National Library of the Year awarded to Prison Library
A small, closed-to-the-public library at a prison in Münster, in west-central Germany, has received the 30,000 euro national Library of the Year award.
The popularity of the library is reflected in the numbers who visit it. Of around 530 prisoners, about 80 percent use the library. But no one can say what kind of prisoner becomes a library user, said librarian Gerhard Peschers.
“I’ve found that some prisoners have very little experience in reading, but when they are in detention, become great readers,” he said.
“The others — intellectuals — use the library to expand their knowledge,” said Peschers.
One of the inmates, Paul P. never used to be a reader.
“It’s a new world for me,” he said. “I’ve been here for a year and half and I was formerly a carpenter and builder. I like being able to use the computer here. I don’t really read novels here, but I like browsing through the technical literature.”