Prisoners Literature Project

Announcements

New initiative: Bay Area book stores support PLP!

The Prisoners Literature Project is excited to launch a new initiative working with local bookstores in the Bay Area, highlighting books that can be bought for prisoners directly at high-quality independent book stores.

Please shop at these excellent stores who all gave up precious space to support the PLP – whether you buy books for prisoners or just as Christmas or post-holiday presents! 

The following bookstores have set up display shelves with books to donate to the PLP. Each display features:

– a sign with the PLP logo
– paperbacks customers can buy for those inside
 – flyers about PLP’s ongoing work
– free PLP bookmarks.

In the East Bay:
East Bay Booksellers (formerly Diesel Books; 5433 College Ave. Rockridge) 
Pegasus Books (in downtown Berkeley at 2349 Shattuck Ave & at 1855 Solano Ave., Berkeley.)
Owl & Company Bookshop (3941 Piedmont Ave., Oakland)
Walden Pond Books (3316 Grand Ave, Oakland)
Marcus Books (3900 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland) has a donation jar for the PLP, and an incredible selection of African-American titles.

in San Francisco:
Green Apple Books on the Park (1231 9th Ave, SF)
Dog Eared Books Castro (Their display of LGBTQ titles was compiled with invaluable input from PLP volunteers and Madison’s LGBT Books-to-Prisoners.)

Of course, none of this would be possible without the long-term support of stores like Moe’s Books (at 2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley); and the Mothership, the Bound Together Bookstore (1369 Haight St., SF).

(Thanks to PLP volunteers Peter, Jamie, Bruno, Ali, Gina & others for their help setting this up!)

And special thanks to Nick and Kar who independently cooked up this idea and inspired us, and created this giant display for the PLP at Green Apple Books on 9th Ave in SF.

Belly Of The Beast documentary debuts PLP book drive

The Belly Of The Beast documentary, “An exposĂ© of human rights abuses in women’s prisons, highlighting modern-day eugenics & reproductive injustice”, has announced a holiday book drive in association with the Prisoners Literature Project.

Here’s the full information from the film’s Twitter feed:

More information on the documentary itself and how to view it is available on the film’s official website. We’d like to thank them for their kind partnership.


Thanks to our ‘raising $ for the USPS’ friends!

Sadly, the U.S. Postal Service – which we find vital for sending books to prisoners – continues to be under attack.

So the Prisoners Literature Project would like to thank two different organizations who made kind donations to the PLP, so that we could use them on postage for ‘books to prisoners’ mail.

Firstly, the crew at IWantMyHoney.TV raised $3,000 for the PLP via their super cool ‘Save The USPS’ T-shirt benefit they ran in September. Thanks so much to them.

(Also, keep checking out the IWantMyHoney Instagram for regular T-shirt drops, a number of which are social justice related!)

Secondly, the F Mag & Kingsboro Press mail art auction on eBay – which auctioned off many pieces of art on envelopes that were sent through the mail – raised thousands of dollars for multiple recipients.

PLP was lucky enough to be pledged $800 from that auction – thanks to everyone involved in that – here’s some info about the art from the (now ended) auction.

Finally, many of you have donated money or sent stamps, so thanks again for this! (If you do want to send us stamps, you can do so to the 2022 Blake St. address, but please try to send $1 or $2 stamps if possible! Thanks.)


Help PLP by buying from our book wishlist!

Although we started it a few months ago, we haven’t been publicizing our Amazon wishlist for ‘special requests’ too much.

But since our co-ordinators and ‘special request’ fulfillers are still hard at work (albeit one person at a time due to COVID restrictions), we thought we’d put out a more specific call for people to buy books from this list.

Each of the titles is listed with a priority and the amount of needed copies, so if you’d like to buy one or multiple, we’d love you to help out!

Prisoners will be really happy to receive one of these practical, useful, or inspiring books that can change their outlook during a tough time for prisons, many of whom are affected very badly by the COVID outbreak.

Thanks in advance for your help.


A wonderful new thank-you letter!

Sadly, PLP is still out of action because COVID-19 means we can’t meet and pick/pack books.

But a couple of co-ordinators are going in individually to send out just a few packages, & Gina kindly passed along this wonderful thank-you letter from a prisoner. (The start is attached, and the rest transcribed below.)

“To whom it may concern, Wow: first off, I would really like to thank you all for the amazing gift of these books. You will never know how much this has meant to me to receive not only the books, but your thoughts and wishes.

I am a lifer – I’ve been down now almost 19 years, and these are the very first books I’ve gotten…

Just the simple fact that you take the time out of your busy day to do this for convicts who are viewed by the public as unfit or not worth trying to help or educate is truly uplifting to the to the hopeless ordeal I find myself inI’m in a max prison with only my thoughts and these books to keep me company, so I would hope you can truly understand the need I have for such a blessing like this. So thank you once again…

I just recently read a few books that have not only lifted my spirits but changed my outlook on life, so please keep them coming.”


IMPORTANT: PLP suspending volunteer sessions.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Prisoner Literature Project is suspending Wednesday and Sunday volunteer sessions until further notice.

This is due to a new California declaration that ‘smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person’. In our cramped space, it is unfortunately not possible to do that.

(Details on the executive order: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/12/governor-newsom-issues-new-executive-order-further-enhancing-state-and-local-governments-ability-to-respond-to-covid-19-pandemic/.)

We hope to be back to normal soon, and thanks everyone for supporting us during this difficult time.


NPR talks banned books & prisons.

A new NPR article is delving into why books are banned in U.S. prisons, with some interesting quotes from prison officials and activists.

The piece, readable here, has some notable quotes, including this:

“It’s so important for people who are in prison to be able to have access to materials that give them hope and a reason to want to be part of society again, to want to engage, to see the future,” says Rebecca Ginsburg of the Education Justice Project. She says she was shocked and angry when she learned the books had been removed from her program’s library at Danville.

Read the full piece on the NPR website, and please keep supporting the PLP so we can get the right books to prisoners across the U.S.!


Curbed recommends PLP for book donations!

This article from Curbed SF mentions Prisoners Literature Project as a good place to donate your unwanted books!

https://sf.curbed.com/2019/1/24/18182230/donate-books-clothes-furniture-cleaning-marie-kondo-where

(We dig this a lot, but reminder: please try to taylor physical book donations to those on our donation list – https://www.prisonlit.org/donate/ – tho we’re also looking for sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks recently.)


Holiday greetings (& session times!) from PLP

Happy holidays from the Prisoners Literature Project!

A couple of notes and thank you-s from us as we wrap up this year at PLP:

We won’t be having a volunteer session on December 25th (Wednesday evening!) because it’s CHRISTMAS, haha. But we have sessions all the other Sundays and Wednesday (including New Year’s Day) over the 2019 holidays.

We’re so happy for your monetary support throughout this entire year, and November and December have been banner months for PLP fundraising, with more than $10,000 raised (!) from donations large and small.

The Howard Zinn Book Festival was a great event for us, and we raised nearly $1,000 there too from selling remaindered books and other donations. (Picture from our stand included!)

Thank you SO much if you donated – it helps massively with us buying remaindered books and special requests, as well as our postage costs, which hover between $3,000 and $4,000 every month due to the 1,000+ packages we send out to prisoners.

We’d still love donations before year end, though, since our running costs keep mounting up. If you’d like to keep helping or donate for the first time before the end of 2019 (it’s tax deductible!), please do so via our ‘Donate’ page – http://www.prisonlit.org/donate/

And of course, many thanks to all of our session co-ordinators and volunteers for picking out books and packing them – and especially to ‘secret Santas’ Bruno & Gina for continuing to do such great work after so many years.

Take care and have a great holiday season, all!


Come see PLP at the Howard Zinn Book Fair!

The Howard Zinn Book Fair is happening on Sunday, December 8th in San Francisco, and Prisoners Literature Project will have a table there selling surplus books & taking donations!

Come see us: https://howardzinnbookfair.com/



About the Prisoners Literature Project

The Prisoners Literature Project is an inclusive, all-volunteer, grassroots nonprofit whose purpose is to encourage reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and self-determination among incarcerated people. By sending free reading materials to those behind bars, PLP aims to foster learning and critical thinking. We believe that all people have a right to read.

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.

Prisoners – want books?

Mailing address for U.S. prisoner book requests: Prisoner Literature Project c/o Bound Together Books 1369 Haight St San Francisco, CA 94117 There's more info here on what else prisoners need to include with their requests.