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Friends of the San Quentin Prison Library

Supporting the needs of prison libraries to better serve incarcerated patrons by leveraging community support, collaborating, and redistributing resources.

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Friends of the
San Quentin
Prison Library


To support the needs of prison libraries in order to better serve incarcerated patrons. We do this by collaborating with, and redistributing resources from, the community.

Our mission is to improve literacy in incarcerated settings by encouraging enjoyment of reading and by promoting creativity and independent learning.


Our long-term goal is to help other California state prisons, especially those in isolated areas, by using the name and locale of San Quentin to access resources.

If you'd like to support us by sending a check please make it out to Social Good Fund and write "Friends of the San Quentin Library" on the memo/for line.

Or you can donate online below.

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Home: Who We Are

Art by Thomas "T" Tongpalan, San Quentin resident

Foundational Values

Encouraging Enjoyment
We encourage reading purely for enjoyment, for its own sake, and not necessarily as a means toward other goals. By providing popular fiction and other entertaining materials to prison populations, which normally don’t have access to a great deal of reading materials, we aim to provide a bit of comfort to individuals who have a tendency toward isolation, anxiety, and depression due to their incarceration. This is an important precondition for rehabilitation, and a measure of comfort can be provided by materials that are engaging, entertaining, and relevant to our audience.


Promoting Creativity

For many prisoners, the path to a more fulfilling life begins in the prison library with a curiosity about the world that exists outside of the neighborhoods and institutions that, in many cases, have limited their lives. Stories are necessary to emotional survival. By providing books with stories that prisoners enjoy, we help nourish their imagination, and creativity – imagination – is important for their re-entry into society. Through reading about the outside world, we aim to help strengthen their connections to that world, which, in turn, will help with their reintegration into free society.


Fostering Independent Learning

All people value the freedom to learn and to pursue their goals, but not all people have the knowledge and resources to do so. Rehabilitation requires certain lifestyle changes: the ability to develop new interests and to cultivate positive relationships. The educational materials that can help prisoners reform and create meaning in their lives are often denied to them. By providing educational, vocational, rehabilitative, or legal resources that teach people how to pursue their goals, we can help prisoners overcome hurdles to rehabilitation.


-Written by Kai Bannon, Incarcerated Advisory Board Member

Image by Sudan Ouyang

Buy books for the San Quentin Library Collection!

Help keep prison library collections current and relevant.


You can buy books from our local independent bookstore partner, Copperfield's, or use our Amazon Wish List for harder to get books and discounted prices.

Image by Kadarius Seegars


Working with the community to leverage resources.

Please reach out to us to discuss donating books or supporting the San Quentin Library in some way.

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Contact Friends of the San Quentin Prison Library

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 3885
Berkeley, CA 94703

Physical Location (no mail):

San Quentin, CA 94964, USA

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Thank You

We are a fiscally sponsored project of Social Good Fund, a California nonprofit corporation and registered 501(c)(3) organization, Tax ID (EIN) 46-1323531.

If you'd like to send a check please make it out to Social Good Fund and write "Friends of the San Quentin Library" on the memo/for line.

Or you can donate online below.

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