How to donate books to prisons

Written by ashia sims
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Whenever someone interviews a well-known prisoner, one of the main things they say they did to expand their minds while in prison was to read. Some people may wonder how prisoners get access to all of these different types of books, especially since they can’t just run to the local bookstore and pick something up. According to the Prison Book Program website, “Prison educational programs have been drastically cut and most prisoners cannot afford to buy their own books. Most prisons do not allow family and friends to send books into prisons; they must come from a bookstore or publisher.” However, programs like the Prison Book Program do invite individuals to help out in various ways and donating books is one of them.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Time for research
  • Books to donate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Before you put all of your used books in a box and prepare to ship them off to the local prison, do some research. There are many different programs like the Prison Book Program that provides books to prisons. If you don’t know where to start, go to Google and type in “donate books to prisons”. You should get a good number of programs that way to start. You could also call the prison in your area and ask about their policy on book donations. They may allow them or they may refer you to additional programs.

  2. 2

    You may be surprised at the number of programs that donate books to prisons. Make a list of the ones that you want to support and research their donation policies. You may be able to go in and volunteer directly with an organisation in your area.

  3. 3

    Now that you have a list of different programs, you can start gathering up books. If you’re going to donate books, it would be best for you to donate as many as possible rather than just sending one book at a time. There are many different ways to gather books to donate. You can go through all of your books and set aside ones you don’t read or ever plan to read.

    • You can organise a book drive.

    • You can reach out to different publishing companies or book stores and request books from them. It is possible that not all publishers and bookstores participate in a prison book donation program.

  4. 4

    Once you have gathered up a good number of books, do an inventory of what you have. Make sure all of the books meet any content or condition requirements set by the different organisations.

  5. 5

    You should be prepared to send the books you’ve collected. Go back to the website of the organisation(s) you will be making a donation to and double check their donation requirements. You don’t want to send the books the wrong way and have them be rejected or sent back for any reason.

  6. 6

    Now that you know how to do this, rinse and repeat. Make it something you do on a regular basis. With prison education programs being cut, books are always needed and appreciated. Don’t make this just a one time thing.

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