Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nelson Mandela Day

Today has been declared Nelson Mandela Day:
The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”
To celebrate Nelson Mandela Day and Nelson Mandela as a former prisoner, I am getting the word out about the great organization DC Books to Prisons, and I myself am going to get organized to send a box of books to a prison library. 

What do prisoners like to read? According to DC Books to Prisons, here are the books in most demand:

  1. Dictionaries (English, Spanish-English) (by far, most popular request)
  2. Spanish Textbooks
  3. Atlases and almanacs
  4. Drawing or art
  5. Science and alternative energy (including science magazines like Discover or Scientific American)
  6. How-to (especially woodworking, plumbing, car mechanics, small motor repair)
  7. GED preparation
  8. Farming and agriculture
  9. Personal finance or starting a business
  10. American Indians, Mayans, or Aztecs
  11. African American, Latin American, or classical (Roman,Greek) history
  1. Westerns
  2. Urban
According to the American Library Association, popular fiction authors include, Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, Donald Goines, Sydney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, Stuart Woods, Jeffrey Deavers, John Grisham, Walter Mosley, all African American writers, all authors of Westerns.

Now, DC Books to Prison can only take paperback books. There are some other rules to follow too. You can also donate stamps, postage money, and time.

In the greater DC area, we have been blessed with some great prison librarians, such as Glennor Shirley (photo to the left). However, as I understand, the DC Jail does not even have a library! It seems to have a law library, but I am not certain. Well, it would be great if the DC Jail had a library.

As one of the prisoners wrote to DC Books to Prison:
"Thank you for everything that you do. You have no idea how much this not only means to us, but also helps us. Please don't ever stop." – Robert, Tucson AZ
Three cheers for Nelson Mandela and Nelson Mandela Day!

P.S. Here are a list of some possible activities suggested by the Nelson Mandela Day organizers.

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