BTP bookmark illustrated
by Sarah Ross

November 2010 Newsletter

Books to Prisoners has a great deal to be thankful for this fall. In early October we surpassed 50,000 books shipped, proof that we are continuing to grow and flourish. Reaching this milestone was only possible through the dedication and hard work of our volunteers who provide human contact and hope to incarcerated people one book at a time.

As our organization and operations continue to grow, so does our need to fund our work. Rounding out the year in 2010 our shipping bill will exceed $7,000. Will you consider giving at this time of thanksgiving? Your tax-deductable donation of $25 will purchase 8 dictionaries;
$50 will ship books from donation bins to the cells of 30 grateful inmates and $100 will keep the lights on and support the activities of the volunteers who get those books from the donation bins to the cells of grateful inmates. Please consider making a donation by paypal.

Volunteer Spotlight - Meredith Drake  
Welcome Meredith Drake!

Meredith is a first year graduate student in the Library Science Program at U of I. She began volunteering with us in September and was a big help with our October book sale.

Meredith also volunteers at the Satellite Jail on Fridays and can be found in the BTP workshop on Thursdays. We are excited that she is volunteering with us.

Community Engagement

Common Ground Round Up Selection

 The Common Ground Food Co-op members selected Books to Prisoners as one of their round up recipients for the 2011-2012. Each month Common Ground Food Co-op customers can round up their purchase total to the nearest dollar (or more) and the difference is donated to the designated project for that month. They also help distribute information about the project and spread the word to the customers. Keep a lookout for Books to Prisoners at the co-op in March 2011 and join us in supporting this generous local business.

Social Justice Awards

In September the McKinley Foundation awarded their annual social justice awards. 

Barbara Kessel, a long time volunteer with Books to Prisoners and a leader with the 3Rs project received the individual award for her work. We are so proud of her and glad to have her as one of our own.

As an organization, Books to Prisoners received an honorable mention award for our efforts to better the quality of life of incarcerrated people across the state of Illinois.  

Community Generosity  

Support from our friends

This Summer, BTP volunteers reached out to many of our friends and colleagues by mail inviting you to help support us financially. The results were overwhelmingly positive and demonstrated the generousity of our community.

About 200 of our volunteers' friends, families and colleagues received appeals which included our brand new bookmark, illustrated by our volunteer Sarah Ross. If you'd like one of these bookmarks, just ask and we'll by happy to drop one in the mail so you can show your support.

Quotation printed on the book mark:

We are expected to change just by sitting in a box but that is not how it works. Reading books, fiction as well as non-fiction, has granted me the tools I require to truly open my mind and see all that I was previously blinded to. Knowledge is what truly changed me and I believe the work your group is doing will have a profoundly positive effect on others like me who crave change, knowledge and truth.

-Javier M. - Illinois state prisoner

Fall Booksale

The bi-annual book sale brought in hundreds of people from all over the state. Donations for the purchase of dictionaries were a great success and have allowed us to buy 500 dictionaries for inmates.  Though Saturday’s weather wasn't perfect, our table at the Common Ground Food Co-op was a great way to meet people and promote the sale. Special thanks to Esther, Liz, Caroline, and Deb for standing out in the cold and thanks to Common Ground for allowing us space on the morning of the sale. Thanks also to ACLU who allowed us to distribute our sale information from their booth in the Farmer’s Market.  If you missed our Book Sale this time, be sure to catch us in April for our Spring Sale. Be on the lookout for more details soon.

Wine Tasting

Good wine, good food and interesting people came together in mid-October to learn more about Books to Prisoners and raise money for our organization. Thanks go to Sarah Ross and Sam Vandegrift for preparing the indulgences for the evening and Jay Schubert and Suzanne Linder for hosting. Also thanks to all who attended and contributed to our program. You are greatly appreciated.