UC Books to Prisoners is an Urbana Illinois based project providing books to Illinois inmates at no cost by mail as well as through the two county jail libraries in CU. B2P is headquartered in the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. UC B2P strives to " provide books to inmates in Illinois by recycling donated books, facilitate a quality volunteer experience, offer a venue for inmates to tell their own stories and to educate themselves and the community about prisons."
UC B2P is a community-powered volunteer organization that requires no experience to join and is always welcoming and appreciative of new volunteers. Volunteers can help in a variety of ways: working as an individual filling book requests and writing letters to inmates, working as a group filling book requests and writing letters or by staffing the two county jails.
Volunteers are welcome to walk-in for letter writing and book request filling. The open sessions are 7:00 - 9:00 PM Tuesdays, 2:00 - 4:00 PM Thursdays, 2:00 - 4:00 PM Saturdays. The Volunteer entrance is located on the South side of the building and is separate from the buildings main entrance. Volunteers must register at Books to Prisoners if they want to help staff the jails.
Volunteers generally commit to their role in the prison libraries 1-2 times per month. Volunteers work to fulfill item requests by inmates, assist with letter reading/writing, and work to raise donations to purchase new books.
The libraries provide an array of genres for patrons including Sci-Fi, Urban Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Psychology, Self-Help, Religion, History, Hobbies, magazines, and much more. Certain items are always in high-request and the libraries currently cannot meet all requests. Individuals interested in assisting in the development of the current collections to better meet the requests of the patrons can contact B2P volunteers to find ways to get involved.
There are book drop locations across town:
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center- Book Donation bin located inside entrance (door on Broadway) to the left near the information table.
Common Ground Food Co-Op- Book Donation bin located in the entry way.
Strawberry Fields Natural Food Store- Book Donation bin located outside, near the cafe entrance (only available during buisiness hours Mon - Sat 7AM - 8PM, Sun 10AM - 6PM).
Parkland College- Book drop located at College Center, across from the library on the first floor.
McKinley Presbyterian Church and Foundation- Book Donation bin located in the Foundation, by the main desk or on Sundays in the church.