The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project is an all volunteer effort that strives to encourage self-education among prisoners in the United States. By providing free reading materials upon request, we hope to aid in the rehabilitation process and stimulate critical thinking behind bars.

Bowl-A-Thon 2009!

by midwestpagestop...

It's Bowl-A-Thon time again.  Please read the message below and download and print copies of a donation letter to give to friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers as well as the pledge form (copies of these can also be picked up at Pages to Prisoners).  Then come out and bowl for a good cause on Saturday December 5, 2009.

Who: You, our valued volunteer

What: Bowling to raise money for Pages to Prisoners

Where: Indiana Memorial Union Bowling Alley – The Back Alley

When: Saturday December 5, 2009 at 3pm, but start collecting right away!

Why: Unfortunately, money is necessary to send packages, to print forms, to buy dictionaries and packing supplies, etc.


Please join us in this important fundraising venture to keep our beloved project capable of doing its great work. Use the back of this sheet to record pledges from family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and whoever else you can find. Also, consider giving them a copy of our fundraising letter or mail it out to folks.

Important points to make when talking to people:

1. All pledges above $10 are tax deductible. If the donor would their donation to be tax deductible, please write down their full name and mailing address on your pledge sheet and mark the tax letter column. Once we have your pledge sheet and money we will send a tax deduction form directly to the donor.

2. There is no minimum pledge. If people cannot donate money but still want to help out, suggest that they donate their time by volunteering, donating books, or packing supplies such as old envelopes.

3. People can donate in two ways: 1) per point. If someone pledges 10 cents a point and your final score is 76 they will owe $7.60; 2) flat rate. Anyone is welcome to give us $10 (or any amount) despite your score.

Please make sure all your pledges (money and sheet) are mailed to or dropped off at either Boxcar Books or the Pages to Prisoners space, or turned in to Searle or Michael by December 14th.

Questions? Write to

Go forth and raise money!

In Solidarity,
Pages to Prisoners

submitted on Mon, 2008-11-17 16:19

Frequently Asked Questions

by midwestpagestop...

How do I start a books to prisoners project in my community?

The first thing that you'll have to do is to find a local bookstore or publisher to partner with your project.  All of the prisons and jails that we know of only allow books to be sent from a bookstore or publisher.  So, in order to get books to incarcerated people, you will have to operate under that bookstore or publisher.  In our case, we partner with Boxcar Books.

There is a national listserve for people involved with books to prisoners projects.  This is a good resource for advice about starting a project and to get an idea about the concerns and practices involved with running a project.  You can find out more information about this mailing list here.

Finally, if you're able, come and visit us in Bloomington and volunteer for a day.  You'll be able to see how we do things and pick the brains of our volunteers.  Information about volunteering with us is available on our volunteering page.

submitted on Thu, 2008-10-09 17:20

Get free books in Prison!

by midwestpagestop...

If you are an incarcerated person who wants to receive free books, or you have a loved one who wants to receive free books, please read this page which describes where we send books, the books we send, how often we send books, and how books can be requested.

States we serve

We used to provde books to incarcerated people nationwide (other than a few states which prohibited sending books or who had large corrections systems that would overwhelm our project).  Unfortunately, we now only have the financial and volunteer resources to send books to people in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

If you or your loved one is incarcerated somewhere else, there are many projects like ours throughout the country that might be able to help.  Find a prison book program near you.

What we can send

Our project has thousands of books that range from classic fiction, to mystery novels, to books on Latino history, to Calculus.  We have very limited funds for purchasing books, so most of these books have been donated from the community in Bloomington, Indiana.  A small number of books are purchased at used book sales, and some are obtained through Internet book trading sites. Since most of our books are used, people in facilities that prohibit used books will have a greatly limited selection.

How many books can I get and how often?

Because of the large number of requests we receive every week, we are able to send 2 or 3 books once every 2 months. 

How do I get books?

Books can be requested through the mail by sending a letter to

The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project
c/o Boxcar Books and Community Center, Inc.
408 E. 6th St.
Bloomington, IN 47408

The letter should include your (or your loved one's) name, DOC#, facility name, mailing address, any restrictions on books being sent to their facilitiy (for example: no hardcover books, invoice required, etc.), and the kind of books that you would like.

Since most of our books are donated, we cannot often provide the exact titles that people request (though we do our best).  You'll have better luck if you ask for books by author or in a particular genre or on a particular subject.  The more areas of interest that you send us, the more likely it is that we'll find good books that match what you're looking for.


submitted on Thu, 2008-10-09 16:32

Help find books on "self discovery" and AA books

by midwestpagestop...

While Pages' main goal is to support the reading needs of incarcerated people directly by sending indivduals books, when possible, we try to also provide books to institutional programs.  In many cases, there is little or no funding for these programs and they cannot purchase reading materials that are needed for the programs.  In the past such programs have included a bibliotherapy program and prison library.  We recently got requests for books from two institutional programs and need your help recommending and donating books or funds to purchase books.

Alcoholics Anonymous at the Monroe County Jail

 AA classes are being made available for some men at the county jail. The person organizing these classes is looking for the following books:

  • Back to Basics
  • Keep it Simple
  • 24 or One Day at a Time 
  • Daily Reflection 

If you can donate any of these books, please contact us by e-mail at or by phone at 1.866.598.1543 (toll-free).

Getting Out By Going In

Getting Out By Going In (GOGI) is a program out of LA that

"provides simple tools for making positive choices. Delivered in our books, workbooks, workshops and classroom settings, GOGI is focused on one thing: Positive Choices.

The GOGI program is designed to help participants “Get Out” of old behavior by “Going In” for self-improvement. Our coaches empower the individual with information, opportunity and support for lasting change."

They're looking for "ANY books on self discovery."  They say, "Biographies are good. Success stories are great. How to achieve success is great. Books which explore change are good...."

Women in the GOGI program do reports on donated books that they read and discuss them with other program participants.  

At Pages, its important that we try to not send incarcerated people the books that we might think they want/need because they are incarcerated, but books that they request using our experiences to guide us in the same way we would share a book with a friend of colleague.  In that spirit, if you can suggest a book on self discovery, person change, success stories, or how to achieve success, please e-mail us at or leave a message at  1.866.598.1543 (toll-free).  Better yet, donate such a book to us!

Monetary Donations

Monetary donations can always help us purchase much-needed, but rarely donated books such as these.  To donate online with PayPal, visit an click the 'Make a Donation' button on the left hand side of the page.  Checks can be mailed to us at

The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project
118 S. Rogers St. Suite 2
Bloomington, IN 47404

submitted on Mon, 2008-09-15 17:14

New space, thanks for helping tonight, additional help needed

by midwestpagestop...
Pages to Prisoners has signed a lease on a new space.   The new Pages space will be at 118 S Rodgers Suite #2.  This is the building at the corner of Rodgers and Fourth that also houses the Ryder Magazine.  We will be moving in on Monday.

Thanks to everyone who came and volunteered tonight.  Together, we were able to box up all the books on the shelves.  Things that still need to be done are:

* Unscrewing the shelves from the wall.
* Checking/sending outgoing packages
* Possibly modifying some shelves to fit the new space
* Boxing up things in the office
* Boxing up things in the closets
* Preparing tables/chairs for moving
* ???

Volunteers will be moving Boxcar Books this weekend.   There will be experienced Pages volunteers during some of these times to help finish up with Pages moving tasks, so if you can come in this weekend and help, please do.  Also, if you have the time, our partners at Boxcar could certainly use some help moving.

* Saturday, July 26 10am-2pm (ask for Mark to orient you)
* Sunday, July 27 11am-2pm (ask for Jen to orient you), 2-5pm (ask for Riley to orient you)

If you have any questions, please e-mail

Take care,
submitted on Fri, 2008-07-25 04:55

Help Pages Move!

by midwestpagestop...
As you may know, Pages and its partner, Boxcar Books are losing their space as the building where they have been housed for many years is being demolished for a new bus station.  Boxcar Books is moving to 408 East 6th Street (the former Cereal Barn) and pages is still finalizing a new location.  However, both Boxcar and Pages WILL BE MOVING THIS COMING MONDAY, JULY 28.  Pages really needs your help boxing up our books, modifying shelving and helping to unload and reorganize the new space. 

If you can help with this, please come to Pages during our normal volunteer hours, tonight, Thursday July 24 at 8pm and Sunday, July 27 at 2pm.

Help make this move to an exciting new space as easy as possible so we can focus on our mission of sending free books to incarcerated people.
submitted on Thu, 2008-07-24 14:35

Benefit Book Sale This Saturday

by midwestpagestop...
Pages Book Sale

the midwest pages to prisoners project is moving to a smaller space! as a result we need to downsize our collection by selling duplicate copies or books that are rarely requested by the incarcerated people that we serve. prices will be $1/hardcover, $0.50/paperback, and after 2pm, $2 for whatever you can fit in a bag. all proceeds from this sale benefit our continued efforts of sending free books to incarcerated people. e-mail for more information.

submitted on Wed, 2008-07-02 21:40

T.I.S. donates textbooks, Pages donates to New Castle Prison Library

by midwestpagestop...

Once again, T.I.S. college bookstore  was helpful enough to set up collection bins at their store during textbook buybacks so customers could donate textbooks they could not or did not wish to sell, to the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project.  We received over 30 boxes of books.  These boxes included a wide variety of college textbooks but also some dictionaries, Spanish to English dictionaries, books on African American history and culture, and other types of books that are very often requested by Pages.  I

Also, recently, The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project was asked for donations to help improve the prison library at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The New Castle C.F. library had less than 1000 books for its average daily population of 1006 people.  Through books from the T.I.S. donation and other community donors, the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project was able to fill up a mini-van with books to improve the prison library.

submitted on Sun, 2008-05-11 17:19

A New Jail?!: Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration in Monroe County

by midwestpagestop...

Folks interested in the work that Pages to Prisoners does may also be interested in this day of popular education. 

May 3 Jail Education Banner

Saturday, May 3, 2008
A New Jail?!: Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration in Monroe County

Events At:

Boxcar Books
310A S. Washington St.
Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 339-8710

The Cinemat
123 S. Walnut St.
(812) 333-4700
Bloomington, IN 47401

A day of popular education that will explore alternatives to the current proposal of building new adult and youth jails in Bloomington. Through interactive workshops featuring community members, non-profits, experienced activists, and YOU, we will explore: What is the history of incarceration in Monroe County? What are some existing community alternatives to incarceration in Bloomington and other parts of the country? What have successful campaigns to challenge other jail constructions looked like? Several workshops will offer education, training, and networking opportunities for local folks questioning the need for new jails. The day’s events will culminate with special guest speaker Kai Barrow from Critical Resistance. This is an open event, with people from all backgrounds and political beliefs encouraged to attend.

Workshop One- 11:00 am, Boxcar Books
A discussion and Presentation on the History of the Monroe County Jail System

This workshop will begin with an interview from Indiana University Criminal Justice Department faculty member, Hal Pepinsky. Following the interview will be a facilitated discussion on the history of the jail, encouraging input from community members in piecing together the jail's history and the sharing of personal and familial experiences with the jail.

Workshop Two- 2:00 pm, Boxcar Books
A Panel Discussion on Alternatives to Incarceration

This workshop will explore community alternatives to incarceration in Bloomington, as well as highlight successful initiatives from around the country. Representatives from different organizations will speak briefly about how their work keeps people out of jail by offering positive responses to poverty, homelessness, hunger, and conflict that enrich and restore community. Workshop attendees will be able to offer their own perspectives on what makes a community safe and whole.

Film Screening- 4:00 pm, The Cinemat
Yes, In My Backyard, A documentary by Tracy Huling

Financially-strapped communities are now begging for prisons to be built in their backyards. With plundering agribusiness, military-base closings and major industry relocation, incarceration is seen as the salvation of rural communities. Through the eyes of one farming-community-turned-prison-town, this hour documentary explores the increasing and multi-layered dependence of rural America on prison industries and subtly probes the profound implications of this dependence for both the keepers and the kept, and for our society's understanding of and response to crime.

Workshop Three- 6:00 pm, Boxcar Books
Potluck Dinner and Discussion with Kai Barrow from Critical Resistance

Kai Barrow, one of five paid staff persons for Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization committed to ending society’s use of prisons and policing as an answer to social problems, will lead a discussion

For more press, interview, or further contact information, please use information below:

Judah Schept
(812) 219-3611

Download a flyer for this event (PDF)

submitted on Fri, 2008-04-25 22:49

Bowl-A-Thon Postponed

by midwestpagestop...
Due to the short timespan to prepare for this fundraiser and the opportunity to collaborate with other local groups, the Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser will not be happening this Saturday, April 5, but will instead be postponed until a later date.  Please continue to collect donations if you would like to participate, or contact us if you would like to sponsor a bowler.

For more information about the bowl-a-thon and for information and donation forms, please see

Geoff Hing
The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project
submitted on Thu, 2008-04-03 16:36


During Indiana University's Fall and Spring semesters:
  • Mondays 7-9pm
  • Thursdays 7-10pm
  • Sundays 2-5pm
During Indiana University's Winter Break and Summer semesters:
  • Thursdays 7-9pm
  • Sundays 2-4pm
at 118 S. Rogers Suite #2 Bloomington, IN 47404 Please read our volunteering page for more information.


You can also support us by donating materials, books, and/or money. We are always in need of packing materials and reusable manilla envelopes. Please contact us before donating books. Checks can be made out to "Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project" and sent to or dropped off during normal business hours at Boxcar Books at 408 E. 6th St. Bloomington, IN 47408 You can donate to our project online using PayPal by clicking on the button below.


The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project
c/o Boxcar Books and Community Center, Inc.
118 S. Rogers
Suite 2
Bloomington, IN 47404

1.866.598.1543 (toll-free)

mwpp [at]


The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project would like to thank BookMooch for their generous support. BookMooch, an online community for exchanging used books, has generously donated points to us so we can request specific books from BookMooch members.

There are many other groups that work towards the same goals as the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project. Read more.

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Zine Distro

Starting this month, Midwest Pages to Prisoners is embarking on a new project aimed at making more available radical literature to prisoners in Indiana. The ‘zine distro’ will catalog over 115 zines on topics ranging from prison issues to queer and trans issues, from radical history to pieces written by prisoners in Indiana. The project is intended to compliment the work already being done by Pages by offering, on a smaller scale, literature more directed to people seeking specifically political material. Click here for more information.