Exhibit, Book Drive Highlight Prison Literacy Programs

Prison guard tower photo by Rennett Stowe (uploaded by russavia; CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

More than 30 programs work to provide free books to people incarcerated around the country, improving literacy in prisons and bolstering poorly funded prison libraries. An exhibit opening this week in the Washington State University Terrell Library atrium explores the history and role of these programs.

The exhibit is one of several events tied to this year’s WSU common reading book, “Just Mercy,” by Bryan Stevenson. He is executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which offers legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners. Read more at http://CommonReading.wsu.edu.

Book drive starts Oct. 5

WSU Libraries and the Center for Civic Engagement will sponsor an exhibit-related book drive Oct. 5-16 to benefit inmates of Washington State Penitentiary. Collections bins will be located in Holland/Terrell Library, Owen Science and Engineering Library and the Student Recreation Center.

Gently used novels, chess books, dictionaries and GED test preparation books are frequently requested by inmates. 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).

For more information about the book drive, please contact Holly Luetkenhaus, WSU instruction librarian and exhibit organizer, at 509-335-4667 or holly.luetkenhaus@wsu.edu.

Luetkenhaus said she hopes those who stop by the exhibit will learn how books-to-prisons programs can transform not only individuals, but also the system of incarceration.

“They are a good way for inmates to have access to reading material and education, which can reduce recidivism,” she said.

For the full story about the exhibit, please visit https://news.wsu.edu/2015/09/21/exhibit-book-drive-highlight-prison-lite….