Individual volunteers

BTB needs YOU!

If you’re interested in any of the opportunities below, please contact us.

Book picking and packing: drop in

The easiest way to get involved with Books Through Bars is to participate in one of our regularly scheduled book packing activities.

  • Tuesday nights, 7:30–9:30 PM
  • 1st  and 3rd Saturday of every month, 11:00 AM–2:00 PM.

You will read letters from prisoners requesting books, search through our library of donated books for a good match, and package the books for mailing. It’s like choosing and wrapping gifts!

Our walk-in sessions are 18 and over only.



There is no need to RSVP for individual volunteers, but first time volunteers must be present and signed in at 7:30PM sharp on Tuesdays and 11:00AM sharp on Saturdays. There will only be one orientation and training per packing session that starts promptly at 7:30PM or 11AM, respectively. No latecomers will be accepted. Please be aware that this new change to our packing sessions was implemented to create a less hectic volunteer experience. Be on time and help foster a more enjoyable working environment for everyone!

If you are a returning volunteer we invite you to join us at 7:30, but will continue to offer the opportunity of joining us at any point during the packing session.

Letter processing: anytime, from home

We receive hundreds of book request letters each week. Each one needs to be read, sorted and logged into our database.

Once trained, letter loggers can easily do this task from home—all you need is a computer and internet connection. Please note: a bit of in-person training is required, and you need to come to our office to pick up and drop off letters.


We always need help picking up and/or delivering book donations. You will need to supply the car and gas. You can make this a regular part of your week or respond to individual calls for drivers.

Library, administrative, outreach

  • Book organizing: help us  us sort, shelve, and “weed” the loads of donated books we get each week
  • Office: Respond to non-book requests, contact prisons, update databases, send thank-you letters, work on “special fills,” help us keep our space clean and organized, and other tasks.
  • Miscellaneous: join the fundraising committee, host/oversee book packing sessions, staff fundraising events

Special Skills

Are you a great grant writer? A gifted graphic artist? A prolific fundraiser? An excellent writer, photographer, blogger, or social media whiz? Have other special skills and talents you want to share? Let us know.