Get Involved

There are a lot of ways to help the Prison Books Collective put free literature and educational materials into the hands of prisoners. We are always in need of your support. Every bit of help counts, whether it be volunteering your time, your experience, or making a donation to the project. Feel Free to contact us at for more information.


Our biggest need right now is for more volunteers to help us fill prisoner book requests. We are 4 months behind on filling requests (as of April 2016). The work is very fulfilling: read a letter from a prisoner, find some books in our library and package them for mailing. If you would like to help, come by our workspace and we’ll get you started. There’s no need to sign up ahead of time and you can stay for as long as you wish.

Workdays are on Sundays at 1pm, and our NEW space is located at 2811 Hillsborough Road, Durham, NC 27705 (as of April 2, 2016). We are renting a room from Recyclique (so look for the Recyclique sign out front, and then park in back). If you’re interested in helping out, but can’t make a workday, or if you have any questions, drop us an email at We are also always in need of help organizing fundraisers, teach-ins, and publicity. We are also considering having bonus workdays on a weeknight here and there (likely a Tuesday),  if that interests you, drop us a line. And if you’re part of a group that would like to volunteer together, we would probably schedule you for a Tuesday evening.

Contribute Financially

We are a non-profit organization, relying solely on donations for our operating expenses, which primarily include the cost of postage for mailing packages. We typically spend $100 a week on postage, and are in desperate need of support. On this website you can make a one-time donation or sign up to be a “sustainer“, whereby a small sum (you choose the amount) is automatically deducted from your bank account every month. $10 per month sends over a hundred books into prison per year. Go here and then follow the directions to become a sustainer.

You can also write us a check, made payable to “Prison Books Collective.” Checks can be sent to:
Prison Books Collective
PO Box 625
Carrboro, NC 27510

Donate Books

At this time, we are NOT accepting book donations. We just moved to a new space on April 2, 2016, and it is much smaller than our old space. So we already had to put a lot of books into storage. Please check back with us in mid to late May 2016.

When we do start accepting book donations again, here are our guidelines:
Most prisons do not allow hardcover books, therefore we can only send paperback books to prisoners. Donations must be in good condition. Also, we can use most non-fiction and fiction if it is in new or very good condition. These books can either be sold online or through book sales to raise money for postage. Each $3 that we raise is another prisoner that we can get books to.


  • Dictionaries (English, Spanish-English, and Law…)
  • African-American history, politics, culture
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X and/or books about MLK, Jr.
  • Latin American history, politics, culture
  • GED or Basic Education Materials
  • ESL books
  • Books in Spanish
  • Books about starting or running your own business
  • Yoga, meditation, and other spiritual disciplines (such as Wicca)
  • How-to books on art, carpentry, and other trades
  • Health—particularly HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and Tuberculosis
  • Books on social movements and liberation struggles

Please email us if you have books to donate, and we’ll arrange a pick-up or drop-off at our new space in Durham:

Book Drives and Book Drop Off Sites

Please contact us if your business, church, or other organization would like to serve as a book drop off center and/or hold a book drive!

Service Learning

Does your school, college or university have a service learning requirement? We welcome high school and college students to complete their requirements with us. We can fill out whatever paperwork is necessary. If you are interested, please talk to a member of the core group at one of our packing sessions or email

Donate Other Materials

We are also in constant need of photocopying services to copy our letterhead, and many zines. We could also use more large clasp envelopes. Please consider donating the following items:

  • Photocopying services (to copy our zines and other materials)
  • Clasp envelopes (9″ x 12″ and 10″ x 13″)
  • Packing materials
  • Brown paper bags
  • Packing tape
  • Laptop computer
  • Shipping tape dispensers
  • Sharpies
  • Gift certificates to OfficeMax, Staples, etc.
  • Stamps

Bi-Monthly Collective Meetings

In addition to our weekly workdays, the group holds a collective meeting about every other month, where we plan fundraising initiatives, brainstorm future projects, discuss priorities, and generally assess how things are going. There are no presidents or “chairmen,” and all decisions are made by consensus. To attend collective meetings, we ask that participants have a long-term commitment to the group, and broadly share our vision for a world without prisons. If you have questions about this, feel free to drop us an email, or come to one of our workdays.


  1. Jonathan

    Do you have a need for fiction? (unused)

    1. prisonbookscollective

      Yes, always. You can drop them off at Internationalist Books, which is located at 405 W Franklin St.Thanks so much.

  2. Nichelle Turentine

    I have a loved one on the SHU at Wabash in Indiana and he is experiencing similar acts. There is supposed to be a demonstration at the State one day this week do you know anything about that? I will help in any way possible.

    1. prisonbookscollective

      We haven’t heard anything, but if we do we will definitely post it on our blog. I’m sorry to hear that your loved one is on the SHU.

  3. yvette lopez

    i would like to get involved on shipping books and writing back to prisoners. And i was wondering if I would be able to get the monthly political prisoner bday reminder fliers??? my address is 1720 maple ave, bakersfield ca 93304 my name is eevee

  4. Holly

    Hi. I work at The Sun magazine and we would love to donate 1,000 copies of our book Sunbeams. Is that something I can arrange with you?
    My name is Holly and you can reach me at

  5. Kirstee

    I’m a big fan of what you guys do. I am a penfriend to two inmates so am behind any action to improve their situations.
    One point – in your list of subject matters, ‘Queer studies’ seems a rather inappropriate term.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. prisonbookscollective

      Kirstee – Thanks for you support!

      “Queer” is actually a very typical, contemporary word that a lot of GLBT folks use and self-identify with, as well as a word that is used to refer to writing and research which delves into gender, feminism, and sexuality in a subversive or radical way. We’re using it in this sense, certainly not in the old fashioned, homophobic fashion.

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  7. houstonabc

    I am not sure where to post this, but just wanted to let you know that Phil Africa’s birthday is May 11, not in January. He wrote us to let us know he always receives lots of cards in Januray/February, and it is lovely, but his birthday is actually May 11.
    Houston ABC

    1. prisonbookscollective

      Wow – thanks – we ll fix it in our databse!


  8. Scarlett Jensen

    I am Scarlett Jensen, author of the book The Angel with Burnt Wings. It is a prison book based on real life experiences of Alice who spend many years in a South African prison. The book is an aid to rehabilitation. I offer free ebooks to you may you be interested. My email is

    Thank you

    1. Melissa

      Hello Ms. Jensen. I am looking for different types of books for my fiancée that is incarcerated. If you would be willing to send some please contact me. I appreciate it very much!

      1. scarlettjensenauthor

        Dear Melissa, here is your free ebook coupon:

        Visit http//
        Enter code: 10800000045493
        Enter your details and submit
        Select your desired E-book type
        Download your free E – book

        This book will also have value for you.

        Scarlett Jensen: author of “The Angel with Burnt Wings”

      2. prisonbookscollective

        Hello Melissa – where is your fiancee incarcerated? What is his address and what kind of books would he like? You can also email us at prisonbooks@gmail.ocom

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  11. Pingback: Prison Books Collective brings literature to inmates

  12. Hannah

    Is there a need for any medical books? I see you are interested in health books – I may have access to paperback texts about tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

    1. Prison Books Collective (Post author)



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