets of the stuff.  Of course, this raises a peculiar question: are prisoners worthy of library resources?  In relation, are prisons houses of punishment or reform?

The Atlas reminds us to have faith in our communities.  Wherever you fall ideologically in the prison debate, prisoners, more often than not, return to our public communities.  Why not invest in their individual, and our collective, future?  Libraries and knowledge creation seem like the perfect place to start.

Want to get lost?  This will get you started.



It’s as if the black-hole of prison libraries is a siren, screeching my name.  A new blog post was just put up at Exploring Prison Librarianship.  The author talks about a lack of urban fiction at her library and not knowing the best way to supplement it.  What did she do?  Asked the members.  One of them had already written an extensive, alphabetized list of books he wanted to read.  The librarian borrowed the list, and is working on getting his suggested books added to the collection.  The librarian mentions the prisoner gaining a sense of pride, or investment, in the library that took his recommendations to heart.  The post seems completely apropos for this blog as well as our class discussion.  Check it out!