Prison Book Project

A couple weekends ago, I joined a handful of members of my church to volunteer at Open Books. This is a completely non-profit, volunteer-run bookstore in our area. Open Books supports the Prison Book Project, sending thousands of books each year to indigent inmates in Florida prisons, where libraries and educational opportunities are insufficient.

Why send books to inmates? Check out the response from a recent survey which asked prisoners about books and the role they play in their lives.

We opened letters from prisoners, trying our best to fulfill their book requests, getting as close as possible to the author/genre they specified. There were a lot of requests for dictionaries, thesauruses, and Bibles. I opened a particularly touching letter from a 46-year-old who was losing his eyesight. All he requested was a large print Bible. We found the only one in the store, as well as a couple other large print titles we thought he might enjoy. World Book Night donated a ton of great books. Then we packaged them up for mailing. That particular weekend, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans provided the funds to mail the books.

Interested in helping out? Donating books? (This is a great cause if you need an outlet to offload already read ARCs). There might be a prison book program serving your area.

What bookish charities/projects are in your area?