December 5, 2001

C.U. Bands Support Books Through Bars

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Two Cornell bands yesterday played at Castaway’s in Downtown Ithaca in support of Books Through Bars, an organization dedicated to bringing books to inmates in New York prisons.

All proceeds from the concerts of the two Cornell bands, Tankini and Idols of Perversity, and Ithaca bands, The Boxing and Atomic Forces, will be donated to the organization.

“The system of incarceration is highly unfair. Imprisoning people and depriving them of the right to educate themselves is immorally incorrect,” said Kate Rubin ’01, one of the founders of Books Through Bars.

Inmate requests most often include African American and Latino History books, dictionaries and legal books.

Organizers said it cannot keep up with all the requests it receives for books because of a lack of funding for prison libraries and the limited access prisoners have to them.

Books Through Bars will be putting out boxes in dorms at Cornell to try and collect sources to send to New York prison inmates. A box at Anabel Taylor Hall has already been set up.

Volunteers urge students to donate their history, law, business management books as well as English and foreign language dictionaries to the organization instead of selling them back to the Campus Store.

“Prison populations have increased ten-fold in the past few years. The inmates’ right to accurate information and education is not being met,” said Carrie Gleason ’01, another founder of Books Through Bars. “The majority of inmates are going to leave. You need to keep that in mind.”

Archived article by Cassandra Gomez-Badillo