Thanks to all who have helped make 2022 a memorable, productive, and successful year for BTP! While we wish our work wasn’t necessary, it continues to be a vital lifeline for many behind bars.
January – A warden at South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton TN handed us a teachable moment about prison censorship when he wrote that he was rejecting a package of books because “Malcolm X not allowed.” The book in question, “Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary”, was written for readers age twelve and up by award-winning children’s author Walter Dean Myers. The story caught the attention of media outlets across the US. The Washington Post published an Op-Ed by two of our board members,
Prison systems insist on banning books by Black authors. It’s time to end the censorship. (free registration required)
In June, we testified before the American Library Association’s task force for revising prison library standards in Washington D.C. “Standards for Library Services for Incarcerated and Detained Individuals”, the first ALA update since 1992, is scheduled for publication in 2023. From their website ,
“We welcome feedback from any stakeholders who work in, partner with, live in, or have formerly been held in a variety of carceral spaces. If you’d like to provide feedback on the Standards or join the Standards working group, please send an inquiry to ALAStandards@gmail.com”
Even if you don’t, it’s worth visiting their site to see the RSA-Animate-style mind-map representing the testimony at the hearing.
In October, the board was able to have our first in-person retreat since COVID and we are excited to get started on plans for the upcoming year!
We’ve rented more space at our Greenwood location, allowing us to store more books and to more safely gather in-person to fulfill requests.
We provided fiscal sponsorship for a third year to The Book Project – a dedicated couple of educators who, so far in 2022, rescued over 58 tons of books from the pulp mill to donate to dozens of schools and programs, including BTP.
2022 memorable requests and moments, as shared by our dedicated volunteers:
“After opening many, many letters and responding to the best of my ability, I opened one and to my amazement it was from a client I had sent books to almost exactly a year prior. It was lovely to be personally thanked for the books I had sent, and I thought it was almost serendipitous!”
“My favorite letter this last year was from someone who wrote: ‘Thank you for opening doors and windows for us.'”
“Another letter read: ‘Help me get out of here. Send me something to read that will take me away from these walls, help me to escape from here in my mind.'”
“If a man was trapped on a[n] island, what books would you give him to live by? Those are the books one is requesting!”
We believe that access to education and information is a human right – regardless of one’s incarceration status. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, supported, promoted, or accessed Books to Prisoners in 2022.