"Books offer the opportunity to be more, know more and try more. Humanity so often lacking in reality can be often found in the pages of a good book and the library is a place to find them."
HMP Gartree ‘What the Library Means to Me’
"The Library is a centre for creativity in Gartree allowing various projects to grow under its roof. It provides a nurturing environment for the freedom of expression and the support to grow."
We asked members of the Gartree Reading Community what the library and the books available means to them; this is what they had to say:
“A great deal. In a penal institution, confined to a space of 7 feet by 8 feet for 23 hours a day reading is a form of ‘escape.’ Whilst the state may control every aspect of the prisoned life, the mind remains beyond their reach, it remains free. It is the library that is the guardian, the champion of that freedom to think.”
“In the past few years I have fallen back into love with reading, like I had been as a child, and frankly have been amazed by how much I had missed it. I know what I like, the authors I enjoy, the genres that engage me but am also willing to try new things.
During the pandemic losing myself in a good book has filled my time, kept me mentally stimulated and provided much entertainment. I am not sure how I would have coped without being able to do so and access to the library has been invaluable. Reading is such a simple act that really gives me some satisfaction.
The sooner we can get back to having proper access and once again have the opportunity to browse and find new work and authors to fire our imagination the better.
Under the circumstances, the library staff have done an excellent job trying to keep us supplied with suitable reading material for which I am very grateful. Thank you for all you’ve done.”
“Books offer the opportunity to be more, know more and try more. Humanity so often lacking in reality can be often found in the pages of a good book and the library is a place to find them.”
“Books are a way to escape the monotony of prison life. They open doors to new worlds and better places and allow the mind to experience a sense of freedom that is somewhat lacking in this environment.
The Library is a centre for creativity in Gartree allowing various projects to grow under its roof. It provides a nurturing environment for the freedom of expression and the support to grow.”
“The Library is a source of knowledge, an information hub for the prison. But more than that it is a lens through which we can glimpse other lives and worlds – a true escape. Thank you for everything you do. The support you provide for learning and for the opportunities of discovery within books and inevitably within myself.”
“Thank you for the magnificent work you have all been doing in the past year. I don’t think you realise the extent to which you three have outshone everyone else here in the abyss. Your determination to help all 700 prisoners, despite the obstacles in your way has been very much appreciated by me and by everyone I have spoken to over the past months. Very well done and thank you”
“Due to Covid I do most of my talking to the people on my own wing, which I know will be thankful to hear about new authors or stuff about the library choices. I have also drawn new readers to read, as in able to talk on a one to one basis on my wing with people making their experience better, and help them choose a good book which I can now get from the Library. Only 14% read on my wing which I will try to improve upon”
“It’s probably the best prison Library in the UK I’ve ever had the honour to work in. Its spacious well stocked with books, DVDs, magazines and new items coming in all the time which I love to explore”