Donate Books

We appreciate your donation of books, stamps, postage money, and time.

Due to limited space, we restrict book donations to one (1) box at a time. If you have a larger quantity of our top-priority books (e.g., paperback dictionaries, how-to-draw books, westerns, and Star Trek/Wars novels), please contact us; we may be able to take them. We also reserve the right to give away or trade any books that might not be needed by the prisoners.


We need PAPERBACK BOOKS in either Spanish or English. (Most prisons reject hardback books.) Our list of Greatest Book Needs includes the books most often requested; however, we do accept donations in other categories or genres. Outdated resources, like out-of-date law books, computer manuals, etc., are generally not needed. 

Please consider bundling series of books, remove any personal information (including your name and address), and make sure you check them for photos, letters, or other personal items you might not want to share with prisoners.

If you prefer to donate new books, please check out our Amazon Wish List.


Greatest Book Needs


  • Dictionaries (English, Spanish-English) - our #1 request
  • How to draw
  • World atlases and almanacs (relatively current)
  • Science and alternative energy (including magazines like Discover and Scientific American)
  • Farming (including beekeeping) and self-sufficient living
  • How to books (especially woodworking, plumbing, car mechanics, small motor repair)
  • Personal finance and starting a business
  • GED preparation
  • American Sign Language (ASL) instruction
  • Mayan and Aztec history
  • African American, Latin American, and classical (Roman, Greek) history
  • Spanish textbooks
  • Chess and role-playing games
  • Body weight exercise
  • Blank composition books WITHOUT spiral binding or magnetic clasps
  • Sudoku


  • Westerns
  • Graphic novels and comic books (especially Marvel and DC Comics)
  • Manga
  • Fantasy novels (including paranormal romance)
  • Science fiction novels (especially Star Trek and Star Wars)
  • Mythology
  • Urban literature
  • Novels in Spanish, especially any by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, or Laura Gallego Garcia

Hard-to-fill Requests

Sometimes, we receive requests for specific books/types of books that don't match those in our donated library. This list can (and will) change over time, but at the moment, we need paperback books (preferably in good condition) in the following areas:

  • Business/trade categories: Welding, truck driving, starting a business, real estate, finance
  • Games: Chess and role-playing games (such as Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer)
  • Introductory books for learning Greek (especially the Biblical kind), Latin, and Japanese; also translation dictionaries for these languages

How To Get Books to Us

1. Dropping off books:

- The best option is to drop off books during our packing time on Wednesday evenings (6-8:30 PM) at Foundry United Methodist Church located at 1500 16th St NW, Washington DC, 20036. Usually, a core volunteer is there during this time and can arrange to have people carry the books for you while you stay with your car.

- If Wednesday evening is not possible, you can try to drop books off at another time. (Please call the church to confirm a good time - 202.332.4010).

2. Mail: Please do not mail books to us. Please mail books directly to a prison librarian instead.  For a list of prison librarians accepting books, contact btopdc(at) with "Prison Library List" in the subject line. BtP maintains a PO Box and we do not have the volunteer power or transportation to receive mailed books. Mailing books directly to a prison library allows BtP to use our scarce resources on mailing books we currently have instead of on transporting, repacking, and paying to mail books that could otherwise go directly to a prison.