Odyssey Beyond Bars Library brings the gift of books to Wisconsin prisons

Books from the OBB Library collection on their way to prisons around the state

Caption: Books from the OBB Library collection on their way to prisons around the state

“Freedom begins with a book.”

— Reginald Dwayne Betts, a formerly incarcerated Yale-educated lawyer, poet and founder of Freedom Reads

Peter and Lauren from the Odyssey Beyond Bars team were on a tour of Dodge Correctional in May when they stopped by the prison library and asked the librarians what they could use most.

“More books!”

Odyssey Beyond Bars responded by creating the first-ever OBB Library at five prisons across Wisconsin, including Dodge Correctional and the four prisons where we teach courses. Each collection contains 100 titles — plus another 25 editions in Spanish — and combines Nobel-prize-winning literature, groundbreaking research, heartrending poetry and other gems suggested by some of the brightest minds at UW–Madison. This effort was inspired by the Freedom Reads prison library project, which “empowers people through literature to confront what prison does to the spirit.”

Thanks to OBB’s partners at the Department of Corrections, OBB Libraries are rolling out this month at all five prisons. The full title list is available for viewing on OBB’s webpage. If you think the list is a good start but could use additional titles, we agree! Please consider donating to the Friends of Odyssey Fund with the note “OBB Library,” and we will use your gift to grow these special new collections at the prisons.

Support the Friends of Odyssey Fund