UW-Green Bay initiative brings used books to inmates

Bookdrive-for-inmates-webIn her three full years as a UW-Green Bay student, Courtney Maye has surrounded herself with extraordinary student organizations, community partners, and passionate faculty and staff, striving to better the quality of life for underrepresented groups of people in the Green Bay community and beyond.

Maye took it upon herself to extend these efforts to the incarcerated population — giving them an opportunity to stay connected through books and ideas. She is the coordinator behind a “Books for Inmates” drive currently being held on campus.

Her idea was inspired this past summer, as she began to read a philosophy textbook from a class she took her freshman year.

“I started to think about how long these books sit on my shelves long after I finish them, and how much I’ve taken every single page for granted as a college student, a healthy person, a young person, and a free person.

“Through books we can give the gifts of insight, personal growth, self-sufficiency and both self-reflection and reflection of the world around us,” she said. “Through books we have been blessed to be the beneficiaries of some of the best stories and ideas in our world. What a privilege it is to be able to pass that on to every single person that we can, incarcerated or not.”

The types of books she recommends for the Brown County Jail connection:
New or like new “life skill” books such as personal finance, job skills, etc., science fiction/fantasy, mystery, suspense, westerns, Spanish language books, technical and vocational skills, GED test prep books, basic high school level math and science textbooks, African-American studies, or criminal and civil rights books.
To publicize the effort, Maye has been working closely with the UWGB Social Work Club, which has helped in creating more drop box locations for the donated books. Maye also engaged the support of Prof. Derek Jefferys, Associate Professor of Humanistic Studies and Religion, who spoke about his passion for working with the incarcerated during his 50th Anniversary “Last Lecture” presentation.

The Book Drive for Inmates drop box is currently located in Rose Hall 305. There will be more drop boxes located around campus from early November to the end of the fall semester. Contact Courtney Maye with questions or if you wish to donate a large quantity of books.
Story and photo by Marketing and University Communication intern Emily Schuh

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