Prisoners Literature Project

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PLP needs your help this Giving Tuesday!

Now that Giving Tuesday is nearly upon us, we wanted to update you all on the Prisoners Literature Project‘s efforts to send books to incarcerated people throughout the U.S., and explain how we need your help.

Since COVID restrictions have partially lifted, we’ve gathered volunteer groups in our Berkeley, CA headquarters to pack much-needed books for incarcerated folks. We’ve been sending out as many as 350 book packages per week, as we catch up on our backlog.

But what we hadn’t bargained on was the USPS raising its Media Mail rates by more than 10% at the end of August. This – combined with the extra packages – has meant that we’ve been spending up to $7,000 per month (!) on postage in recent months.

So we’d deeply appreciate your help for Giving Tuesday by donating to help pay our postage costs.

Both one-off and recurring donations are needed. And feel free to contact us if you need to donate via an alternative platform (donor advised fund, check, crypto, etc.)



This Thanksgiving, we’d like to thank you for your help in making PLP a success. We’re a grassroots, all-volunteer organization where 100% of donations go directly towards our core goal. And we couldn’t do it without you.

Thanks so much,
Prisoners Literature Project co-ordinators and volunteers.

PS – while we’re keeping Grassroots House as our HQ, we’re running out of space! We’re looking for an extra inexpensive 1,000+ sq. ft space in – or close to – Berkeley, CA where we can run group volunteer sessions, store books, etc. If you can help, please contact us.

Gratitude Poem

We love getting feedback from book recipients. This arrived in the mail recently and we are sharing it here with the permission of author.


PLP thank you letters – Fall 2021!

Volunteers have continued to send out many, many packages each month in response to letters received from incarcerated people. They often comment that their facility libraries are still closed due to COVID. So, our efforts here at the Prisoners Literature Project continue to be a lifeline for keen readers. Here are some thank you notes that we’ve received from happy book recipients. We LOVE these letters!


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.)



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.