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 (e.g. 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 and sourcebooks
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 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 6pm-10pm  in Seattle’s University District.

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