How to Organize a Book Drive
Book drives are a great strategy to connect with people behind bars, resist the isolating effect of prisons, and raise public awareness. Below are tips for how to organize a book drive. You can also contact existing resources to explore book drive options.
- Create a suggested list of books.
- Ask for paperback (soft cover) books instead of hardcover.
- If you plan to donate books to incarcerated kids and youth, make sure there’s no explicit sexual content.
- You can also contact these book venders for reduced prisoner rates.
Receiving book donations:
- Choose an address where you can receive donated books.
- If possible, use a business address where packages can be delivered throughout the day.
- If you don’t have a business address you can use and don’t want to use your home address, try reaching out to organizations in your community and ask if one would be willing to receive books for your book drive.
Selecting site for donations:
- Find and select a local jail, detention center, juvenile hall, or prison that accepts book donations.
- If you are not aware of institutions in your region, search for “juvenile hall,” “county jail,” “state prison,” or “immigration detention centers” on a map of your town, city, or state.
Distributing book donations:
- Seek out groups (non-profits, faith-based, etc.) who have access to these institutions and ask them if they would be willing share/distribute books from your book drive.
- At some institutions, books have a much higher chance of reaching incarcerated people if non-prison staff who run prison programs help make sure they get in.
- If you cannot find willing people or groups with access, contact the administration of the institution and ask for instructions on how to donate books.