Prisoners Literature Project

Latest News

New initiative: Bay Area book stores support PLP!

The Prisoners Literature Project is proud to announce 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.

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)
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!)


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:


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.


Mini-documentary on PLP-inspired B2P program

This great mini-documentary on Nancy Frank, who runs the boutique Adobe Books to Prisoners service out of San Francisco, specifically cites PLP as her original inspiration.

Check it out:


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.)



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.

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.