There are three main ways that you can donate to the Prisoners Literature Project: donating money, buying books from our wishlist, and donating books to us directly. Here’s how you can do each of these:
Donate Money To The PLP!
At the Prisoners Literature Project, we’re all volunteers, but average postage on a book package runs more than $3.50. We currently send out more than 200 book packages to prisoners each week — which means we spend almost $3,000 every month just for postage. In short: Every dollar counts. We need to increase our funding to catch up with our backlog of book requests – both paying for postage, and for buying special requests (included much-needed dictionaries) for prisoners.
Think of it this way:
A single $25 donation will get much-needed books to seven U.S. prisoners. A recurring payment of $10 a month will get books to three prisoners every month, or nearly 40 packages – about 120 books – across an entire year.
You can also make checks payable to the Prisoners Literature Project and mail them to Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117.
Buy ‘Most Wanted’ Books From Our Wishlist!
Some books are always in high demand at the Prisoners Literature Project – especially dictionaries, small business how-tos, and ‘learning a trade’ manuals. We just can’t get enough of these books to meet the constant requests.
We’d really appreciate some help here. Instead of donating money (see above!) or donating your own books (see below!), you can now buy these books for us via our Powell’s wishlist. Buy a book! Any title you purchase from our wishlist will be sent directly to someone behind bars. You’ll never find a more grateful reader.
Donate Your Own Unwanted Books!
For anyone local to the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ll gladly accept in-person donations of any good quality books. We can use any good quality books. Those that aren’t suitable to send directly to prisoners can be put to use in several other ways that will benefit the PLP. We always need paperbacks in good condition to pass on to prisons. Nice hardbacks are also useful — especially larger, modern textbooks in current editions and other quality books.
The most common book requests from prisoners are for:
– dictionaries of all kinds (including ASL sign language); thesauruses, almanacs, GED test prep materials, and other paperback reference books
– how-to books: drawing, origami, chess, construction, gardening, etc.
– books on African-American, Latino, and Native American history and culture
– books on politics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, science, mathematics
– fiction by or about people of color
– classic literature (in English or Spanish)
– books on meditation, yoga, and bodyweight exercises
Book donations to the PLP are welcome at any of these locations. Please write “PLP” on the bag or box of books, so others know the books are intended for us:
Moe’s Books (2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704) [Please write “PLP” on the bag or box of books!]
Grassroots House (2022 Blake St (off Shattuck Ave), Berkeley, CA 94704) Best to drop books off during our Wednesday or Sunday meetings; if you need to, you can also leave them on our porch.
Bound Together Books (1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, 94117) Hours are 11.30am to 7.30pm daily but call ahead [415 – 431-8355] to check someone will be there.
Please try to give us ‘any good book’ and try to stick to donations that are at least 30-50% the kind of books that we recommend above – we sometimes get inundated by ‘leftover’ books and they get a bit difficult to manage! You can also donate books and other items in the PLP’s name to Community Thrift Store on Valencia St. in SF, and we will benefit.
If you’re outside of the Bay Area, you’re welcome to use our BookMooch account to give us books or points – or please contact us if you would like to mail us a book donation. And please note that we also accept donations of shipping supplies such as U.S. postal stamps, transparent packing tape, and large manila envelopes (at least 9 x 12 inch; no padding).