BTB’s core program is distributing books and educational materials to individual prisoners in the Mid-Atlantic region, prison libraries across the country, and halfway houses throughout the greater Philadelphia area.
Individual Book Packages
We provide small packages of books to individuals incarcerated in the Mid-Atlantic region: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland, and Virginia. The books are free, and we send them to anyone who asks, providing they are in the region we serve and the prison accepts books.
Would you like us to send books to your friend or family member in prison? Please view the guidelines below to request books for your incarcerated loved one.
Prison libraries, education programs and halfway houses
We are sometimes able to fulfill requests for boxes of books from prison libraries and education programs in the Mid-Atlantic region. We will only send books to libraries or programs at facilities that also accept packages from us sent to individuals incarcerated there. Please view the guidelines below to request books.
Either you or the incarcerated individual can send us a letter that includes name, prisoner ID number, full address, any restrictions on incoming books, and types of books wanted.
Our mailing address is Books Through Bars, 4722 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143.
Please follow these guidelines when requesting books:
- We only send books to individual prisoners in PA, NJ, NY, DE, MD, and VA.
- Please request by topic (not exact title or author), and provide several areas of interest if possible. For example, African-American history, basic math, carpentry, how to draw.
- Please be patient. We get so many requests that it may take a while to receive the books.
- Please wait two months after receiving books before requesting again.
Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.
Please contact us by email with following information:
- Your position (i.e. librarian, chaplain, educator)
- Number of prisoners you serve
- Primary needs (i.e. books in a particular content area for a program, books to start a library, books to supplement current offerings, subject matter, any restrictions, etc.)
- If the prison is not located in the greater Philadelphia area, ability to assist for postage costs (a box of books generally costs us between $15-20 to send. Any assistance you can provide toward that cost is greatly appreciated).
- If the prison is located in the greater Philadelphia area, can you arrange for the books to be picked up at our office or do you need them to be delivered? Who should we contact to arrange for delivery if needed?