In the Spring of 2019, troubling news rapidly spread through the Washington state book community that the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) had quietly banned free, used books from being mailed to prisoners through non-profit organizations like Seattle’s Books to Prisoners. After public outcry and the investigative journalism of Joseph O’Sullivan of the Seattle Times, the DOC reversed the ban on 10 April 2019.
Books to Prisoners receives more than 1,200 requests for books each year from prisons all across the US. On 7 May 2019, Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle, WA) donated its first batch of Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) to Books to Prisoners, which has been redistributing authorized, used books to prisoners since 1973, free of charge. Prisoners can now read in paperback the uncorrected proofs of new books we’re reading in hardback shortly after their release dates.
Community members Jennifer Chalfan, Emily Chen, Shaun Glaze, Jake Manalan, Kathryn, Daniel Nidzgorski & Casey Peel, and an anonymous donor from the tech sector committed to 6 – 24 months of recommended financial donations to accommodate the donations of ARCs from Queen Anne Book Company. $35 sends 10 packages of books … and $350 sends 100!
If you would like to make a financial gift to Books to Prisoners, you can do so at:
Books to Prisoners recently moved to their new home in the basement of Crown Hill United Methodist Church. The current turnaround time from request to receipt of a book is three to four months as they catch up from the move. If you would like to volunteer some of your time reading written requests, picking books and sending packages, you can learn more at:
Big thanks to Queen Anne Book Company bookseller Kim for reaching out into the community to make these important connections!