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Library Week - Liberation Library

Posted: Apr 02 2017

UPDATED: 4/5/17

We recently chatted with the crew at Liberation Library to find out more about their mission, how you can get involved and their vision for the future. Check out our interview below!

What is Liberation Library and why does it matter?

Liberation Library is a volunteer-based organization in Chicago that provides books to young people in Illinois prisons and juvenile detention centers. Our readers request and receive books of their choosing, and what they receive is theirs to keep. We believe access to books is a right, not a privilege. We believe books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal justice system.

How has it grown since its founding in 2015?

Since being founded by Project NIA in 2015, we have sent over 1,000 books to young people across Illinois. Every book we send is a donation from our supporters, and includes a handmade bookmark and personalized note from our volunteers that meet twice monthly. Since our founding, we have also sent over 500 holiday cards to all young people in each prison we ship to, and are an active member of the prison abolitionist community in Chicago, facilitating conversations with high schoolers around the school to prison pipeline and the negative impact of incarceration.

What are some of the most requested books?

Some of our most requested books are from authors such as Coe Booth, Ashley & Jacquavis, Stephen King, and James Patterson.

Can you share any personal stories or letters that you have received from these kids?

We met with some of our readers, and one young man said that the book Tyrell saved his life, because he realized that someone else was going through the same thing as him. Books can provide connection and escapism, and are an essential right for any young person caged in prison.

As one of our readers says to why Liberation Library is important to him: "It's free and it gives inmates a possession, something we don't really get the pleasure to say, that we actually own something while incarcerated."

How does someone become involved with Liberation Library?

You can support our work from any part of the world! You can donate funds that go towards purchasing books, space, and shipping, or you can check out our wishlist and purchase specific books. If you are living in or visiting the Chicago area, sign up and stop by a packing day and see our work in action!

Also check us out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and show the world you believe that access to books is a right, not a privilege.

Liberation Library - packing

What’s next? Where do you see this in 2-5 years?

We are honored to be a part of the prison abolitionist community of Chicago, and hope to continue connecting with other organizations across the country in collective action and support. We are looking to expand to more Illinois youth prisons, and expand our space, so that we can have a more robust library that can meet all the diverse book requests of our readers. Finally, we want to connect more with young people who have been impacted by the criminal punishment system, and have their voices engaged in our work and our growth.

For more information on Liberation Library, check out their website: http://www.liberationlib.com/

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UPDATED: 4/3/17

Library Week is always a special time at Out of Print. We love to celebrate libraries and support worthy causes with your help. Like in 2014, when you helped PS 244, an early childhood public school (Pre-K to 3rd grade) in New York City, buy a scanning system so their students could finally check out books to read at home.

Or in 2015, you helped fully fund an application from the Coffeeville Elementary School in Alabama to stock its library with new books.



And just last year, in our most ambitious goal to date, you helped stock a school library in the rural town of Masaka, Uganda with a mix of fiction, non-fiction and academic resources, including computers!

 

This year, we're excited to start our Library Week celebration a week early and support an amazing organization, Liberation Library.

Liberation Library banner

Liberation Library is a volunteer-based group in Chicago that provides books to young people in Illinois prisons and juvenile detention centers. What makes them unique is they ask the kids what books they want to read, and then Liberation Library goes to work to get those books into their hands. However, they are running out of space for all the donated books and we're looking to help with this issue. 10% of all Library Collection sales through April 9 will go towards funding their new storage facility. Bookmark this page as we'll have more updates throughout the week, including an interview with the staff.

For more information on Liberation Library, check out their website: http://www.liberationlib.com/

Shop the Library Collection

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