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Each month we spotlight a local nonprofit that's in need of help. It's a way to connect our listeners with charities that make an impact.

Get Involved spotlight: Inside Books Project

Inside Books Project

From Inside Books Project, this month's Get Involved spotlight nonprofit:

The Inside Books Project has been sending free books and educational material to people incarcerated in Texas prisons since 1998. Based in Austin, and collectively run, we have been sending books to 400-500 people each week in more than 100 state and federal prisons in Texas for the last 25 years.

Illiteracy is a major barrier for incarcerated people and a major contributor to recidivism . 80% of the 135,000 people incarcerated in Texas at any time are functionally illiterate and 50% are dyslexic. The books and literature we send to people not only helps them pass time, but are used to increase reading levels in order to learn a new trade once released, read and do legal research on their own behalf, get a GED, and self-educate. During the worst part of the COVID pandemic , Texas prisons were on a total lockdown for months, with libraries closed, visits banned & people locked in their cells for days on end. Inside Books sent books and scientifically-based COVID health & safety resources to people in TDCJ during the worst parts of the lockdown to help people maintain their mental health. Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates and the world. The state does little to encourage literacy & education within the prison system, and prison libraries in Texas are historically under-funded and dismally stocked. Inside Books not only sends books to individuals in Texas prisons, but also donates 10,000s of books to county and state jails around Texas each year to help with this disparity.

Inside Books is sustained by our community here in Austin and around the state and country. Twice a week volunteers help pick books and write letters to be sent to 1,500-2,000 each month, and 25,000 people each year. The majority of our books are donated by the public and almost all of our funding (the majority of which goes towards postage) comes from individuals . We also get incredible support from Austin area bookstores, libraries, and writers and book publishers around the country .

For more information check out our website at

Ways to get involved :

* become a monthly sustainer or donate money.

* volunteer to find books and write letters to people in Texas prisons.

* donate books or do a book drive for us (see website for what kinds of books we like)

* follow us on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces and hosts This Is My Thing and Arts Eclectic, and also produces Get Involved and the Sonic ID project. When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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