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What to Donate to Correctional Services

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At Correctional Services, we find the reading interests of inmates reflect those of patrons in our branch libraries. The vast majority of our collection is made up of donated books. We ask interested parties to please visit our regularly updated Amazon Wish List to see what we are looking for. The wishlist is based on actual requests from our regular patrons. Due to some wonderfully abundant donations recently, we are currently accepting donations of only a limited scope of topics.  Listed below is a breakdown of some of the genres, titles, and authors we need most for our patrons at Rikers Island. If you plan on donating in the future, please check the breakdown again, as our needs change over time. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

We are also always looking for ways to fund additional staff to manage our libraries and programs in jails in prisons. We are a staff of four and rely heavily on volunteers. It would help the program immensely if we were able to hire additional staff from our volunteer corps. If you wish to donate directly to this effort, we can accept checks made out to NYPL CORRECTIONAL SERVICES of any amount.

Please read the following list carefully. Although we greatly appreciate your generosity, we can only accept donations that meet the guidelines listed below.

Paperback books for which we have a need:

Popular Fiction (New titles only please: 2011+)
James Patterson, Lee Child, Dan Brown, Vince Flynn, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman, John Sanford, Stuart Woods, Janet Evanovich, Brad Thor, Iris Johansen, Ken Follett, Lisa Jackson, John Grisham, David Morrell, Sydney Sheldon, Dean Koontz

Urban Lit (Authors listed here only please)
Ashley & JaQuavis, Wahida Clark, Deja King, Nikki Turner, Zane, Noire, Teri Woods, Donald Goines, Miasha, Miranda Parker, K'won, LA Banks, Treasure Hernandez

Fantasy Series Books (Listed or new titles only please: 2011+)
All R. A. Salvatore Series, Wheel of Time series, Games of Thrones series, Stephen King (Dark Tower Series & Witch Wizard Series), Beautiful Creatures Series, Sharrilyn Kennyon, Laurel K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, and all supernatural romance

Spanish Fiction & Non-Fiction
Latin American authors and all fiction/non-fiction authors, genres & topics listed here

Education
Current TASC workbooks, 2013/2014 computer books, 2010 Microsoft Office, 2013/2014 World Almanacs, E-Z Series (Math, Geometry, Algebra)

Other subjects/genres of interest:

  • Comic books
  • English dictionaries, pocket size
  • Black interest: biography/history/black power movement
  • Black Panthers
  • Body building/Weight training
  • Health
  • Animals
  • Baby names
  • Self help
  • Love poems
  • True crime
  • Architecture/Interior design
  • Business/Finance
  • Science/Astronomy
  • Dream Interpretation/Astrology/Tarot/Occult
  • Hip-Hop biography/history/business
  • Biographies: Sports/Music
  • Conspiracy Theories: Illuminati/New World Order/UFO
  • Automotive industry & repair/Motorcycles
  • Islamic spiritual & historical/Muhammad
  • Santeria, Yoruba
  • Chess
  • Popular magazines from 2013-2014
  • National Geographic (any year)
  • Large Print books

Items not needed at this time:
Any hardcover books; Romance novels; Classics printed before 2010; Galley Proofs; Computer/tech books published before 2013; Used children's books; Old books that are fragile, yellow, etc.; & Any books not listed above.

Remember to send only paperback books.

*NOTE: We know that old books are still pure gold to many of us. However, we encourage donors to send us newer books in great shape. This ensures that they will be attractive and interesting on our book carts and shelves, especially to those who are new or hesitant readers.

If your books and magazines match our needs, we accept donations through the mail or in person at our office in Midtown.

Please send books directly to:

Correctional Services
attn: Sarah Ball
445 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

With further questions about donating or to arrange a drop-off, we are best reached by email. Please email Sarah Ball at sarahball@nypl.org or call 212.592.7553

Thank you ever so much for your support.

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