To those outside of prison the idea of a library conjures images of rows of books, a helpful librarian, a few computers for research, and even, perhaps, a comfortable chair to plop down into for a nice afternoon of literary exploration. After all, a library is a place where patrons go to learn, explore new ideas, and enjoy those bound collections of printed pages I so affectionately call books.
I can remember frequenting the Brevard, NC public library, the Topeka, Kansas public library, and more than a few school libraries over the years. This wasn’t so much to revel in the written word, but it was true and it was real. Even though I found these locations to be more social arenas — since I had friends who worked at each or went with me to each — all of the libraries reminded me of a nice, quiet place to just sit and enjoy the solitude. They were quiet enclaves where one could grow to be more, where one was surrounded by centuries of knowledge just waiting to be discovered.