ABOUT LIBERATION LIBRARY
Liberation Library supports impacted young people in developing their imagination, leadership skills, self-determination, and connections with each other & to outside worlds of their choosing so that they are supported because they are best positioned to make transformative demands on the systems that cage and police them.
Liberation Library (LibLib) is a Chicago-based and volunteer-led prison abolition organization that provides books & youth-led magazines to incarcerated young people in Illinois including all five state-run youth facilities and over six county juvenile detention centers. As an abolitionist group, we build towards a future without prisons and jails. Until then, we work with impacted young people to support them in developing their imagination, leadership skills, self-determination, and connections with each other and to outside worlds of their choosing. We were formed in 2015 in response to a call to action by Mariame Kaba of Project NIA who voiced that young people who are caged in IL prisons need access to education. Since 2015 we’ve sent over 6,200 books inside and produced eight magazine issues, distributed exclusively to young people inside.
LibLib is fiscally sponsored by the Chicago Freedom School. Our decision-making body is a Steering Committee (SC) that is non-hierarchical & multiracial. While there are Black folks on the SC, they're not the majority.
We provide books to young readers in all of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facilities: IYC Chicago, IYC Harrisburg, IYC Pere Marquette, IYC St. Charles, IYC Warrenville and we also work with jails in multiple counties in Illinois.
We believe strongly that our readers should have a voice and a choice in the books that they receive. We believe access to books is a right not a privilege. We highlight the choice and autonomy of our readers and everyone involved with our project as a way to live out our beliefs that impacted people can and ought to be supported in making and seeing through meaningful differences in things that impact their lives. Through both our book program and newer reader-led magazine program, our work seeks to resource & support impacted young people, as they are best positioned to make transformative demands on the systems that cage & police them.
Looking for a books to prison program in your area? Check out this list of books to prison programs to find a way to support these efforts locally.