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Prisoners’ Reading
Encouragement Project

providing reading and educational materials to prisoners
through gifts to prison libraries”

PLEASE DO NOT GIVE US BOOKS THAT YOU WOULD NOT GIVE TO A FRIEND.  WE CAN ONLY USE BOOKS  THAT ARE CURRENT AND IN VERY GOOD CONDITION.  Our goal is to make reading appealing to incarcerated men and women who might not otherwise pick up a book.  We cannot use “old books.”  In general, we request that you not give us books printed before 2000.  During the past year, we’ve spent at least half our time bundling and carting out books that were too old for us to send to the libraries we work with. The sad truth is that old books need to be thrown away.

If you need further information after reading below, please email us at [email protected]  OR LEAVE A MESSAGE AT 212-349-6741.  It’s best to email.

Books we need

• Current popular fiction, mysteries, thrillers, science fiction–in paperback
• Current popular non-fiction about current and world events, history, health, nutrition, art, music, sports, science, nature, general interest —printed after 2000

• African-American and Latino fiction and non-fiction; books in Spanish
• Art, crafts, trades, home-repair and general how-to books
• Books about chess, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, mind-teasers
• Business and working skills, money management and personal finances; how to get and keep a job, resume writing–printed after 2000
• Comics and graphic novels
• General writing skills, dictionaries
• Parenting, relationships, yoga, meditation, fitness, Buddhism, Islam, the Koran

• Audio cassettes—books on tape– NOT  CDs and DVDs—for inmates who are visually impaired or who can’t read.
• Videotapes in VHS format—popular movies, nature videos, The Teaching Company courses

We can only use textbooks that WERE PRINTED AFTER 2000.  The goal is to build up a library collection that will encourage inmates to use the library and increase their skills through reading and self study.

We can use CHILDREN’S BOOKS in like new condition for our Words Travel program in place at several facilities. For Words Travel, men read and record a book and then send both the recording and the book to their child; this helps to maintain family bonds and encourages children to read.


During the week day, books can be dropped off at 145 Nassau Street, NY, NY, which is between Spruce and Beekman Streets, very close to Pace University and City Hall Park, at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Ring #3-D or, if there is no answer, call the super, Joe, at 917-301-0956 and he will open the door, take the books and get them to us.

You can also drop them by on Saturdays and Sundays, or evenings, since someone is usually here, but give a call to 212-349-6741 in advance so that we can be sure to be here to receive the books.


Books also can be mailed to Annette Johnson, Prisoners Reading Encouragement Project, 145 Nassau St. #3-D, NY, NY 10038.

Use “Media Mail” for the least expensive rate; typically a 25 lb carton of books from the metropolitan area will cost about $8-10 in postage, a tax-deductible contribution. 

We welcome cash contributions to support purchases of needed books that are not donated, including children’s books for the Words Travel program, as well as supplies and mailing costs.  If you would like to make a cash contribution, please mail your check, with your name, address and email address, to Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project, Attn: Annette Johnson, 145 Nassau Street #3-D, New York, NY 10038.


Contributions to the Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project are tax-deductible. Please note, however, that IRS regulations prohibit us from issuing a receipt for books that are in poor condition or too old for us to use.

Please be sure to include your name and address with your check or books so that we can send you an acknowledgment for tax purposes and, if you like, add your name to our newsletter mailing list.

Thank you so much for your interest.