Letter to the editor: Read and Serve book group is looking for donations for Dallas County Jail library

Dallas County News
Three members of the the Read and Serve book group include, from left, Carol Hill, Diane Findlay and Bob Findlay. The group is starting to fill in gaps in the Dallas County Jail library collection, looking for donations of titles in genres that are underrepresented based on an interest survey and current use.

The Read and Serve book group has been maintaining the library at the Dallas County Jail  for well over a year now. We started by putting out a request for donations of paperback books in good condition and managed, through the generosity of so many people, to greatly increase the size of the collection and fill the storage space available at the jail! We visit the jail monthly to work with the collection. We weed out torn or worn titles, change out the books on the carts that prisoners access, reshelf returned items and generally organize the space.

This project has generated lots of public interest. We’re now starting to fill in gaps in the collection, looking for titles in genres that are underrepresented based on an interest survey and current use. So we’re asking again for donations, but this time we’re defying the conventional wisdom that “beggars can’t be choosers” and asking for donations of specific types of books only—trying our hands at being “choosy beggars!” Here are two ways you can help:

  1. Look through your bookshelves for lightly used books—paperback only—in any of these categories: comics or graphic novels, drama (play script format), books in Spanish, books in other languages or foreign language study titles, poetry, reference (dictionaries, almanacs, thesauruses, books of quotations, etc.), short stories, how-to, history, humor, science fiction, or travel. If you have some to donate, email wordsmith418@gmail.com and we’ll arrange to pick them up or tell you where you can drop them off.
  2. Contact Beaverdale Books (515-279-5400) to make a donation to the purchase account for the Dallas County Jail Library project. They’ll let us know we have credit to spend.

Thanks so much for your generous support of this project!

— Diane Findlay, on behalf of the Read and Serve book group