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Since the early 1970s, Books to Prisoners has operated with minimal paid staff, currently employing one part-time staff member. 90% of our budget goes directly to cover the cost of postage and mailing supplies. Aside from a few grants, our work is all thanks to donors.

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Contributing Books

Our top requests from prisoners:

Dictionaries (including Spanish-English dictionaries)


Books on starting/running businesses

Trade books (including plumbing, electricity, carpentry, construction, auto mechanics)

Legal self-help

African-American history, studies, and fiction

GED preparation materials

Puzzle and game books (including chess, crosswords, sudoku, and role-playing manuals)

Drawing instruction, sourcebooks (including tattooing), blank notebooks



Murder mysteries

Horror novels

True crime books

Books on the occult, aliens, conspiracy theories, and New Age


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To carry out our mission, Books to Prisoners relies on volunteers who donate their time and expertise. Whether you can spend one hour or 100 hours answering letters, wrapping packages, writing grant proposals, or sorting books, BTP needs your help Tuesday through Thursday evenings (6 pm to 10 pm) and Wednesday mornings (9:30 am-1:30 pm) in Seattle’s University District.

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