Prisoners Literature Project

Latest News

PLP: Summer 2021 update

Dear supporters and donors to the PLP,

We wanted to update you all on the post-pandemic status of the Prisoners Literature Project (http://www.prisonlit.org), share the packed state of our library thanks to your donations (see above!), and tell you what we’d love your help with.

Firstly, we are back to doing in-person book packing sessions in our Berkeley, CA headquarters (Grassroots House), sending packages of books to incarcerated U.S. folks who request them. We’re using all vaccinated volunteers, masking at all times, and the doors/windows open. We’re doing solo sessions, or running with a limited number of group volunteers (up to 8 per session), so sessions are by invitation only.

If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in being given access to our online calendar so you can pick a session to attend, please visit our ‘volunteering’ page and fill out the Google Form linked there.

(We’re planning to run with this private session format for at least the medium-term. And apologies if we don’t get back to you straight away due to demand.)



Secondly, wanted to share (above) just one of many thank-you letters we’ve been receiving from incarcerated folks. Especially during these rough COVID times, the incarcerated genuinely appreciate getting high quality books for free from us. So thank you for making that possible!

On that front, we’ve been using some of your funds to get great ‘remainder’ books. But we’d love you to consider buying us some of the books on our wishlist. These are some of our most-requested books, but are very tricky for us to find remaindered.

Every book matters, and will be sent to someone who requested it, so help us out if you can! (We also have an alternate wishlist at local bookstore Pegasus Books, if you’d prefer not to use Amazon.)



Finally, we have even more plans for the future. We’ve added a storage unit relatively recently, to help with the overflow of high quality books, we’re working with many local Bay Area book stores to get high quality donations from their customers, and lots more besides.

Overall, we are ramping back up towards sending 250 packages of books per week – so 1,000 packages and 3-4,000 books per month – to the incarcerated across the entire U.S. And we appreciate your financial donations towards postage and other costs to keep doing this. We’ll send out another update later this year!

Thanks again & take care,
Prisoners Literature Project.

A PLP ‘thank you’ – bead art!

Here’s some wonderful bead art sent to us, as a ‘thank you’ from an incarcerated person receiving books from the PLP.


Honoring Black History Month at the PLP

February is Black History Month, and the Prisoners Literature Project is honoring the month by updating our book wishlist with a host of titles themed around the month.

“Black people are disproportionately incarcerated and policed, with Black Americans being almost 5 times more likely to be incarcerated in state and federal prisons than their white counterparts. This consequence of systemic racism motivates PLP to send books to further empower incarcerated people and fight for social justice.”

Please consider buying us some of the books on our wishlist to help us – and the incarcerated people we serve – during Black History Month. And once again, thanks for your support for the PLP – we genuinely appreciate it.


PLP thank you letters – early 2021!

We’re continuing to work through the pandemic here at Prisoners Literature Project, with individual co-ordinators answering letters solo for safety reasons. And we’re still getting lots of thank you letters from grateful prisoners.

So we thought we’d present three of them here – so we can pass along the sense of gratitude prisoners have when we’re able to get them books with your kind help.

So please keep supporting us, and we’ll keep getting books out to incarcerated people in these trying times.


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 exposé 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.)


‘Save the USPS’ T-shirt benefiting PLP!

Great news – this awesome ‘save the USPS’ T-shirt from IWantMyHoneyTV is available for a limited time only here: https://iwantmyhoney.tv.

All proceeds will go to buying U.S. Postal Service stamps to send books to prisoners via the PLP!

(Thanks so much to the IWantHoney.TV crew for getting us involved. We’re a massive fan of the USPS, since we rely on them so much to get books to prisoners!)


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.


PLP & COVID-19 – June update

A quick update: sadly, Prisoners Literature Project still can’t host regular volunteer sessions, and may not be able to for some time, due to COVID-19 and the cramped indoor nature of the library/bookpacking.

We’ve had to return a few hundred prisoner letters (with an apology note) so that we’re not eventually 6 months+ behind on answering requests.

However, Gina and our co-ordinators and special requests crew have been volunteering solo, socially distanced, and we’re still managing to send out about 80-100 book packages per week. Thanks so much to them!

And here is a thank you letter we received recently – so it’s good that packages are still getting through, even in this difficult time:



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.