George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, Game of Thrones, was named as the most popular books being borrowed by inmates in NSW prison libraries while true-crime stories were mostly requested but usually being rejected.
According to 9news.com.au, Martin’s book was on the jail library’s top of the list followed by A Darkness at Sethanon, the third and final book in The Riftwar Saga by American writer Raymond E. Feist, the partially fictional autobiography, Shantaram, by Gregory David Robert, and Stieg Larson’s psychological thriller novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Game of Thrones was set in a fictional land called Westeros wherein war between Houses broke and every king tried to claw their way in up to the Iron Throne after King Robert of House Baratheon died while hunting in the woods. The Song of Ice and Fire books was then adapted to TV series by HBO, finishing with its 8th season in 2019.
Toni Kennedy, the library service manager, shared that prisoners also enjoyed reading Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural romance novel, Twilight Saga aside from those tough-looking thriller book. In addition to that, Ms. Kennedy said that true-crime genre was named as the most requested books by inmates, however these requests are usually denied. She added that “it should go without saying” that these books are banned in the prison library.
The Corrective Service NSW’s library department began operating in 2003 and was established by Ms. Kennedy, according to the assistant commissioner, Carlo Scassera.
As of today, the library has seven staff and a number of inmate library clerks working in NSW prisons. All prisons have one to four libraries and each library has different sizes, ranging from a cupboard size to a fully functioning facility.
Ms. Scassera said in a statement that reading books allows inmates to learn something new or to find an adventure in another world for a while. In addition to that, it can also help some inmates to improve their literacy skills which will greatly assist them after being released in prison. And lastly, having the library service establish in the correctional facility helps the staff to manage the inmates and keep them busy throughout the day.
Meanwhile, as Game of Thrones claimed the highest spot in fiction category, other books like Macquarie Dictionary, the RMS Road User’s Handbook and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson were named as top choices among the non-fiction genre in NSW prison libraries.