Our library has been built entirely with books donated by community members. We answer letters every week and mail packages at least once a month. However, our shelf space is limited, there are a lot of books that inmates do not request, and prisons put limits on what we can send. For these reasons we ask that people donate the following highly requested subjects/genres:
Most in need of:
- Role-Playing Games (especially Dungeons & Dragons)
- Spanish Language Books/ Dictionaries
- How To Books, e.g. Electrical Wiring, Carpentry, and Homesteading
- How to Draw or Paint (no nude images)
- Finance/Small Business/ Stock Market
- Urban Fiction
- Graphic Novels and Manga
- Health/Fitness/Nutrition (consider whether it would be applicable to an inmate)
- Science Fiction/ Fantasy
- True Crime
- Mysteries/ Thrillers
- African American History, particularly the Black Power Movement
- Self-Help (consider whether it would be applicable to an inmate)
- Conspiracy Theories
- Basic Math (no statistics books please)
- Legal (specifically inmate issues and interests)
- Medical Dictionaries and Anatomy Books
Magazines – many are not of interest due to their timeliness but we would welcome:
- National Geographic
- Popular Science & Nature
- Popular Mechanics
- Homesteading and Off-grid
Please do not donate hardcover or spiral-bound books. Many facilities do not accept them and hardcovers are expensive to mail. If you would like to donate to us directly, please contact us via email.
We have donation a bin at Last Word Books in downtown Olympia and at our space in The Center for Community Based Learning and Action on The Evergreen State College Olympia campus.
If you have books to get rid of that are not of interest to inmates, but you still want to support this project, please consider selling them at Orca Books or at Last Word Books and asking that the credit be applied to the Books to Prisoners account. We can use this credit to fill holes in our library and meet unusual requests.
And finally, if you are interested in donating books to institutional libraries, please check out this link: Institutional Library Services.