Christopher Aguirre and his librarian, Melisa Gilbert, were sitting in a dimly lit classroom during a StoryCorps sound-check, getting microphoned while they listed-off all their tattoos.
On the right side of his neck like a sprouting daffodil, you can see two hands joined in prayer, growing out from under Chris’ collar — fingertips just barely tucked behind his ear. Melisa described cute, fantastical creatures that adorn her, albeit nowhere in sight.
Beyond ink, Melisa and Chris have a few more things in common.
“They say that if you love your job, it’s not a job at all,” says Chris, who is passionate about auto-body – with plans on building his own shop.
“Absolutely,” replies Melisa, who as a librarian, goes home after work just to continue researching, reading, and mulling over information access. “You see the connection between your art and your work,” she empathizes.
The small room has been sound-proofed – improvised, that is. Layers of soft white linen have been carefully stapled over all four walls to capture bouncing echoes. This StoryCorps field recording was conducted at Arrowhead Correctional Center, a minimum security prison located in Canon City, Colorado – otherwise known as the Corrections Capital of the country. Melisa and other prison-library staff invited StoryCorps across red-tape and barbed-wire fences, to host a day of recorded oral histories for those “offenders” with a desire to speak into a microphone. Chris participated along with seven other men who are also currently serving time at Arrowhead.