Books To Prisoners (BTP) is a Seattle-based, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that sends books to prisoners in the United States. BTP believes that books are tools for learning and opening minds to new ideas and possibilities. By sending books to prisoners, we hope to foster a love of reading and encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.
Founded in the early 1970s and sponsored by Left Banks Books, BTP receives 600 to 800 requests for books each month. Volunteers work two evenings a week opening letters, finding books in our collection that correspond to the request, and wrapping and mailing parcels. Because of continuing backlog of requests, prisoners sometimes wait up to six months to receive their books.
Prisoners request a variety of books. Most prisons accept paperback books only. The most popular requests are dictionaries, thesauruses, African American history and fiction, Native American studies, legal material, GED materials, and languages (particularly Spanish.) Other common requests include fiction, vocational-technical manuals, politics, anthropology, art and drawing, psychology, and health and fitness.