Prison Library Project

Prison Library Project

Mission

The Prison Library Project’s mission is to provide free reading materials to inmates nationwide. We prioritize educational and self-help literature as well as recognize the value of literacy development through active engagement with books in general.

Our goal is to promote literacy, personal responsibility, reflection, and growth.

History

Located in the Claremont Forum’s Bookshop & Gallery in Claremont’s historic Citrus Packing House, The Prison Library Project was been a Claremont institution since 1986 and is now a major service project of the Claremont Forum.

The Prison Library Project has grown into a sizable volunteer organization with a distinct vision and identity. The purpose of the Project is to supply books, free of charge, to any inmate who requests them. We try to provide an ongoing invitation to prisoners to embrace responsibility, growth, and a deeper appreciation for the world of books, ideas, and education.

Volunteer Based

The Prison Library Project is a volunteer community service project. The program is led and sustained by volunteers and donors who believe in sharing books to prisoners and bringing compassion and education to the men and women who reach out to us. 

Mission

The Prison Library Project’s mission is to provide free reading materials to inmates nationwide. We prioritize educational and self-help literature as well as recognize the value of literacy development through active engagement with books in general.

Our goal is to promote literacy, personal responsibility, reflection, and growth.

History

Located in the Claremont Forum’s Bookshop & Gallery in Claremont’s historic Citrus Packing House, The Prison Library Project was been a Claremont institution since 1986 and is now a major service project of the Claremont Forum.

The Prison Library Project has grown into a sizable volunteer organization with a distinct vision and identity. The purpose of the Project is to supply books, free of charge, to any inmate who requests them. We try to provide an ongoing invitation to prisoners to embrace responsibility, growth, and a deeper appreciation for the world of books, ideas, and education.

Volunteer Based

The Prison Library Project is a volunteer community service project. The program is led and sustained by volunteers and donors who believe in sharing books to prisoners and bringing compassion and education to the men and women who reach out to us. 

What We Do

The PLP receives more than 300 letters a week from inmates in 600 state and federal prisons and detention centers throughout the United States.

We mail over 15,000 packages of books each year to individual inmates. We also send boxes of books to prison librarians, educators, and chaplains. Our weekly postage bill is about $600. We raised and spent over $32,000 in postage in 2018.

 

Perspective

We affirm and respect the basic human rights of every person whether or not they are incarcerated and believe that intellectual freedom is in the public interest. We support an informed citizen base and assert that all people have a right to access information.

Prison book program unity statement

What We Do

The PLP receives more than 300 letters a week from inmates in 600 state and federal prisons and detention centers throughout the United States.
We mail over 15,000 packages of books each year to individual inmates. We also send boxes of books to prison librarians, educators, and chaplains. Our weekly postage bill is about $600. We raised and spent over $32,000 in postage in 2018.

Perspective

We affirm and respect the basic human rights of every person whether or not they are incarcerated and believe that intellectual freedom is in the public interest. We support an informed citizen base and assert that all people have a right to access information.

Prison book program unity statement

The puzzle and soduko books help me pass the time and use my mind. Thank you for caring about people in prison.

“There are very few book projects that serve Wisconsin prisoners these days. Thank you for doing this project, and thank you very much for the wonderful book you sent me.” Adam, Black River Falls, WI.

The dictionary helps me study! I am getting my high school diploma in here soon. Thank you!"

I've learned a lot in prison. I guess that was the point! The prison doesn't provide the kind of books I really need, the PLP does. Fiction helps me escape, helps me see the world from another perspective. I've reread the books you sent me many times. I look forward to new books so much. Thank you for what you do.

Thank you for the dictionary. It has been put to good use! It has helped me get through the GED program. I am being released in a few months and I will leave the dictionary to a friend who is also earning his GED. It is nice to know people are out there who still care. I'm looking forward to starting my life again.

I'm finally learning how to read and spell!

I have read and re-read "The Man I Was Destined to Be: Addiction, Incarceration, and the Road Back to God." It was just the book I needed, even though I didn't even know it existed. This book is helping me so much. Thank you

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Donations
Percentage of your donation which goes to the PLP
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Fulfilled Requests
Percentage of letters we are able to fulfill with a book.
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Dictionary Requests
Percentage of letters requesting dictionaries..
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Inmates Released
Percentage of inmates who leave prison

Dictionary Program

Why Are Dictionaries So Important?

Dictionaries represent about 25% of the requests we receive, and we send out approximately 200 dictionaries per month at a cost of roughly $1,000 (plus postage). However, we must purchase NEW dictionaries because, in most states, prisoners are not allowed to receive used dictionaries. Sadly, we are not currently able to respond to all requests for dictionaries, because of the expense to purchase new ones.

Dictionaries are a vital resource for inmates completing educational programs while incarcerated. We know that inmates who complete their education have a 43% lower rate of recidivism. The PLP believes in supporting these men and women with much-needed tools to improve their chance of success.

“When the prison gates slam behind an inmate, he does not lose his human quality; his mind does not become closed to ideas; his intellect does not cease to feed on a free and open interchange of opinions; his yearning for self-respect does not end; nor is his quest for self-realization concluded.  If anything, the needs for identity and self-respect are more compelling in the dehumanizing prison environment.”

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1974

We Need Your Help
Donate books, donate time, support us on Amazon.com

Dictionary Drive

Please help us purchase 1000 urgently needed dictionaries! We have many requests from inmates looking for dictionaries to help them complete vital educational programs.

We need to raise $5200 to purchase 1000 dictionaries. Your donation will go directly to purchasing a new dictionary for an inmate in need.

Thank you!