We are starting a new tradition at PBP – the summer Read-A-Thon! Pledge to read a specific number of books, pages or words and ask your friends to sponsor you with donations to the Prison Book Program. It’s kind of like running the marathon for charity – only you are chilling out with a book instead of running 26 miles! All funds raised will be used to mail books to prisoners.
Getting started is easy -
- Go to our Razoo site to set up your own fundraising page.
- Look for the “Join This Team” box on the right side of the page and click “fundraise.”
- Come up with a creative name for your fundraiser.
- Fill out the tabs along the top to complete your page:
- Use the page to tell your friends about your summer reading plans and your involvement in the Prison Book Program.
- Be sure to check out our collection of artwork, photos, thank yous and more for graphics you can use to inspire your friends.
Then start fundraising! Share your personal Razoo page everywhere:
- Post it to Facebook and Twitter
- Email it to your family and friends
- Post pictures of what you’re reading on Instagram
- Tell people about it the old fashioned way – in person.
- Call your mother. Call your grandmother. (They want to hear from you!)
- Get creative and get the word out!
All funds raised will fund postage for mailing books. Every $3 you raise means another prisoner reading!
Raise more than $500 by the end of September and we’ll send you a Prison Book Program T-shirt. T-shirts will be mailed to all winners in October.
12 year old Isaiah Goldsmith made an unusual choice for his Bar Mitzvah project – collecting books for the Prison Book Program. Isaiah asked his family and friends to bring book donations to his Bar Mitzvah celebration. They responded with a car-load of books which Isaiah and his mom, Jennifer delivered to Quincy recently.
Isaiah talked about his work with PBP and other organizations in his Bar Mitzvah speech. Here’s what he had to say:
As you know, my bar mitzvah project was to collect books for people in prison. That might seem like a strange choice, considering my age and my interests. In the past few years I’ve also had the chance to volunteer for Special Olympics basketball and to collect sports supplies which I sent to Liberia. Those are easier projects to explain. But this Torah portion helped me think beyond roles in societies to how we treat those of us who are hardest to care for. In the case of people in prison, this is an interesting question. Is prison a punishment or a chance to improve?
We first found the Books for Prisoners program when my Grandpa G died and we had more of his books than we could ever read or shelve. We felt that he would have appreciated the idea that the books he loved might change someone’s life. When I have volunteered at the Book program, I read letters from people who have absolutely broken the rules of society. Some are serving shorter sentences in smaller prisons, while others are locked in Leavenworth. Some make clear they will spend their entire remaining lives in prison while others talk about their particular cases in their letters. So what is our responsibility to those people? I have come to think it is to help people improve in the ways they can, and education is key to that.
We are always heartened to see young people thinking beyond themselves and participating in causes like ours that are a little harder to take up. Unlike kids or animals, prisoners are not cute or cuddly and like Isaiah said, they are the “hardest to care for.” We thank Isaiah for his hard work in collecting books for prisoners and his family and teachers for encouraging the next generation to think about those on the margins of society.
PBP is going to Summer Hours. For July and August, we will be open only on Tuesday nights. We will be there during the usual hours of 6:30 – 9:00. Thursdays and monthly Saturdays will return in September.
Recently the United Kingdom banned the mailing of books to prisoners from the outside in an effort to cut down on the “perks and privileges” available to them. In a protest organized by English PEN and The Howard League for Penal Reform, British authors have sent the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, protest postcards with the name of the book they would most like to send to a prisoner – if they still could.
We thought we would contribute some of our own “favorite books” and what they mean — except these are prisoners’ favorite books. These are the results of a survey that asked prisoners about books and the role they play in their lives. Their responses show that books are far from a perk or a privilege.
- How have books affected you?
- Do you have any specific learning goals? Please describe.
- Besides major religious texts (Bible, Koran, etc.), what is your favorite book?
Here’s what the first 36 respondents had to say…
Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. And PBP is going to be a part of that. On Wednesday, April 23rd we will be holding a special volunteer night where we will distribute hundreds of books provided by the World Book Night folks to prisoners. If you’re free, stop by and send out some books!
World Book Night is dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.
April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday. It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.
Volunteer with us!