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Post-Gazette article on a local program to help former prisoners become entrepreneurs

At the Business Library I worked at we received a couple letters asking for information about starting a business, writing a business plan, etc.  This was also a common request in the letters I read while working with Book ‘Em, Pittsburgh’s books-to-prisoners program.  It’s hard to know how to respond to these requests since not a many of the best resources on the topic could be condensed into something you could send to an inmate (because of postage, restrictions on number/size of books, etc.).  And people don’t really seem to donate books on starting a business as often as they donate novels etc.  so I don’t recall us having a lot of stuff on this topic at Book ‘Em.  This past year I found a guide to entrepreneurship published by the state of Pennsylvania that seemed like a good introduction, and wasn’t too expensive to print/send (you can download the PDF on their website).  Maybe other states have similar resources.

Chronicle of Higher Ed article/blog post on the accessibility of university web sites

it’s decreasing.  why am i not surprised. (thanks to Dan for the link)

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virtual book drive for prisoners

The folks at the Prison Book Program (in Quincy, MA) are doing a virtual drive to raise funds to buy dictionaries for prisoners. From their site:

Help us raise $2740 to buy 1000 college-level dictionaries! For the vast majority of people in prison with sub-standard reading skills, a dictionary is the key to understanding the books we send them. One prisoner wrote:

“I have only been reading now for about 21 months. I am 46 years old and when I get out of prison, my son will be 11 years old. And I would love to be able to read and write to my son. So please if you all could see to help me I will be able to help my son when I get home.”

We are planning to buy the dictionaries at the wholesale cost of $2.74 which is over 40% off retail.

Donate 1 or donate 100. All help is greatly appreciated.

I just wanted to mention this here in case anyone wanted to help out! I think a virtual drive is a great idea because it makes donating really easy and simple. Also: you can find out if there’s a books-to-prisoners program in your area by consulting this map (thanks, Books through Bars!)