When I was 25, I worked with a similar project in Austin for about a year. It was called Books for Prisoners then but is now called Inside Books. I had a fundraiser at my house, not a community café but a punk show. I felt compelled to assist incarcerated individuals with a productive way to spend their time. I’ve worked with BtP for three and a half years.
2) What experience in your background prepared you for being a keyholder/volunteer at BtP?
I worked in social and human services for 10 years. I volunteered in New Orleans as a case manager after Hurricane Katrina. So those were people who also had experienced trauma. I had several friends who have been incarcerated, before and after my work with Austin Books for Prisoners.
I also have worked in 5 bookstores and my mother is a librarian.
3) What wishes or dreams do you have for BtP’s future?
I would like to see positive growth and steady volunteers and donors to keep the project going to service more demand–because the demand is increasing.
One of the reasons I work with people who battle addiction and mental health issues is that I believe people are capable of changing, and that providing books supports people in changing their perspectives and caters to the imagination.
4) Will you continue similar work in Richmond, Virginia where you will be moving soon? I already wrote to the anarchist collective but there isn’t a similar group there. They said they would love to have one!