Book Donation Guidelines and Instructions

Notice:

LAB2P is at reduced operations due to Covid. We can accept mailed donations, but please do not leave books at the book drop or come to the volunteer nights. No one will be there to sort the books or let you inside. No, we don’t know when we will reopen fully. We know– we miss you, too.

Books we need:

  • Check out our carefully curated wishlist! It’s behind the gold button! Click the button!
  • We can only accept paperback books. Unfortunately, prison restrictions will not allow us to send hardbacks inside. We cannot accept hardback books.
  • Popular requests include Black history and literature, urban fiction, westerns, mysteries and thrillers, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.
  • Especially helpful are books on job skills: starting your own business, automotive or home improvement, and resume writing or job searching.
  • GED/Pre-GED study guides.
  • How to draw, coloring books, sudoku or crossword puzzles, and various hobbies.
  • Health, fitness, recovery, and addiction.
  • Legal dictionaries or current books on criminal law.
  • Books on LGBT culture and issues.
  • Popular science books.

Books we don’t need:

  • Please DO NOT bring us hardcovers or textbooks. They’re not allowed inside most prisons, so we don’t stock them. We can’t do anything with them but take them to Goodwill for you. Please do not drop off hardback books.
  • Books in poor condition. People in prison deserve decent books! We don’t want to send books that are falling apart or damaged. Just thank the books for their service and recycle those, please.
  • General fiction. The above genres are welcome, but we’re normally stocked up on general fiction.
  • Books with wire spines, CDs, or DVDs inside. These will just get returned by the prison.
  • Children’s books. We keep a few in stock, but we don’t get many requests for them.
  • Outdated books. GRE/MCAT study guides, books on tort law, AOL for Dummies, or pre-recession real estate books will not spark joy. People inside deserve useful books with current information they can actually use.
  • Encyclopedias. We can’t send these due to prison rules, and also they’re just so big and heavy.
  • Travel guides (or anything with a lot of maps). These are banned in most prisons.
  • Magazines. They’re banned at most prisons, too.

While the support from the community is appreciated, we unfortunately don’t have the space or time to process these types of contributions. We are all volunteers. Sorting through and disposing of useless books can take valuable time away from other tasks. If you have any doubts, feel free to email us with any questions. If you are looking for another home for a bunch of books, we suggest the Little Free Libraries, the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library, or the UNO Symphony book sale. SisterHearts Thrift Store in New Orleans East is also a good option– it’s run by formerly incarcerated women (and also they have some really good stuff there– you should check it out).

How to Donate Books (when we’re not in a pandemic):

Paperback book donations can always be dropped off at any time, 24/7, on the carport shelves at our workspace. A photo is below showing the book drop location.
2523 George Nick Connor Drive
New Orleans, LA 70119
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Please do not send mail to this address.

If you can’t make it to our space, you can mail them to us. Media mail is cheapest for books. Our mailing address:
Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners
3157 Gentilly Blvd. #141
New Orleans, LA 70122

Please note that we can only accept paperback books, not hardbacks, due to prison restrictions. Please be sure to place books on the shelves behind the book curtain, not in the driveway or white mailbox. You can also email books2prisoners@gmail.com to schedule a time to drop them off in person. We are always at the space from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sundays, so that’s the best time to drop by if you need help with boxes. If you have a large number of books to donate, we may be able to coordinate a pickup from you. Please email us and let us know how many boxes you have and what type of books they are.

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