Book drive to benefit prison inmates starts Oct. 5

Book-drive-graphic-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University Libraries and the Center for Civic Engagement will sponsor a book drive Oct. 5-16 to benefit inmates of Washington State Penitentiary.

The drive is part of a related exhibit ( ) in Terrell Library on programs that provide free books to prisoners and this year’s common reading book “Just Mercy,” by Bryan Stevenson.

“The book drive and exhibit give people a chance to not only learn about how important books-to-prisoners programs are, but also provide the opportunity to make a difference,” said Holly Luetkenhaus, WSU instruction librarian and exhibit organizer. “Having books available through libraries and bookstores is something many of us take for granted, but those who are incarcerated have limited access to education and reading material. This book drive is one way to help provide these resources.”

“We know that formal education programs in prisons have declined in recent years, making the availability of books even more important,” said Melanie Brown, director of the WSU Center for Civic Engagement. “Donating a book or two is a small but meaningful act.”

Gently used novels, chess books, dictionaries and GED test preparation books are frequently requested by inmates. Also popular are thesauruses, African American history and fiction, Native American studies, legal materials, vocational-technical manuals, politics, anthropology, art and drawing books (including blank notebooks) and books on paranormal phenomena.

Donors are asked to NOT include spiral-bound or hardback books, romance novels or books published before 1984 (binding glue used before that year becomes brittle, causing books to fall apart).

Collection bins will be located in Holland/Terrell Library, Owen Science and Engineering Library and the Student Recreation Center.

For more information about the book drive, please contact Luetkenhaus at 509-335-4667 or


Holly Luetkenhaus, WSU instruction librarian, 509-335-4667,
Melanie Brown, WSU Center for Civic Engagement director, 509-335-5401,
Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries communications, 509-335-6744,



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