Freeing Minds: 2,000 Libros

[Last updated: October 26, 2021]

On Independence Day 2018, with freedom very much on the mind, DC Books to Prisons announced our support of 2,000 Libros, a project to free the minds of the country's youngest prisoners: immigrant children in detention centers. While initial efforts focused on Spanish-language and bilingual books for early to mid level readers, the program continued to evolve with ever-changing needs.

The number of children referred to ORR during 2020 fell to its lowest level since 2013, but those numbers started climbing in 2021, peaking at more than 20,000 in April/May 2021. Today, shelters under ORR house thousands of unaccompanied children (mostly teens) from Central and South America along with an increasing number from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

While case managers in the ORR seek to reunite these children with their families, these shelters need:

  • Teen Chapter Books (Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Dari (Farsi), Pashtu, English)
  • Qurans (Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Dari (Farsi), Pashtu, English)
  • Spanish-language Bibles

Detention centers have been contacted regarding donation policies, needs, and the numbers and ages of kids being held. Between the first batch of books (mailed July 14, 2018) and January 28, 2021, 2,000 Libros had distributed approximately 6,800 books and 1,510 magazines to 27 organizations across the country. Some of these organizations had hundreds (and one had thousands) of children in their care. During the pandemic, 2,000 Libros sent another 1,000 books.

Shipping thousands of books around the country entails considerable postage costs. We are grateful to Bards Alley and all the individuals who have donated money and books. Donations can be made through an Amazon wish list, by check, or through PayPal. Please note "2000 Libros" on memo lines or in notes.

For more information on 2,000 Libros, please see the project's Facebook page or any of these articles:

We would like to thank the following stores, all of which held book drives for us in 2018:

DC Books to Prisons will continue to focus on serving adults in state and federal prisons, while supporting this important initiative to serve our nation's youngest prisoners.