Exclusive: New York Public Library Says Christian Books ‘in Demand’ by Prison Inmates

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 15: Books stand on the shelf at the at the New York Public Library December 15, 2004 in New York City. Google, the internet search engine, has announced a long-term project to put 15 million books from seven of the world's most prestigious libraries online. Included …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York Public Library says its program which seeks donations for prison inmates is meeting demand for Christian books, and it seeks to fill requests for subjects such as spiritual and occult practices, sociology, and criminal profilers.

Here is a sampling of the books on the Amazon wish list:

Haitian Vodou: An Introduction to Haiti’s Indigenous Spiritual Tradition

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick)

The Magical Power of the Saints: Evocation and Candle Rituals

Obsession: The FBI’s Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists, and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back

Thugs and the Women Who Love Them

Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical (Gender and American Culture)

Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family and Themselves

The Astrology Bible: The Definitive Guide to the Zodiac (Mind Body Spirit Bibles)

To Walk a Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions

Occult Traditions

Amy Geduldig, assistant director of media relations for the library, also said that the institution is just fulfilling the requests from inmates and does not have any other agenda in collecting book donations.

“The materials mentioned on the department’s webpage are a selection of genres that are of interest to the patrons we serve,” Geduldig told Breitbart News in emails. “These are books that patrons are requesting frequently.”

“The library does have books about Christianity, as well as Christian Urban Fiction in its collection,” Geduldig wrote. “The circulation for such materials is meeting demand and therefore, the library does not need additional copies and as we have limited storage capabilities, we do request donors not send materials that are not needed.”

The library website solicits books this way:

What to Donate to Correctional Services

At Correctional Services, the vast majority of our collection is made up of donated books. We ask interested parties to please visit our regularly updated Amazon Wish List, based on requests from our patrons, to see what we’re looking for.

We are currently accepting donations of only a limited scope of topics. We only accept paperback books. We encourage donors to send us newer books in great shape. This ensures they will be attractive on our book carts, especially to new or hesitant readers.

Please read the following list carefully. We only accept donations that meet the guidelines below.

New nonfiction is our greatest need at the moment! Subjects of interest are listed below:

  • Black interest: biography/history/Black Power/Black Panthers
  • Puerto Rican & Dominican history
  • Self help/behavior/psychology
  • Body building/Workouts
  • Business/Entreprenuership
  • Dream Interpretation/Astrology/Tarot/Occult
  • Conspiracy Theories: Illuminati/New World Order/UFO
  • 2018/2019 TASC study guides
  • Cars/Motorcycles
  • Graphic novels/manga
  • True crime
  • Pets
  • Science/Nature/Animals
  • Natural health
  • Poetry
  • Architecture/Interior design
  • Biographies: Sports/Music/History
  • Islamic spirituality & history
  • Santeria, Yoruba
  • Music industry
  • Chess
  • Large print popular fiction
  • 2018/2019 computer books
  • 2018/2019 Almanacs
  • Popular magazines from 2019 only

The website also spells out what is not popular with those who are incarcerated: 

What’s not popular?

Generally, we do not have a need for the following items: Advance Reader Copies, Literary Fiction, Romance, Textbooks, Cozy Mysteries, Children’s and Tween, Christian Urban Fiction, and Academic Journals.

In a second email, Geduldig did not directly answer the question about who at the library makes the final decision on what book titles will be posted on its website or whether or not some books seem controversial given the audience.

“The materials mentioned on the department’s web page are a selection of genres of interest to patrons in our Correctional Services program,” Geduldig wrote. “One of the many roles of public libraries is to connect patrons with books and materials that they need and want; in this instance, as we rely on donations for this program, we are specifying what is needed.”

Geduldig wrote that Christian books “are in demand” but currently the library has enough in its inventory.

“It is other genres that we are hoping for,” Geduldig wrote. “It is important to note that the list on the library’s website is not all-inclusive and that if someone offered to donate something not on that list, we would, of course, appreciate that and consider it.”

“But as with all of our locations, our goal is to meet demand,” Geduldig wrote.

The Amazon wish list does include American evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose-Driven Life.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.