To First Christian Church of Carbondale,
The 3R’s (Reading Reduces Recidivism) Project wishes to thank the members and friends of First Christian Church in Carbondale for their consistent concern for incarcerated persons. Your frequent book donations and the use of the annex storage room have been an invaluable source of support for the 3Rs Project.
The 3Rs Project of supplying free books to southern Illinois correctional centers continues through the participation of the Carbondale Public Library, Sallie Logan Public Library in Murphysboro, and Wild Thyme book store in Carbondale. If you wish to make future donations of books to the 3R’s Project, please bring them to these locations. Although your donated books will not be set aside specifically for 3Rs, any books chosen by correctional center staff at these locations will be made available at no charge.
MJ Smerken, 3Rs volunteer
There is no space set aside specifically for 3Rs book donations in Jackson County. Prison librarians shop from local public libraries in Murphysboro, Carbondale, and elsewhere after library book sales. The Carbondale Public Library has 7 rooms full of organized books. There are nearly 100,000 books for prison librarians to choose from after a book sale. Unlike most public libraries, the Carbondale Public Library accepts donated books year-round. Donated books in good condition may be (occasionally) added to the public library's collection, but most will go to the library's Friends group. They'll go through one book sale, to give the Friends a chance to earn money for the library. Then prison libraries (and sometimes charitable organizations) will have a chance to take what they need at no charge.
Public Library Contacts:
Carbondale Public Library: Library Director Diana Brawley Sussman, 618-457-0354, ext. 9, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sallie Logan Public Library in Murphysboro: Library Director Loretta Broomfield, 618-684-3271, Loretta.email@example.com
Local independent book store:
Prison libraries may also acquire a limited number of free books from Wild Thyme Books, an independent book store at 705 W. Main St. in Carbondale. Contact book store owner Lori Sailiata directly to make arrangements at 618-713-8790, firstname.lastname@example.org Website: wildthymebooks.com
WTTW recently featured an article about the organization Chicago Books to Women in Prison. Read it here.
3Rs received a large donation of books from the Democratic Socialists chapter in the Springfield area. After a targeted summer book drive members were able to deliver over 50 boxes of books to 3Rs storage Saturday, August 18. Books will be selected for transfer to prison libraries by librarians at a pick up this fall. Thank you DSA for your help in replenishing prison lending libraries in Illinois. Books change lives!
Article of Interest
Illinois Prison System Spent Less Than $300 On Books Last Year - WILL, 4/16/18
- This article outlines how our state prisons are reliant on volunteer groups like 3Rs for reading materials, as there is no designated funding for them.
The Carbondale 3Rs chapter continues to thrive. Carbondale Public Library (CPL) holds a Spring and Fall book sale each year, and invites prison librarians/staff to choose free books after these sales. CPL provides free books throughout the year upon individual correction librarians' requests for books.
Murphysboro Sallie Logan Library holds 3 book sales a year, and also invites prison librarians/staff to choose free books after these sales. A staff member from the Murphysboro Re-entry Center received 17 boxes of free books after one such sale.Prison librarians were also invited in June, 2018 by the retiring owners of the used book store in Carbondale, Bookworm, to choose free books. They had been very supportive of the Carbondale 3R's Project in the past.
News & Brews - Riggs Beer Company
3Rs member Barbara Kessel and 3Rs advocate Michael O'Connor will serve as panelists to discuss Books in Prisons: Why So Complicated?
The discussion will take place Tuesday, July 24th. News & Brews is presented by Illinois Newsroom and WILL. More information can be found here: http://www.riggsbeer.com/index.php/event/news-brews-2/2018-07-24/
The following is a letter of gratitude sent to 3Rs by a prisoner who calls himself a bookworm – “Having the privilege to go to the [prison] library and put my nose in a good book and get lost in a story in another reality than the one I am stuck in, to flip through the pages of an educational book and sharpen my mind wouldn’t be possible without foundations and people such as yourselves. So, from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you.”
In February and March, 2018, the Carbondale 3Rs Project provided free books and magazines to the following Correctional Centers: Big Muddy River, Vandalia, Vienna, Pinckneyville, and the Harrisburg Youth Center. The 3Rs Project was also instrumental in providing the majority of books and magazines for the new library at the Murphysboro Re-entry Center.
Many thanks go to volunteer workers and Sallie Logan Public Library in Murphysboro and the Carbondale Public Library staff, who ensure the Carbondale 3Rs Project continues.
Recently, the Carbondale 3Rs chapter delivered 30 boxes of books to the soon to be opened correctional facility in Murphysboro. Marilyn Smerken kindly donated about 20 boxes of books from her own personal collection. They also had a new volunteer, Ashley, who found 3Rs through the Mormon volunteer web site. She was very helpful in loading boxes and checking books.
Two local public libraries, Murphysboro and Carbondale, will be offering free books to prison librarians in the next few weeks.
3Rs donated multiple boxes of books to prison libraries this past month!
Representatives from Lawrence, Robinson, Taylorville, and Danville CCs came to Urbana select books and 12 boxes of books were taken to Southwestern CC.
Our Carbonale chapter continues to supply books to our correctional centers in Illinois. We are grateful for their ongoing efforts.
We continue to receive many requests for books on how to start a business and books related to re-entry. Visit our Frequently Requested Books page or contact us at 3RsProjectCU@gmail.com for more info on what types of books are in need!
Collecting books is often the easiest part of donating to prison libraries. At times libraries are closed, or understaffed, or lacking services such as working x-ray machines to process donated boxes of books. Volunteer Carol just wrote to report how she solved the problem of books collected with no where to put them. "Just wanted you to know Deputy Jason Zaehringer of the Knox County Jail stopped by yesterday and took 12 boxes of books for the jail library". Thank you Carol and Deputy Zaehringer!
The Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro, which was closed in 2012, is reopening as a "...minimum-security prison focused on 'life skills and re-entry,' where inmates nearing their release dates will receive educational, vocational and life-skills training..." according to an AP press release. http://www.sj-r.com/news/20161014/ex-illinois-youth-prison-to-reopen-as-life-skills-facility
Dana, a librarian from Pinckneyville CC came to Carbondale to find books for the new adult facility's general library from both the public library and the 3Rs book room at First Christian Church. Both the Carbondale Library Director, Diana, and a volunteer, Kara, from the Mormons assisted us in this project. Six boxes of books and one box of magazines were donated.
Loretta, Director of the Sallie Logan Public Library in Murphysboro will be inviting area CC librarians to choose books after their next book sale later this month.