Clay County MO book drive to replace jail romance


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Shelves full of romance novels are not suitable for inmates at the Clay County Detention Center.

Photo courtesy of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office

There were only a limited number of Danielle Steel romance novels an inmate at the Clay County Detention Center could read before boredom crept in. % Male. And a selfless inmate is prone to trouble.

Clay County Sheriff Will Akin knows that there isn’t much that Trisha Alexander can do to keep the peace. Offering work to love novelists Jade Lee or Betty Neels can only crush a handful of oxen. The prison collection includes hundreds of worn or crumbling paperback books, and most are romantic or religious titles.

One of Akin’s staff suggested a paperback and puzzle reader in an effort to improve the quality of literature that inmates consume. In a few days, more than 400 books were collected. Hundreds more were expected this weekend. The book drive ends at the end of January. Several drop-off points are located in Clay County, including the Sheriff’s Office in Liberty.

“All genres are okay (except maybe not ‘How To Make Shivs’ or something like that),” a post on the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page said.

The support from the community has been overwhelming, Akin said.

Which is great, because COVID-19 has put a strain on the detention center’s regular providers – community nonprofit groups – and donations have dried up.

The drop-off locations are in Clay County:

The main lobby of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office

Smithville Police Department

The Clay County Administrative Building (former courthouse) on Liberty Square

Holt Town Hall

Betty’s Place Restaurant – 4766 SE PP Highway, Holt

Over Flow Coffee House – 1005 Middlebrook Dr., Suite E, Liberty

Chandler Baptist Church – in the outdoor drop box at 11401 NE State Route 33, Liberty

Molly Roberts Studio – 253 E Broadway Ave., Excelsior Springs

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