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Fundraiser at Ben and Jerry’s Chapel Hill Sept 12

We’re excited to announce that we’re having ANOTHER benefit night at Ben and Jerry’s in Chapel Hill!

What: Benefit Event for Prison Books Collective!! Help us send free books to people locked in NC and AL prisons!
When: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 12-10 pm
Where: Ben and Jerry’s, 102 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
How it works: You come in to buy a frozen treat (both dairy and non-dairy available!). We get a portion of the sales! We’ll also have a donation jar. It’s just that easy!
The last one was in April a HUGE success. We raised $444 with your help!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1353061794791145
Bring yourself! Bring your friends! Spread the word!

Ben+Jerrys Event-FBcover-2017-09-12

Welcome Volunteers!!!

We’re excited to announce that we are now accepting new volunteers in our new space!! So please come to a workday!

Map to our space

Map to our workdays space

The address to volunteer is: 4312 Etta Rd, Durham, NC 27705. Don’t send mail here, use our PO Box.

Download a map with directions.

Note: GPS and mapping programs will get you to Etta Road, but our building is set back from the road, through some trees, so you can’t see it from Etta.

 

Steps1-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We’ve moved into our NEW space!

We are excited to announce that we have a NEW SPACE!! We will remain in Durham, NC. We are very grateful to Human Kindness Foundation for generously donating space to us!!

We are taking one more weekend to get all settled in and organized. We hope to begin welcoming in new volunteers starting Sunday, June 11. Stay tuned to find out the exact address and directions.

Thanks to all of you for your support as we worked on finding a new space. We are looking forward to welcoming you to it soon!

Note: Donations of books are still on hold until we get more settled in. However, we always welcome financial donations!! With our new (larger!) space, we hope to be able to send books to even more people in prison, and we’d appreciate your support to make that happen! To donate: http://bit.ly/2h9Nb49.

In solidarity,
Prison Books Collective
Publishing and Distribution

We’re moving at the end of May!!

We will be packing up and then moving for the rest of May (May 21-May 31), so we will NOT be having our regular workdays filling packages, and thus are putting a pause on new volunteers. We’re still finalizing a new space. So stay tuned. Since we’ll be between locations and setting up for the next 3 weeks, please email us to get involved. If you’d like to help with the move, email us at prisonbooks@gmail.com.

If all goes as planned, we should be in a new space by the second week of June. Once that’s set, look for a new post with details!!

Thanks for your patience as we work on our move! We look forward to continuing to send books to people in NC and AL prisons and zines nationwide for many years to come.

“While there is a soul in prison I am not free.”

In solidarity,

Prison Books Collective

Support Us!

Thanks for your interest in getting reading materials into the hands of people locked in our nation’s prisons and jails. We send books and zines (small booklets) to people locked up in North Carolina and Alabama. We only send zines to people in prisons around the country.

  • DONATE MONEY: Our biggest need is always money! In order to keep sending books and zines into prisons, we need your help!   We currently spend about $500 per month on: postage ($400), copies/printing ($50), supplies ($50), and website ($5)!  Your help is so critical!!  Starting in June 2017, we are lucky enough to be back in a FREE space (so rent is not a cost, for now). Note: We are now a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so all donations are tax deductible. Email us for more information: prisonbooks@gmail.com.
  • VOLUNTEER: We are once again accepting new volunteers!! Workdays remain every Sunday, 1-4 pm. See this post for more details about our new location and directions. And check out our volunteering page for general information about volunteering.
  • DONATE BOOKS: At this time, we are ONLY accepting specific high-demand genres. Check out our book donation page for more details and instructions for donating.



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!).




Fundraiser at Nightlight Bar & Club

We’re excited to announce that we’re partnering with Nightlight in Chapel Hill for a benefit show on Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 pm!Nightlight-Flier-Feb17-edit

What: Benefit Event for Prison Books Collective!! Help us send free books to people locked in NC and AL prisons!
When: Friday, February 17, 2017, 8-11 pm
Where: Nightlight, 405 W. Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, NC
Cost: $10 ($8 for students, seniors and low-income)
Performers: Nicki Rivers + band, Reflex Arc + friends: extended set, UNC Wordsmiths
RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends!

More details:

Nicki Rivers + band
Nicki studied vocal performance at the New School of Jazz, New York, NY. She has performed in various venues from Japan to Paris, and has studied with Jazz masters from Shelia Jordan, to DeeDee Bridgewater, Drum Maestro Chico Hamilton, bassist Harley White, and mentored by pianist Jim Bell.
https://soundcloud.com/user-921602553

Reflex Arc + friends: extended set
A two piece experimental and improvisational band. Crowmeat Bob plays a variety of horns + sometimes electric guitar while Ginger Wagg plays a variety of body parts, spaces, and emotional states.
http://www.gingerwagg.com/reflex-arc/sugg6u38j7i9jrajatff5idpt1qofk

UNC Wordsmiths
Spoken Word Poetry
https://www.facebook.com/UNCwordsmiths/

Can’t make it to the event? You can still support us!

2016: Crisis & Opportunities by Russell Maroon Shoatz

Long-time political prisoner, Russell Maroon Shoatz, recently wrote this analysis of this past year in politics. It starts with an analysis of the global stage, and then focuses on the U.S. It then ends with a call to action.

Read the full article.

Globally, 2016 has been dominated by political, economic, and social changes in the Northern Hemisphere. Massive upheavals have been occurring, seemingly churned up by the millions of asylum seekers fleeing wars and economic- and climate-related depredations in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

The upshot of these upheavals brought proto-fascists to challenge the welfare states of Western Europe and the guinea pig economic systems of the former Soviet states. The Left there has either been crushed (Greece), is now on the ropes (Spain and England’s Left Laborites), or is circling the wagons (Germany and the Scandinavian countries), while Russia under Putin is using its military muscle to try to replicate what China has been doing in the economic sphere: remain independent of the U.S. and Western economic domination.

Read the full article. And learn more about Russell Maroon Shoatz.

We are accepting book donations again!!

Great news! We are once again accepting ALL book donations! As a reminder, books must be softcover and in20161101-lowonbooks very good/good condition (and no writing inside).

We’re getting very low on Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery and African-American/Black non-fiction. We know you have books you’ve been setting aside just waiting for us to start accepting donations again! Now is your chance!

Check out our donate books page for more info.

Email is at: prisonbooks@gmail.com to arrange a pick-up or drop-off. Or check out our contact page for other ways to get in touch.

Please do NOT stop by our space to drop off books without checking with us first.

The power of language

Note: The headline in the original story uses the very term that the Office of Justice Programs has stopped using. We have re-written the headline below.

Justice Dept. agency to alter its terminology for formerly incarcerated people.

Source: Washington Post

May 4, 2016

The Justice Department is taking a number of steps to reintegrate those released from prisons and jails into society, most notably during the recent National Reentry Week, such as asking states to provide identification to convicts who have served their sentences and creating a council to remove barriers to their assimilation into every day life. Here, Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason, who has headed the Office of Justice Programs since 2013, announces in a guest post that her agency will no longer use words such as “felon” or “convict” to refer to released prisoners.

By Karol Mason

During National Reentry Week last week, federal prisons and prosecutors’ offices and local organizations held job fairs, community town hall meetings, special mentoring sessions, and outreach events aimed at raising public awareness of the obstacles facing those who leave our prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities each year.  The American Bar Association has documented more than 46,000 collateral consequences of criminal convictions, penalties such as disenfranchisement and employment prohibitions that follow individuals long after their release.  These legal and regulatory barriers are formidable, but many of the formerly incarcerated men, women, and young people I talk with say that no punishment is harsher than being permanently branded a “felon” or “offender.”

This new policy statement replaces unnecessarily disparaging labels with terms like “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated,” decoupling past actions from the person being described and anticipating the contributions we expect them to make when they return.  We will be using the new terminology in speeches, solicitations, website content, and social media posts, and I am hopeful that other agencies and organizations will consider doing the same.

Full article on Washington Post.