The Prison Library Counter

Running the Books book cover Prison libraries are both lauded as a necessary educational element of rehabilitation and criticized as a coddling of inmates. To Avi Steinberg, it was a job. For two years, Steinberg was the evening shift prison librarian at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston’s South Bay. His memoir, Running the Books, tells the story. Steinberg continually had to balance the idea that he worked with relatively nice patrons to the fact that these same people had been jailed for horrible crimes. Running the Books is not a story of redemption. It is an honest portrayal of a correctional system that is flawed (but trying) and the struggles of those that work and live within it.