Prisoners Literature Project

Volunteer

Volunteer with us!

The Prisoners Literature Project is based in Berkeley, California, and we’re always looking for volunteers to help answer letters, send out books, learn more about the prison system, and assist in other ways.

We currently meet on Sundays from 2-6pm and on Wednesdays from 6:30-9:30pm at the Grassroots House.  This is located at 2022 Blake St. (at Milvia), Berkeley, CA 94704.  (Map – there’s plenty of local parking, and the office is walkable in 11-15 minutes from downtown Berkeley BART or Ashby BART  – also, AC Transit bus #18 stops nearby.)

(NEW: we also have monthly ‘chilled-out’ Sunday morning volunteer sessions, for those who find traditional Sunday afternoon sessions too busy. The next ones are on Sunday, September 16th from 10am to 2pm & Sunday, October 14th from 10am to 2pm before the regular session.)

We welcome helpers of any age and experience at our volunteer sessions (here’s what they look like!), and are also very happy to host students looking for community service.  You should read a lot, have neat legible handwriting, and be able to follow the rules to get books into prisons. We don’t make the rules, but we do have to follow them!

You don’t need to pre-register, but it is your first time attending, please identify yourself to our co-ordinator for the session so they can briefly train you – it should only take 5 minutes. For anyone curious on what you have to do onsite, here’s the training information that the co-ordinator will go through with you.

Bringing more than four people? Please contact us first so we can better accommodate your group. (BTW, we maintain ‘call for volunteer’ listings on VolunteerMatch.org, on Idealist.org, and on AllForGood.org, so you might have seen us there!)

[Note on our code of conduct: The PLP strives to be an inclusive, friendly and collaborative group. We ask volunteers to always use helpful and respectful communication. Participants asked, by anyone, to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, talk to a volunteer session coordinator.]

Please note that we can’t accept prisoner book requests at the Berkeley address.  Book requests from U.S. prisoners must be mailed to PLP; c/o Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117.

Other ways to help?

If you can’t make it in-person to our volunteer sessions, we’d still love your help.  In particular, we’re looking for donations — both one-time and recurring — to help pay for postage on the hundreds of book packages we send out monthly.

Other things we’d love help with include:  fundraising efforts, publicity, and contacting publishers and distributors to get multiple copies of our most sought-after books.  We need to keep building our reserves — and further reduce our request backlog.

Got more ideas?  Come to a meeting and share them with us!

 

About the Prisoners Literature Project

The Prisoners Literature Project is an all-volunteer grassroots group that sends hundreds of free book packages to needy prisoners in the United States every month.

Please consider donating to the PLP or volunteering your time (if you live in the Bay Area, CA!) to help us answer letters from prisoners who write us from all over the United States.

Latest News
Pennsylvania blocking ‘books to prisoners’ orgs!
Sep 2018

Some major changes have been announced for Pennsylvania’s prison mail system which mean books-to-prisoners organizations may be permanently barred from sending to the state!


Sci-fi eBook Storybundle – benefiting the PLP!
Sep 2018

The latest sci-fi eBook Storybundle – featuring a bunch of books from Michael Moorcock & Nick Mamatas, among others – is benefiting the Prisoners Literature Project or Books Through Bars as the optional charity.


PLP & Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair – volunteers needed!
Aug 2018

HEADS UP: the Prisoners Literature Project will be at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair on September 15th, and we’d love to see you there!