Get involved with our small but mighty group—and help us send more books (and even better books!) to more incarcerated women, as well as trans and non binary people. You can donate money or books, volunteer, host a book drive and more:

  • Donate books: We send a great variety of books every week and there are books we just can’t keep on the shelves. Our main restriction is that we only send paperback books to prisons. Also check our special requests and Amazon wish list. These are specific, sometimes urgent needs that you can help us source. (Please ask for a tax donation receipt if you’d like one.)
  • Donate money: This enables our all-volunteer organization to keep pace with our biggest expense—about $1,400 a month in postage. A donation of $10 will send three packages of books to women in prison. A donation of $200 will pay our rent for a month. It’s easy to donate through PayPal using the button at the right of this page. Or please send a check or money order to: Chicago Books to Women in Prison c/o RFUMC, 4511 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60640.We also appreciate gift cards from, Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, Staples or the like. These enable us to buy books and mailing supplies.We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and our EIN is 45-5271700.

    All or part of your gift may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. Please check with your tax adviser.

    Do you work for an organization with an employer-matching program or something similar? We are happy to provide whatever documentation may be required. Not sure if this is an option? Please check. You may find that your donation can be multiplied and go even further.

  • Host a book drive or fundraiser. If you’re interested in helping in this way, just email us at We’d love to work with you on what you have in mind for your workplace, school, neighborhood or even a party with friends and family.We can provide materials you can use to promote the event, as well as help you promote the book drive or fundraiser on our social media channels (if it’s a public event).
  • Volunteer: Every week we meet to match up requests with books from our large inventory and prepare packages for mailing. New volunteers, sign up in advance for one of our monthly orientations (alternating Saturdays and Sundays) from 1 to 2 pm, right before our usual hours from 2 to 5, which you’ll want to plan on attending as well.There is a long waiting list as as we’ve received many inquiries since the recent articleradio interview and TV feature. We keep the number of participants at each monthly orientation at a moderate size. It’s simply a better experience that way and it also enables us to add to our mighty team in a manageable way. You’ll meet with one of our experienced volunteers to learn about the group’s mission, the needs of the people we serve and our process. Once you’ve been trained, you are invited to volunteer whenever you’d like.

    To learn more, please email at and note “Volunteer Training” in the subject line.

  • Solicit books from publishers and authors. This can be an excellent way to get much needed books on our shelves. It’s not necessarily easy, though, as you may have to deal with rejection, no response at all, and getting referred from person to person. But many people have been successful at this and they’ve found it very satisfying.Please email us before you contact authors or publishers on our behalf. We’d be happy to provide guidance as to what we need, tips for a successful solicitation, and content for an email or letter.

    Are you an author or publisher with books that may fit our needs? Please email us before sending books to confirm that we can use them and in the quantity you’d like to send.

Do you have questions, ideas, resource material or opportunities to share? Please get in touch!


IMPORTANT: Learn more before donating books
Please check with us before organizing a book drive or putting together a donation of more than a few books from your own library. We are well stocked and storage space is limited.

1,558 packages so far in 2019

Focusing on all women and trans/non-binary people, last year we sent 4,852 packages to people locked up across the country—nearly 13,500 books and composition books in all. Big thanks to all our supporters because we couldn’t do it without you! (updated April 22, 2019)

Help us get the most wanted books!

Check out the books we always need
SPOTLIGHT: Urban fiction and true crime

• Shop our Amazon wish list (feel free to buy from the list at other stores)

Donate money quickly and easily

Or send your check or money order to 4511 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60640. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift may be tax-deductible.

Shop on AmazonSmile & Amazon will donate to us—at no cost to you

This is an easy, automatic way for you to support our work. Every time you shop at, Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchase to us. It add up to making a big difference.

Sign up now and start shopping.

Follow us on Twitter

  • "For anyone without outside help, [phone, email, video visit & commissary] costs are way out of reach." Not menti…… 30 minutes ago
  • RT @d_holli: 📣 I’m looking for Public Access TV stations and community radio/LPFM outlets doing interesting and innovative work—by working… 1 hour ago
  • RT @profpasha: Brilliant piece by talented writer Arthur Longworth on the need for books and writing in prison. His words eloquently sum up… 2 hours ago

Subscribe to our blog and receive notifications of new posts.


%d bloggers like this: