Books Behind Bars Project

To buy books for the Ohio Reformatory for Women Library, click here!

To buy books from Amazon for Lowell Main Campus, click here!

To buy books from Amazon for Lowell Work Camp Library, click here!

To fulfill book requests from individual SWOP Behind Bars members, click here!

This Guide to Donating Books to Prison Libraries will help make sure your donation gets into the prison library.

1. NO PORNOGRAPHIC MATERIAL is allowed in prison!  This is a national mandate but some jurisdictions consider it a criminal offense and have a special criminal charge for sending pornographic material.  Most of the time they will just throw it away in the mail room and you will have done nothing more than waste postage but we encourage you not to take the chance.  “Pornographic material” is generally images of genitalia.

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2. Donating books to the prison library do NOT need to be purchased and mailed directly from an online bookstore.  These materials can be directly mailed to the prison but they DO need to be new or in “like new” condition. Write PRISON LIBRARY BOOK DONATION on each side of the box you send and you can use the SWOP USA return address if you don’t want to use your own home address.  That address is:

SWOP-USA BOOKS BEHIND BARS PROJECT
340 S LEMON AVE #7566
WALNUT CA 91789

3. Remove any dust covers from hardback editions and make sure there are no personally identifying information noted anywhere.  If you are the author of the book, you may sign the book if you like but we recommend you don’t.  A signed book can be considered more valuable and may cause your book to be denied entrance into the library.  Make sure there are no notes or bookmarks or anything that could be interpreted as an attempt to get information, secret codes or communication to specific individuals  on the cover or in the pages of the book. Books must be NEW or in “LIKE NEW” condition before sending.  They DO NOT accept books that are NOT completely clean with unwarped pages, unbroken spines, clean page edges, no dogeared pages, etc.

4.  Mail the book (or books) to the following address at either the Lowell Women’s Prison or the Gadsden Women’s Prison and send us a quick email at swopbehindbars@gmail.com to let us know the book title, the retail value and the cost of shipping and we will send you a tax deductible donation receipt!

Lowell Correctional Institution
ATTN: Ms. Pippin | Memo: Prison Library Donation
11120 NW Gainesville Rd,
Ocala, FL 34482
Print, fill, & include this donation form in package.

Lowell Correctional Institution
Attn: Ms. Pippin | Memo: Work Camp | Property Room: Ms. Webb – Prison Library Donation
11120 NW Gainesville Rd,
Ocala, FL 34482
Gadsden Correctional Institution
Prison Library Donation
6044 Greensboro Hwy
Quincy, FL 32351
Our newest Correctional Institution is the Ohio Women’s Reformatory.  If you want to donate books to the Ohio Women’s Reformatory, keep in mind that books must be NEW or in “LIKE NEW” condition before sending.  They DO NOT accept books that are NOT completely clean with unwarped pages, unbroken spines, clean page edges, no dogeared pages, etc.  We have had books refused at this facility for these reasons and this can cause damage to our relationship with the prison.
Ohio Reformatory for Women
Attn Education Department/Prison Library
1479 Collins Ave
Marysville, OH 43040
You can also donate new or used books to Chicago Books to Women in Prison by following the instructions here.  We are proud to partner with them to help provide more educational materials, journals, notebooks, envelopes, and paper.  You may drop off or mail donations to
Chicago Books to Women in Prison
c/o RFUMC
4511 N. Hermitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

5.  You MAY send more than one of the same title and you may send them ALL at the same time to one of the THREE Lowell prison libraries or the privately run Gadsden Facility..

6.  You may send books that DO NOT have anything to do with sex work or sex worker rights.  Folks in prison like novels, poetry, short stories, self help books, biographies, historical fiction and non-fiction, auto-biographies, GED study guides, How-To or DIY manuals, and even high school or college textbooks that you are no longer using,  The program directors have encouraged us to send books on addiction and recovery as well.  Our Amazon Wish List is Here.  We also have individual Amazon Lists for individuals who have written us an made specific requests.

7.  If you publish a newsletter, we can provide you with the names of the individual ladies who are incarcerated at Lowell and other prisons around the US and you can send mail directly to them.