ABOUT LIBERATION LIBRARY
Liberation Library provides books to youth in prison to encourage imagination, self-determination and connection to outside worlds of their choosing. We believe access to books is a right, not a privilege. We believe books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal legal system.
Liberation Library is a volunteer run & led abolitionist org that sends books to young people in IL prisons & jails. We were founded in February 2015 by Project NIA and are fiscally sponsored by the Chicago Freedom School. Our decision-making body is a Steering Committee (SC) that is non-hierarchical & multiracial. While there are Black folks on the SC, they're not the majority.
We provide books to young readers in all of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facilities: IYC Chicago, IYC Harrisburg, IYC Pere Marquette, IYC St. Charles, IYC Warrenville and we also work with jails in multiple counties in Illinois.
We believe strongly that our readers should have a voice and a choice in the books that they receive. Our readers fill out order forms that volunteers fill at twice monthly packing days. Our readers provide their top three choices and general interests, so that we can get them the book of their choosing, or something similar.
Once the book is selected, our volunteers write personalized notes to each reader, and the books that the young people receive are theirs to keep. Our model encourages our readers to have choice and ownership in a world where they are often devoid of both.
Looking for a books to prison program in your area? Check out this list of books to prison programs to find a way to support these efforts locally.