Prisoners Literature Project

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PLP thank you letters — Winter 2022

We’re welcoming in the new year with some more uplifting letters and warm holiday greetings from book recipients. It’s always a treat to pull a letter from the current stack and find artwork or kind words from someone who appreciates our efforts. It’s also gratifying because it confirms our books are making it into the hands of eager readers.

We sometimes get requests for very specific books that we stock via remainder orders. Usually someone has seen the book because another incarcerated person at their facility has received it. Word gets out! Sometimes there’s a flurry of letters from a specific prison because our program information has been passed along. We also stamp the inside of books with our address so even if the book recipient doesn’t receive the invoice with the nice note from a volunteer that we send (some prisons are really strict -ugh) they will know that the books came from us. Whatever it takes!


PLP: ways to help during the 2021 holiday season

Holiday greetings from the Prisoners Literature Project. Thanks for reading, donating and supporting our mission. We’re an inclusive, all-volunteer, grassroots nonprofit whose purpose is to encourage reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and self-determination among incarcerated people. And we’re still sending out 200+ packages of books to 49 U.S. states weekly, with your help.

Following our Giving Tuesday appeal (much appreciated, those who donated money or are still intending to!) we wanted to round out 2021 by listing some other ways that you can help support our work.

– Buying ‘much-requested’ books from our online wishlists

Although we get great book donations, some books require special ordering at the Prisoners Literature Project – especially ones around small business setup, homesteading, urban books, tiny houses, preventing domestic violence & more. We just can’t get enough donated books to meet these requests.

We’d really appreciate some help here.  Instead of donating money or donating your own books, you can also buy these books for us via our wishlist.  Buy a book!  Any title you purchase fromour wishlistwill be sent directly to someone behind bars.  You’ll never find a more grateful reader.

(If you’d prefer to use a wishlist service from a local bookstore, we have a Pegasus Books wishlist  or Books Inc. that you’re welcome to use.)

– Supporting our physical displays at local Bay Area bookstores

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 and free PLP bookmarks:

In the East Bay:
East Bay Booksellers (formerly Diesel Books; 5433 College Ave. Rockridge) 
Moe’s Books (2476 Telegraph Ave in Berkeley)
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)

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

Finally, we wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season. We’re still surviving and thriving with your help, and intend to continue our work for many years to come.

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


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.


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.



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 and help people prepare to lead successful lives after incarceration. 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.