Do you bring the books in person to the prisons? No, we mail all of our packages of books.
Do you mail the books to the prison, like the prison library or the prison authorities? No, we mail books to individual people imprisoned in Colorado.
What happens to the books you mail to people? After the individual who requested the books finishes with them, they often pass them on to others in the same prison or donate them to the prison library. We hear time and again, in letter after letter, how limited the prison libraries are. One prisoner who works at a prison library wrote us after noticing a surge of books being donated to the library from other prisoners.
What kind of books to people request? Everything! Just this week we’ve received requests for guitar learning books, mysteries, science fiction, plumbing, dictionaries, classics, suspense, poetry, lgbtqi/queer and trans, books on portraits and still-life, books on bridge, Roman history, cross-stitching, medieval history, electrical, social sciences, business, addiction recovery, learning Spanish, aquaculture, westerns, fantasy, horticulture, biography, action/adventure, landscaping, graphic novels, cooking, magic, science, thrillers, motorcycles, math, communication skills…the list goes on–and that’s just from this week.
Could you use my old text book from the mid-eighties? We accept any book donations, although we don’t keep absolutely everything we get (whatever we don’t keep, we try to find a home for–from posting them free online to giving them to a thrift store or, for text books, to programs that send them to classrooms around the world). While almost any book is useful and interesting to someone, we do have limited shelf and storage space. With that in mind, we’re always looking for those books that get requested but rarely get donated. And pretty much anything else, too. Probably the single most requested book is a dictionary. If you really want to make our day, drop off a paperback dictionary!
So, what gets requested that you have a hard time keeping in stock? Dictionaries, how-to-draw books, skills and trades books (like carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, etc.), and comics and graphic novels are a few topics that we never seem to have enough of.
What can I do to get involved with Unchained Books? There are numerous ways to be involved with this project; here are a few: You can join the group and become a regular at the letter-reading, book-packaging days–or just stop by now and then as you like; organize fundraisers; write letters to people in prisons in which we are not well known; work on outreach; donate your old books; send some cash our way to help with shipping costs; and anything else you can think of. We’re open to ideas, too–so let us know what you’re thinking.
Umm, my question wasn’t answered at all. Send us an email or leave a comment here and we’ll get back to you!