The Prison Books Collective
By Lisa Dzera
Students of the World (SOW) is a national organization of university students producing multimedia stories to inspire social action. Each college chapter creates portfolios focused on the social issues its members care about. These portfolios include photography, videography, writing, and graphic design. This semester, Students of the World-UNC is focusing on education in the prison system. As its first project, Promoting Access to Prison Educational Resources (PAPER), SOW-UNC contacted the Internationalist Prison Books Collective, a nonprofit organization in Carrboro dedicated to providing books to incarcerated people.
On Sunday, February 9, 2014, students documented an average day at the Collective through photos, film and interviews with volunteers. During the workday, volunteers read letters from incarcerated people requesting particular books. They then search the Collective’s bookshelves to fill the order as completely as possible and package and send the books to prisons. SOW talked to volunteers about what got them involved with the Collective, what books were requested the most and their favorite parts about the work. Based on the interviews and information it collected, SOW-UNC will produce a video and several written pieces explaining the importance of the Collective and ways for people to get involved.