books not sent to inmates are offered for sale here to raise money for shipping costs.

The mission of
Books to Prisoners:

  • to provide books to inmates in Illinois by recycling donated books
  • to facilitate a quality volunteer experience
  • to offer a venue for inmates to tell their own stories
  • to educate ourselves and our community about prisons


UC Books to Prisoners is an Urbana Illinois based project providing books to Illinois inmates at no cost by mail as well as through two county jail libraries which we operate.

We are a community-powered volunteer organization with a number of easy ways for you to get involved. No experience is required and whether you have an hour a month or would like to volunteer more often, you are invited to to work with us.

Our volunteers interact with inmates by reading their letters, selecting books from our collection of donated materials and sending books to inmates in response to their requests. We also staff the two lending libraries located in the Champaign, IL County jails.  If you would prefer to work behind the scenes, we can also utilize your unique skills managing volunteers, coordinating book donations and fund raising, as well as many other education & outreach as well as technical tasks.

April, 2018


Click here to read this story on

April, 2018

To RSVP and to help us promote the sale
please check out, invite your friends/family and share our event page on Facebook!

Pages for Pennies
Spring Book Sale

Saturday April 14, 2018
Independent Media Center
202 S. Broadway Ave Urbana

Saturday 10am - 5pm
One Day Only!

Hardcovers $2.00, Paperbacks $0.50,
Children's books $0.25 - $1.00

Feb, 2018

Trivia Night Fundraiser at Pizza M

Thursday, February 22 from 7-10 PM

We are hosting our first
Trivia Night Fundraiser!

Join us for five rounds of trivia
and help us raise funds!

To RSVP and for more information, go to our Facebook event page

Jan, 2018

2018 MLK Day of Service

Monday, January 15 from 1-3 PM

Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners
will hold an open public volunteer session.

Join us in honoring the legacy
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Learn More about this local opportunity

RSVP on our Facebook event page

More information about MLK Day of Service (

Oct, 2017

help us promote the sale
by becoming a fan on Facebook

Pages for Pennies
Fall Book Sale

Saturday October 21, 2017
202 S. Broadway Ave Urbana IL

Saturday 10am - 5pm
One Day Only!

hardcovers $2.00, $0.50 paperback,
children's books $0.25 - $1.00


BTP Selects Rachel Rasmussen
as Volunteer Coordinator

Rachel Rasmussen brings to Books to Prisoners considerable experience in managing large groups of volunteers in the very demanding environment of an Illinois State Prison.

For five years, Rachel designed and managed processes that supported the work of many volunteers providing education services in the prison. She also has experience maintaining important community relationships for organizations.

Rachel will begin early in July and will overlap with our outgoing Volunteer Coordinator during the transition. Please join us in welcoming her.

Dec, 2016

Dear Supporter,

What is the best book you read this year? Have you ever contemplated what your life would be like if you didn’t have access to a good library or favorite bookstore? For thousands of men and women incarcerated in Illinois prisons, access to books is highly restricted, if available at all. Here at Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners we have a steady stream of volunteers, a community happy to share their used books, and the opportunity to pass those books along to readers incarcerated in the state. All we need from you is a little financial support to help pay for the postage.

At Books to Prisoners, we see books as the dynamite that can open minds, trigger a love of learning, and transform lives.

In addition to shipping books to inmates throughout Illinois, Books to Prisoners (an all-volunteer program) also runs a library in both Champaign County jails, providing the only consistent access to reading material those incarcerated in Champaign County have.Requests from prisoners are pouring in faster than ever, and we need your support to keep up!

Help us trigger the kinds of explosions that send folks home impassioned to learn and lead new lives. Your tax-deductible donation of $25 will purchase 6 dictionaries -- $100 will ship books from donation bins to the cells of 30 grateful readers. 

Help Books to Prisoners put the power of books to work for a better future. Please help be a part of the solution! Click here to donate today.

Jay Schubert
Volunteer Coordinator

Oct, 2016

LAS Council BTP Fundraiser

On October 19, 2016 LAS Council
held a Donut and Coffee sale fundraiser
to raise money for Books to Prisoners.

The funds raised will help us pay for
the shipping of books to people who
otherwise would not have access.

LAS Council offers undergraduates in the
college opportunities to discuss and gain
insight into campus and college issues,
and attail leadership experiences.

Oct, 2016

Common Ground Food Co-Op
Round Up Month for BTP

October 2016

During the month of October 2016
BTP is the recipient of the Common Ground
Food Co-op Round Up Program.

Support both organizations by shopping at
Common Ground and adding a few dollars
or cents to your purchase to benefit BTP.

Common Ground Food Co-op

Jan, 2016

APO Volunteers

APO students share their
recent experience
volunteering with
Urban Champaign
Books to Prisoners

Jan, 2016

2016 MLK Day of Service

Monday, January 18 from 1-3 PM

Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners
will hold an open public volunteer session.

Join us in honoring the legacy
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Learn More about this local opportunity

More information about MLK Day of Service (

Jan, 2015  

3R's Featured in Illinois Library
Associations Magazine

Our sister project, The Three R's, which supplies books to prison libraries from closeby their 24 locations in Illinois, is proud to report on a significant article written by a Carbondale
chapter member, Diana Brawley Sussman, who
is the regional librarian for the public library in
Carbondale. You can see it and read it here

This article has alerted Illinois librarians to the 3Rs project, and allowed them to offer their services to prison libraries. 

Learn more about the 3R's Project on their website


Sept, 2014  

10 Years & 100,000 Books Celebration

Saturday September 20, 2014 5-7pm

Please join us to celebrate 10 years and 100,000 books.

We could not have reached this milestone without all of our volunteers past and present and we want to celebrate with you. A light dinner will be provided, founding BTP members will be telling origins tales, music will be provided by BTP volunteer librarian Frances Harris' band Don't Ask, and book related prizes will be raffled off.

Don't miss this chance to celebrate with friends old and new..

Apr, 2014  

Books to Prisoners Volunteer from UI-7 News on Vimeo.

Mar, 2014  

Phi Beta Lambda Volunteering with BTP

Members of the Phi Beta Lambda visited Books to Prisoners this month. 
Contact us to learn about hosting a group from your church or community organization.

Feb, 2014  
International Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day

Friday, Feb 14 8am - 5pm

Celebrate International Book Giving day on Friday, Feb 14 by giving a book to a Prisoner.

Below is a list of popular books we can't keep in stock. We invite you to check your book shelves
(or your friends' shelves) for these books or consider purchasing and donating them to our organization. 

Please bring donations to the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center at 202 S. Broadway, Urbana, IL. next to Lincoln Square Mall. When volunteers are not present to receive your donation, books can be placed in the donation bin in our lobby between 8am-5pm on 2/14/14.

1) English as a Second Language books any level
2) Books written in Spanish
3) General books about the legal system and prisoner rights (as opposed to law books)
5) Urban fiction authors such as Omar Tyree, Sister Soujah, Eric Jerome Dickey and Zane
6) "How to" Drawing and Art Instruction
7) Construction / Trades

Thank you for your continued to support

Nov, 2013  

New Covenant Fellowship Youth Group Volunteering with BTP

Members of the New Covenant Fellowship Youth Group visited Books to Prisoners and learned about prisons while responding to some letters from inmates. Contact us to learn about hosting a group from your church or community organization.