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Fri, Jan. 17

Friends with a cause: Florence inmates to receive thousands of books thanks to Friends of Prescott Library

Randy Holt wheels more boxes of books out of storage and into a U-Haul truck Oct. 5 to transport to Florence Prison. (Courtesy)

Randy Holt wheels more boxes of books out of storage and into a U-Haul truck Oct. 5 to transport to Florence Prison. (Courtesy)

Sixty-three boxes of used books are on their way to the libraries at the Arizona Department of Corrections in Florence, thanks to the Friends of the Prescott Public Library. Five locations within the prison will benefit from the Friends’ generosity and the efforts of volunteers.

The project began when Friends’ board members Doris Theriault and Bil Makela learned from an inmate, “Thomas,” that his unit library had a limited number of books – only 50, in fact.

A voracious reader, Thomas has read some of them as many as five times. He spends five days a week tutoring other inmates who need to improve their skills to pass the GED test. He said he loves his tutor work because it offers the inmates a second chance.

Theriault asked the Friends’ board if it would be possible to donate books that did not sell at the Friends’ Book Sale. Friends’ Board President Bill Arnold endorsed the project wholeheartedly and members approved the channeling of overflow books to the cause. Friends also have supplied books to the Yavapai County Jail and other entities for many years.

Members rented a U-Haul truck with a ramp to load about 63 boxes on Oct. 5, and drove the books to Florence the next day.

Patricia Dixon, the Correctional Education Program supervisor, will oversee the distribution of the books to the five units once they have been inspected and approved.

“It’s gratifying to see how one little thought can blossom into a full-fledged event when it is supported by generous and compassionate people,” Theriault said.

Information provided by the Friends of the Prescott Public Library.

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