Skip to main content

WKNC Collects Books for Incarcerated Individuals

NC State's student radio station gathers 125 books for inmates in North Carolina and Alabama.

Boxes for Prison Books Collective donation drive

WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1/HD-2 recently partnered with Prison Books Collective to host a book drive. From March 15 to March 26, individuals could drop off books in labeled bins outside of WKNC’s studios on the NC State University campus.

Thanks to WKNC’s audience, the drive was able to collect 125 books for Prison Books Collective, a Carrboro-based nonprofit that distributes paperback books and zines to incarcerated people across North Carolina and Alabama.

The collected books spanned a wide range of genres including Black history, biographies, self-help guides, legal texts, language dictionaries and a multitude of science fiction and fantasy novels. More information on how Prison Books Collective serves incarcerated individuals, with the aid of community donations, can be found at

WKNC has its own relationship with the North Carolina prison system, as inmates across the state tune in every Friday night to listen to the hard rock and metal program “Penitentiary Rock.” Host Uncle Paul receives mailed in requests each week, reading the letters on air.

Because of its existing programming, “a partnership between WKNC and Prison Books Collective seemed natural,” said Laura Mooney, the station’s student general manager. “WKNC is grateful to be able to give back to a community so often overlooked by mainstream media and one that has supported WKNC for decades.”

Within the pandemic in particular, these individuals have had little-to-no access to visitors and have faced increased restrictions placed on the small amount of literature that may be available in the prison. Ivy Shelton, Prison Books Collective’s Outreach Coordinator, said “COVID-19 has limited the operations, but Prison Books Collective (PBC) has been working hard the past year to fulfill book requests. PBC has continued to send 35-45 packages of books on average a week to individuals based on letters of request. Paperback donations from the WKNC 88.1 book drive will make a difference in someone’s life.”

WKNC 88.1 FM is 25,000-watt student-run non-commercial radio station from North Carolina State University featuring indie rock, electronic, metal and underground hip-hop. WKNC is on social media @WKNC881.