From Open Books
For those who were not aware, Open Books–a non-profit bookstore which houses the Prison Book Project–was hurt very badly in the recent floods in Pensacola, Florida. As you can imagine, books and water do not mix well. Due to three feet of water entering our store, we lost approximately 3000 books and have an estimated damage amount at $10,000. We also lost a considerable amount of the stock for the Prison Book Project.
If you are not familiar with us, all of the proceeds at Open Books goes directly to fund the Prison Book Project. The Prison Book Project, which runs out of our store, has been in operation for 14 years. We have survived several hurricanes, flooding, and numerous economic calamities. However, this flood hit us very hard.
In the past, we have been incredibly fortunate to have great support throughout our various communities, both local and international. We have supported numerous prison books projects throughout the country. We’ve donated resources to several up-and- coming prison books projects, we have held fundraisers for others in need, we have taken thousands of letters from other projects which were in trouble, and have offered our experience to those who might need help. With the help of these communities in the spirit of mutual aid, we have been able to function for over a decade now, a great feat for any prison book project. And although we know everyone’s projects are always functioning on a shoestring budget, we reluctantly feel the need to ask for your help.
Many have asked what are the best ways to help. The best ways in which you can help us are as follows:
1) Money. For us to be sustainable, we need to pay our overhead, and we also need to restock our shelves so that we will have the ability 2 have money for the prison book project. We also need money 4 stamps, office supplies, bookshelves, and backup resources. Although we are getting support from the community, many others around us, including many of our neighbors, have lost everything. If you have never experienced a natural disaster, it is hard to describe the ways in which your community is affected. We would like to shore up our resources so that we can withstand future troubles and continue to send books to prisoners as we have done for the past decade. If you would like to donate money to us, anything would be appreciated. You can either mail it to us, or you can send us donations via PayPal. Our website is openbookspcola.org.
2) We need books. We lost a lot of great stock, and we need help replenishing that stock. In particular, we need books that are always popular with the prison book project. This includes dictionaries, black history, language books, and GED material. More specifically, we need radical/anarchist books. Our entire political science section was destroyed, and as a radical book store without a political section, we have an amazing hole that is difficult to fill quickly in the local thrift shops. Also, as you can imagine, when the newspaper writes a story about things we need, they do not mention our desire for radical literature or anarchist tomes. We understand that many of you want to hold on to these books, just as we did, but if you can possibly spare any political books that you think will be read, and of interest to a diverse community, please send them to us. If necessary, we may be able to help with shipping, but I cannot promise that. At any rate, this is one of our biggest needs right now. I also think that this community maybe in a particularly good place to help with this need.
In closing, we appreciate any help that you can give us. If you have any questions, please contact us. We will be more than happy to answer any questions. Thank you in advance for your support, and thank you for all that you do.
-Scott at Open Books