The Public Square

Yael Taylor on Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners


I am Yael Taylor, a volunteer at UC Books to Prisoners, and I want to tell you about our organization and our book sale coming this weekend, October 17 - 19 at the downtown Urbana Post office, Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway, Urbana, Illinois.

UC Books to Prisoners provides free books to inmates in Illinois prisons, as well as a lending library at the two Champaign County jails. As of 1994, all prisons throughout the our state of Illinois have been under budget restraints and cuts. This has affected all the educational programs and the libraries in prison. The maximum security prisons do not allow friends and family to send used books to inmates. So our organization is sometimes the sole source of reading material for prisoners. As of today, October 17, 2008, we have sent 28,030 books to 4,379 different inmates in our four years of operation, solely with volunteers. We think you will agree with us that education through reading is a good thing for prisoners returning to our communities from prison or jail.

In order to ship the donated books to the prisoners, we have a book sale twice a year. It is called "Pages for Pennies" because you can buy any hardback for $1 and paperbacks for 50 cents. Please stop by and see for yourself at the Urbana post office, 202 S. Broadway, on Friday, October 17, from 4-8pm, on Saturday, 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM or Sunday from 11 - 1PM. Please come to our Books to Prisoners' book sale, October 17, 18 or 19.