Free to Read is the Guelph Tool Library’s newest project.  We are working with the Books for Inmates Program who collect books to take to correctional institutes in Southern Ontario. The program has delivered almost 30,000 books to literacy programs and libraries at these institutions.  

There are approximately 9,000 people incarcerated in provincial correctional facilities on any given day. The Free To Read program, being run by the Guelph Tool Library, hopes to provide those individuals with reading materials that they can access while in these facilities. 

“Comic books and graphic novels are a much sought after but little donated item to the Books for Inmates Program. We hope that readers who have enjoyed their comic books and graphic novels will look to share the joy and wonder of reading with those in correctional facilities”, says John Dennis, who is coordinating the program. “A primary driver of the Guelph Tool Library is to find underutilized resources and share them with the community. Collecting comics and graphic novels and distributing them to literacy programs in local jails is just another example of this work.”

The collection drive launches Saturday, March 12th. Anyone wishing to donate softcover graphic novels or comic books can drop them off at one of several locations throughout the city. These locations include:

Guelph Tool Library – 55 Wyndham St N

The Dragon South – 987 Gordon St Unit 5B

The Dragon Downtown – 55 Wyndham St N 

Habitat for Humanity ReStore – 104 Dawson Rd

Guelph Public Library Main Library – 100 Norfolk St 

“The Guelph Public Library is pleased to be involved with the Guelph Tool Library’s ‘Free to Read’ initiative which is a vital literacy project,” shares Meg Forestell-Page, Supervisor of Programming, Outreach and Digital Services. “As a drop off location for new and used comic books and graphic novels, we are honoured to be able to help bridge and support the literacy gap that many inmates in Ontario Correctional Institutes face.”

The program organizers ask that any comic books or graphic novels be in gently used, readable condition, with no missing pages. In order to make sure that the books can be accepted, and will be well utilized, only softcover graphic novels and comic books will be accepted for this book drive. The collection drive will run throughout March and April at all locations beginning Saturday, March 12.