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Send Books

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Don’t throw away your gently-read books! Many prisoners are looking for something fresh and interesting to read and many prisons sorely lack current or diverse books. Please send your books to a prison! We offer donation options and tips on shipping books below.

Remember: when using the postal service to mail books, let them know you are shipping ONLY BOOKS and you’ll get the reduced book rate for postage.

Increasing literacy, creative thinking and reflection behind bars ~ because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

From Inmate to Mentor, Through Power of Books

By Lonnae O’Neal Parker Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, October 2, 2006 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/01/AR2006100101160_pf.html

My Life on Death Row “Books were what saved me.”

By Wilbert Rideau, April 2011 The Progressive http://www.progressive.org/rideau0411.html

What to send and how to send it!

Most needed books

  • Dictionaries (English and Spanish/English)
  • Thesauruses
  • Small business and real estate
    Running and starting a business
  • Law dictionaries and legal self help
  • Trades (plumbing, electricity, carpentry, construction, auto mechanics)
  • Classic literature
  • Blank journals/diaries (some pages ripped out is fine)

Reference and text books

  • Almanacs (non-current year still great!)
  • Foreign language textbooks (particularly Spanish)
  • Biology, chemistry, and physics text books
  • American Sign Language manuals
  • Philosophy
  • GED prep and high-school level textbooks in all subject areas
  • Vocational, technical, and “how to” books, such as electrical repair, home repair, etc.
  • Small business guides or handbooks (including management)

African-American and Hispanic studies

    • African-American non-fiction (including Black Panther and related material)
    • ANY Mexican or Latino non-fiction (including Mexican Revolution and Aztec history)
    • World history, especially ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and military history

What to send and how to send it!

Most needed books

  • Dictionaries (English and Spanish/English)
  • Thesauruses
  • Small business and real estate
    Running and starting a business
  • Law dictionaries and legal self help
  • Trades (plumbing, electricity, carpentry, construction, auto mechanics)
  • Classic literature
  • Blank journals/diaries (some pages ripped out is fine)

Reference and text books

  • Almanacs (non-current year still great!)
  • Foreign language textbooks (particularly Spanish)
  • Biology, chemistry, and physics text books
  • American Sign Language manuals
  • Philosophy
  • GED prep and high-school level textbooks in all subject areas
  • Vocational, technical, and “how to” books, such as electrical repair, home repair, etc.
  • Small business guides or handbooks (including management)

African-American and Hispanic studies

    • African-American non-fiction (including Black Panther and related material)
    • ANY Mexican or Latino non-fiction (including Mexican Revolution and Aztec history)
    • World history, especially ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and military history

How to donate books to prisons

Everything in this section available Online Only

Write a Prisoner has a list of prisons and programs around the US where you can donate old books. Please do not throw away your old books! They may be needed in institutions around the United States. Please check to see if your books fit the criteria below and consider sending them in. There is a proven correlation between illiteracy and incarceration. Help diminish our country’s growing prison population through education.

http://www.writeaprisoner.com/books-behind-bars/

Prison Pen Pals asks you to send books directly to prisons. They have a list of Prisons That Need Your Books plus suggestions for shipping books, what types of books prisons are looking for (dictionaries and phone books presently) and special considerations for specific locations.

http://www.prisonpenpals.com/booksbehindbars.html

Prisoners Literature Project is a grassroots organization that sends free books to prisoners in the United States. The project started in the early 1980’s in the back of Bound Together Books, an anarchist bookstore still operating on Haight Street. PLP is run entirely by volunteers and funded by donations.

http://www.prisonersliteratureproject.com/donate

Drop off book donations to:

Prisoners Literature Project (During office hours only)

2022 Blake Street Berkeley, CA 94704

Bound Together Bookstore 1369 Haight Street San Francisco, CA 94117
Moe’s Books 2476 Telegraph Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704
Wilmot’s Books 478 Central Avenue Alameda, CA 94501

 

Please contact Prisoners Literature Project if you would like to mail a book donation.

The top two book requests are for paper back dictionaries
English and Spanish/English.

Prison Dharma Network

If you have books on contemplative practice (meditation, yoga, mindfulness, etc) you would like to donate (no magazines, please) please send to this address:

Prison Mindfulness Institute http://prisonmindfulness.org/projects/books-behind-bars/

Books to Prisoners

A Seattle-based, all-volunteer, non-profit group that sends free books to prisoners in the U.S.

Books Needed: http://www.bookstoprisoners.net/our-wish-list/

Book donations may be mailed to their volunteer location at University Christian Church:

Books to Prisoners c/o Left Bank Books 92 Pike St. Box A Seattle WA 98101 http://www.bookstoprisoners.net/

Books Through Bars

4722 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143, (215) 727-0882

Books through Bars sends quality reading material to prisoners and encourages creative dialogue on the criminal justice system, thereby educating those living inside and outside of prison walls.

http://www.booksthroughbars.org/

More ideas for getting books into the hands of prisoners

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From: http://www.prisonpenpals.com/booksbehindbars.html

Hold your own local book drive!Call your local college library and ask them what they do with books they take out of their systems. Many give them away, and they could really benefit prisoners.Make book collection boxes to place in lobbies and foyers of schools, churches, businesses whoever will give you permission.Call prisons in your area and ask what their policy is on donating books. If you can donate directly, great!

Please e-mail us and share your experiences and information so we can share it with others!

Books to Prisoners

http://www.bookstoprisoners.net/our-wish-list/

Please send paperback books and limit box weight to 15 pounds maximum

 

Information to support your donation experience

From http://www.prisonpenpals.com/booksbehindbars.html

NEW & SPECIAL NEED: prison librarians have voiced that they would like to have your OLD telephone books.

The prison librarian can use telephone books from all over the USA, since they are often asked for numbers or addresses of business, etc. The librarians have told us that they do not give the prisoners access to the phone books, rather look up the information for them.

If you live for example in California, it may be extremely helpful for a prison in New York to have your phone directory once you are finished with it. The librarians have a hard time collecting telephone directories from out of their area or state, so we are asking you to HELP RECYCLE these used phone books and help a prisoner!

Be sure to mail your directories at the special LOWER BOOK RATE! Some post offices even COLLECT used directories. Why not send SEVERAL to various prisons!! Thank you for your help and caring about prisoners.

Send your books and magazines DIRECT to prison libraries.

Mark your package “Attention Librarian”

   eight to 15 pounds maximum

Many prisoners enjoy readingSend your NEW or USED books and magazines DIRECT to prison libraries!Clean out your closets and SEND PRISON LIBRARIES YOUR BOOKS!