DC Books to Prisons

"Thanks for offering books to incarcerated individuals free of charge. Our society needs more of you, and your organizations, to promote culture and education through books."

- Maurice, California

Announcements

September 2021: Accepting book donations at Foundry again
We are pleased to announce that we can once again accept book donations in our room in the basement of Foundry United Methodist Church. Books will be accepted Wednesday evenings 6-8pm. In compliance with Foundry's mask policy and DC law, people dropping off books must wear masks that cover both their mouths and noses. More details on dropping off books are available on our Donate Books page.

Summer 2021: New newsletter released
Our summer newsletter features letters from 12 incarcerated readers. Read about Taylor's wish to learn how to manage a diner and Jonathan's desire for books to help him "become a better person".

July 1, 2021: Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit
We are proud to announce that after 22 years as a sponsored program of other non-profit groups, most recently Empowerment WORKS, we have become an incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit. With the change, we have our own non-profit status and all donations flow directly to us.

Winter 2020: New newsletter released
Our winter newsletter includes a letter from Christopher in Arkansas and a stunning card from Angel in Texas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020: Discussion on the Kojo Nnamdi Show
One of our volunteers participated in a discussion on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5. Among the topics discussed were the stringent rules we have to follow when mailing books to prisoners.

Relocation due to the coronavirus pandemic
The building we worked in prior to the pandemic is closed indefinitely, and our work is now being done by a handful of volunteers in other locations. Unfortunately, we cannot safely accommodate additional volunteers at this time. Book donations are welcome, and can be made via our Politics and Prose wish list or Amazon wish list, or by making arrangements to deliver books to one of our temporary workspaces.

Summer 2020: New newsletter released
Our summer newsletter describes our ongoing service to prisoners despite our city being shut down.

Winter 2019-2020: New newsletter released
Our winter newsletter contains articles about our recent 20th anniversary celebration, the upcoming change in our fiscal sponsor (which will affect how we receive monetary donations), and the ways that targeted book donations transform prison life. Best of all, it contains excerpts of two letters from incarcerated readers, Robert in Texas and Brandi in Oklahoma.

Nut-free policy
To ensure the safety of a person with a severe allergy to nuts, the building we operate out of has gone nut-free. Please do not bring any foods containing nuts into the building.

November 3, 2019: New newsletter released
What do these things have in common: PEN America, the Seattle Review of Books, the GED test, and eating donuts hanging from strings?
Answer: All of them are mentioned in our November 2019 newsletter.

September 28, 2019: Letter published in The Washington Post
One of our volunteers, Ian, had a letter published in The Washington Post. To read it, click here and scroll down to "There's help here at home". If unable to get past The Post's paywall, you can instead read the letter on our site.

August 21, 2019: New Location
On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, we moved to a new room. We're in the same building as before, and are even on the same floor, but we're now in room B1. Please come and see us in our new location!

May 31, 2019: Tabling at Politics and Prose Bookstore
Thank you to everyone who visited us at Politics and Prose's Connecticut Avenue store on Friday, May 31, 2019! We enjoyed meeting many friends of our program, and are grateful to everyone who purchased books for us or mentioned us at the cash register (which resulted in us receiving 20% of the sale). Our thanks to Politics and Prose for this opportunity to raise funds, obtain books, and meet DC's book lovers!

Two Successful Fundraisers, Both Involving Cupcakes
We were the April 2019 Charity of the Month at Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats in Columbia Heights, receiving money for each Charity-of-the-Month cupcake sold that month. Then, in May, volunteers baked a wide variety of baked goods, selling them at a bake sale at Foundry United Methodist Church on May 19. We are grateful to everyone who participated in these fundraisers. Every $4 raised will result in another prisoner receiving books!

Victory in Maryland!
In April 2018, we abruptly lost the ability to send books to prisoners in Maryland state prisons when the state implemented a new policy allowing only two vendors to send books to prisoners. Not even Amazon was allowed to send books to prisoners. On June 11, 2018, after weeks of protest by Maryland residents, the ACLU, and other groups (including DC Books to Prisons), the new policy was rescinded! Read more about the rescinded policy.

Snow Policy
The building we operate out of follows the federal government in deciding when to declare a snow day. If OPM reports that the federal government is closed due to snow, it means that we, too, are closed.

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