Portland Books To Prisoners has suspended operations until we finish unpacking at our new location. Check back for updates!
The address in this video is for monetary donations only.
Please see the Contact Us page for complete address information,
including our book request address for prisoners.
Who We Are
Portland Books To Prisoners is an
all-volunteer collective working to distribute books free of charge to
prisoners. We are dedicated to offering people behind bars
the opportunities for self-empowerment, education, and entertainment
that reading provides.
Portland Books To Prisoners sends literature
and educational books to people who are incarcerated across the nation.
What We Do
Incarcerated prisoners send us their requests for books directly. We
attempt to furnish the requested materials from our stock of donated
books. We also sometimes send resource guides and periodicals
to help prisoners locate a variety of services, and prison support
Why Are We
Prison libraries tend to very limited, and access to them is often highly
restricted, so outside sources of books for prisoners is often
necessary. At most prisons there are very few books
and often what is
there consists mainly of low quality pulp fiction like romance novels
and action thrillers. People are in prison for many reasons, but the
vast majority are imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. There are dozens of
all over the U.S. and there are often many restrictive regulations
governing books sent to those behind bars, making it hard for those
with limited means to send books to loved ones, or for those who are
incarcerated to receive relevant reading material.
The US currently has over 2 million people incarcerated in state and
federal prisons, 2/3 of whom are people of color www.cccr.org. The
Prison Industrial Complex is a repressive system, which we believe
needs to be changed.
One thing we can do to reach out to people held prisoner in this system
is to provide a few books to help folks pass the time and try to
educate themselves. Please join us in this effort!
Our group is looking for books with educational content: foreign
language learning, materials in Spanish, radical fiction, poetry,
music, trades, hobbies, crafts, business. We get a lot of requests for
History/herstory, and biographies, especially African-American,
Indigenous, Latina/o, Asian and queer studies, feminism, literature by
and for women, and most importantly dictionaries, thesauruses
and GED study guides.
We can take gently used and newish paperbacks and good quality
hardbacks. Due to rising Media Mail costs we can only accept
books that are under 4lbs.
Help us open letters, match up requests, and package books.
Other than the obvious
need for postage funds to cover shipping costs, we are primarily
looking for donations of books with educational content in English and
Spanish. Our most common requests are for
are also looking for office supplies to print fliers, etc.
Monetary donations are always appreciated! There are drop boxes at several
locations around town. For large donations, please contact us by e-mail first.