Volunteer as an Individual | as a Group | In a Jail Library | Find our Volunteer Entrance
   
Volunteer Sessions
7:00 - 9:00 PM Tuesdays
2:00 - 4:00 PM Saturdays

Individuals

Our volunteers read letters from prisoners and select books from our collection in response to their requests. Volunteers also do book boxing, book cleaning, book sorting, emptying book donation bins, data-entry and packing/shipping. If you'd like to volunteer with us, please note:

  • Our workspace is not accessible yet. We only have stairs.
  • We require proof of full vaccination at your first visit and compliance with COVID precautions as listed in the room.
  • Our sessions are limited to 10 people.
  • Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult volunteer.
Sign up to volunteer for one of our sessions at this link. It is where you will find updates and important notices about the schedule as well. Learn more by calling (708) 782-4608. Currently we meet twice per week at the Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center (IMC), located at 202 S. Broadway in Urbana Illinois.

Our Volunteer entrance is located on the South side of the building and is
separate from the buildings main entrance. To find our entrance from the buildings main entrance (large staircase w/ columns) if facing the main entrance, you will need to go around the building to your right and locate the staircase to the basement which has a sign for Books to Prisoners.



Volunteer Groups

We are happy to arrange for community groups to volunteer with Books to Prisoners.  We have work sessions as laid out at in a table the top of this page. During work sessions, our volunteers interact with the incarcerated by reading their letters, selecting books from our collection of donated materials and sending books in response to their requests. Volunteers also help move and sort donated books.  With advanced notice, we are able to accommodate groups of up to five volunteers during any of those work sessions.

If your group includes more than five people, please use our contact form to make arrangements.  Saturday afternoon is the most popular session for groups of volunteers and tends to fill up quickly.  During peak volunteer season, we occasionally add a 12-1:30 PM sessions on Saturdays to accomodate demand.  Unfortunately, our rooms are not accessible by wheelchair and our maximum capacity is about 20 volunteers.

If you have a group that is larger than 10 people, we can use you to help us with book drives and our twice a year book sales.  If your group is interested in helping with a book drive or a book sale, please use our contact form to get in touch we will contact you with more information about these opportunities.



Jail Library

UC Books to Prisoners stocks, staffs and operates lending libraries in Champaign County's two jails. No experience is required to take part in this truly unique volunteer opportunity.

Champaign County requires that participants be at least twenty-one years of age in order to qualify.

UC Books to Prisoners asks that you can commit to working one 2-3 hour shift per month, during which you will be paired with an experienced library volunteer and provided training while you work together in a safe, enjoyable atmosphere.

History of our jail library

Jail Library Hours of operation:
Monday 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Tuesday 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Friday 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic

Please leave a message below for more information on getting started as a volunteer Jail Librarian.


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Find Us

Our workshop is located in the basement of the Independent Media Center at 202 S. Broadway Ave in Urbana, IL. Volunteers can park in the garage on the North-West corner of Broadway and Elm.

Our Volunteer entrance is located on the South side of the IMC building. Follow the blue arrows below from Elm Street, around the building to the alley between Lincoln Square Mall and the IMC, or approach from the North entrance to Lincoln Square. During advertised volunteer hours, follow the stairwell to the bike project / books to prisoners. The exterior building door is heavy - if it appears to be locked when you arrive, ring the door bell.


find us