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Tumeke – Sorry State of Book Learnin' In Clink

Tumeke – Sorry State of Book Learnin' In Clink


In his latest Prison Blog on, Tim Selwyn has been appointed the Prison Librarian and after finding only 100 books, he has appealed through the site to ask for anyone to send him books to replenish the library so that he can get prisoners into reading more books, here is his post

The Shawshank Repetition

This unit’s library is rather pitiful. The spiteful former occupant of the room the library is in has withheld many good books in a locked side room and no-one can get in. I’ve tried – because I’m the librarian. It’s an honorary non-paying job and since I founded and co-owned a secondhand bookshop (Nostromo Books 598 Gt. North Rd, Grey Lynn) I guess I must be over-qualified for the role of managing less than 100 titles.

Wilbur Smith’s epic chronicles of super-macho Victorian elephant slaughterers seems to be the backbone of a bleak expanse of Readers Digest condensed novels and 80’s paperback fiction. Half of the Stephen Kings have had the last couple of pages torn out of them as well as parts of the covers cut into to provide rigid ends to rolly cigarettes, or “other cigarettes”. There’s one cookbook from 1982 with photos of burnt dishes and other inedible fare that makes our dry mash dinners actually look appealing – and that is certainly saying something.

There are a few good titles and I still haven’t seen the return of the one about Mafia and some of the more modern fiction. Ben Elton’s ones are still untouched however.

The National Geographic’s are circulating, like most of the library’s other magazines, privately now without the need to go through me. I guess most books too are passed from one another and won’t see the library for a long time – which is fine – as long as people are using them. I try to open each Sunday after the old re-runs of the original Star Trek finish on Prime and after the game of Touch is over.

Eventually I’ll have to get into that room and liberate all the good books that are trapped therein. But things move glacially in here. So, to avoid accusations of being part of the problem and not part of the solution and having seen the Shawshank Redemption and the efforts that Tim Robbin’s character went through to get a decent library up and running, I now appeal to those with unwanted or surplus books and magazines to send them in to broaden and enlighten the twisted and criminal minds of the prisoners in this unit.

Please send your books and magazines to: Tim Selwyn Librarian/Unit 8 Hawkes Bay Prison Private Bag 1600 Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!) PRN 60477981 Hawkes Bay Prison Currently appealing sedition conviction


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