Prison Books Collective needs a new home (again!)

We are again looking for a new home, by the end of May!! Please help. From April 2016 to now, we have been renting a room in a business in Durham. We have appreciated our new home and have gained many new volunteers, but we can’t afford the rent!! It is costing us $300/month to rent the space, and we really need that money to send books!  Our current lease ends on May 31, and we’d like to have a new place by late April.

A brief description of our needs: a space to store our books, folding tables and chairs, space for letters and office supplies, and room to have at least one weekly workday with 10-12 volunteers. We need a space that’s open and accessible to volunteers, that has parking and access to a bathroom, along with electricity (ideally heat and AC).

One idea is to share space with a church or non-profit. We’re ideally looking for a free space, but may be able to afford a small amount of monthly rent ($50-$100). We are hoping to stay in the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. We’d also consider further out, if the space was free and met our needs!

If you have contacts with any groups that have space they can share with us, or if you have a space we can use, let us know!! Email us at prisonbooks@gmail.com or post on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/prisonbookscollective/

What are our basic needs?

  • Shelves for books along one or more walls (our current shelves are about 15 feet across, by 8 feet high)
  • Access to a bathroom (it can be in an adjacent building, as long as it’s open to volunteers)
  • Space for a file cabinet for storing zines, and space to store letters and office supplies
  • Room for 2-3 folding tables and 10-12 folding chairs to be stored
  • Weekly use of the space for a 3 hours session (We’ve always had our workdays on Sunday afternoons, but we can shift if needed.)
  • Parking: about 5-6 cars, plus occasionally more when we have a group
  • Climate-controlled space without humidity problems and with heat. Ideally AC, but we can deal without. (We’ve worked for years out of garage-like spaces but climate control helps protect books and keep volunteers comfortable)
  • Occasional collective meetings in the space
  • The ability to share the address of the space with the public when we advertise our volunteer workdays via our website, fliers and Facebook, etc.

Our wishes:

  • Access to the space for collective members on non-workdays, to drop off supplies, pick up packages to mail, pick up book donations, sort and shelve books, etc.
  • Group nights (we sometimes have larger groups want to volunteer with us, and we’d like the option to host them on a different day than our regular workday)
  • Ability to receive mailed boxes of books (we occasionally get book donations from publishers, and they mail us the books)
  • Occasional book sales (about 2 times/year). This would involve: The week prior, storing boxes of books in the space. The day before, setting up. The day of, taking over the space we use for the workday (or another space, if our new home has a different space in mind)
  • Being able to host fundraisers. We had a comedy show once. Maybe bingo

Please share this post with others in your network, let us know if you have ideas for a space (prisonbooks@gmail.com). And if you’re able, we’d appreciate a donation to offset costs of the move (and our weekly postage expenses to mail books!).