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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

WORD Jersey City Provides Books Behind Bars NJ

A display of books.

WORD is an independent neighborhood bookstore in Jersey City, owned by Christine Onorati. A woman-owned business and, as such, a gathering place for healthy conversation, whether in-person or virtually, exploring new ways of seeing the world and finding one’s place in it can be very cathartic.

Onorati shares, “If you’re anything like us, your house is full of books, and you have no room to fit your dog. WORD Jersey City is here to alleviate your literary overcrowding. We are now cautiously accepting donations of gently used books (one box at a time). We will sell what we can back to the community at a steep discount, and we’ll donate everything else to Books Behind Bars NJ. Thanks for holding our hand as we dip our toes into the shallow end of the used book pool.”

Books Behind Bars is a grassroots, volunteer-run prison abolition project that provides free books upon request to people incarcerated in New Jersey prisons. Based in Wildwood, WORD is the first and only books-to-prison program in New Jersey.

“Incarcerated people send us letters to request books,” Onorati explains. “Requests can be general, such as asking for a genre, or very specific such as certain titles or authors. We have a library of donated books to pull from and we match each request the best we can. We then pack up the books and mail them out.”

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., this grassroots program is completely volunteer-run. In addition to monetary donations which go directly toward shipping and materials, books, stamps and packing supplies are most welcome.

Location: 29 McWilliams Pl., Jersey City. For more information, call 201-763-6611, email [email protected] and/or visit To learn more about Books Behind Bars, visit


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