African Library Project

Library of Hope

04/09/2012 to 11/30/12
Scandia MN

We are working with the African Library Project to provide books to eager readers in Africa who have very few books. Please help us by collecting and delivering gently used books or by raising money to help pay for shipping to Africa. It takes only 1000 books and $500 (plus a little elbow grease!) to start a single library and make a huge difference in children’s lives.

This book drive is organized by ...

Sophia and Olivia (ages 11 and 9 respectively) and their mom (Ann). As a homeschooling family, an important part of education is service, giving to others, and trying to make a positive impact in the world.

During 2011, we did 52 Weeks of Giving in which we donated our time or items to various non-profits and individuals in need. During 2012, we are doing 12 in 12 in which we do 12 different service projects each month that benefit people in need, animals, and/or the environment.

As we were looking for ways to volunteer our time, we read about the African Library Project. We immediately knew that this is a project that we wanted to do.

The thought of being able to collect and donate books to create a library in Africa is exciting! We are so happy to be able to make this happen!

Our webpage:

Our website link:

We want to start a library in Africa because...

Reading is such a critical part of learning, and one of the highlights of our daily life. We are very fortunate to have an excellent library system in Minnesota – not only in nearby towns, but a system in which we can order books – at no charge – from any library in Minnesota.

Even before we started homeschooling, going to the library, finding books that we had not read, and bringing them home to read was something we looked forward to doing.

When we read, we learn, we grow, and we discover. Our minds can dream and be opened to worlds beyond our own. Because we have enjoyed books so much, we want to give this same excitement about books, reading, and learning to children in Africa.

Also, when we think that over 50% of the people in Lesotho live on less than $1 per day, that isn’t much money purchase anything beyond the very basics. We read that some children have to share textbooks at school. So, clearly books are a luxury – both at home and at school.

We believe every child has a right to read as reading will lead the students in Lesotho to have bright futures. We would like to see every child in Lesotho to be able to enjoy a library just as we do in the United States.

About our African Partners...

About 75% of the population in Lesotho lives in rural areas. Lesotho has a substantial youth population – almost 35%.

Within Lesotho, approximately 99.7% of the people are Basotho. Other ethnic groups include Europeans (numbering in the thousands) and Chinese (about 5,000). (The fact that there are about 5,000 Chinese people living in Lesotho is interesting since both Sophia and Olivia are adopted from China!)

The name of the school is Moorosi Primary. There are 251 students and 5 teachers. According to the application from the school's principal, "The school is located in the Southern rural area of Quthing town. It is about 14 km from the town. It is in a mountainous region composed of a high number of illiterate members of the community."

The principal (whose name is Mary Fouya) said, "The school belongs to the community of people who lack much educational background which makes it difficult for them to be ready to invest in the education of their children. Unemployment characterizes most of the parents who send their children to this school."

The library - which will be used primarily for students from K-4th grade - also will be open to the parents and community to help adults with their own skills in reading and writing.

One of the support letters, written by Mamashapha Nkuebe who will help in making sure the library is safe and secure, said, "The school needs assistance in the accessibility of teaching and learning materials which will help the students by stopping them from being the victims of the rural location."

Mary Fouya wrote a letter to the Ministry of Education and Training (in Quthing, Lesotho) which was forwarded to me. "It is in this letter that I humbly declare the need for assistance of additional materials or books which will improve the environment which will be conducive for teaching and learning in our school. I, as a principal of this school, will make sure that teachers and pupils take care of all the materials in the library. .... Thanking you in advance for the support you give our school."

Please contribute these kinds of books...

We need to collect 1,000 books for a primary school library in Lesotho. The items should be in good condition (they can be gently used or new).

The most appropriate and needed items are:
o Baby board books
o Children’s picture books
o Children’s fiction and non-fiction
o Early readers
o BIG books
o Teacher\'s resource books for school libraries
o Children’s dictionaries/picture dictionaries
o Encyclopedias less than 15 years old
o Children’s encyclopedias/picture encyclopedias
o Children’s thesauruses
o Paperback textbooks in math, English, geography, health, and science at appropriate level (kindergarten to 6th grade)
o Books with universal themes (friendships, animals, love)
o Children’s health books
o Accurate up-to-date atlases
o Books about Africa or African-Americans
o Educational children\'s science and literary magazines in good condition
o Brain teasers, flash cards, educational games, and puzzles

Please note: paperback books are much cheaper to ship than hardcover books.

Books that cannot be used:
• Books that are filled with small print, no pictures, etc. (too intimidating or boring)
• Books with lots of slang, which may be difficult for English learners to follow
• Books for very young children that have many references to appliances and electronic gadgets.
• Adult paperback romance novels
• Books about United States history or government (but DO SEND books about African-Americans)
• Books about American or religious holidays (Easter, Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, April Fools’ Day, Valentine’s Day, Chanukah, etc.)
• Books that evangelize or promote a particular religion
• Magazines except for children\'s educational magazines and National Geographic issues that less than 5 years old
• Books that are stained, damaged, or smell of mildew.

Here's how you can contribute your books...

Between April 9, 2012 – October 31, 2012, you may mail your books to:

Ann Rinkenberger
Library of Hope Book Drive
14363 Oren Road North
Scandia, MN 55073

Books can be shipped via media mail which is less expensive than first-class mail.

You may also contact Ann Rinkenberger at to drop books off at the address above in Scandia, Minnesota.

We can also arrange to meet you somewhere – perhaps at the homeschool co-op, church, or even Cub or Target.

If you live far away, perhaps you’d like to purchase a book online and have it delivered to the address above.

We hope to have collection bins at various businesses and organizations around Scandia, Marine, and Forest Lake as well as any other place that would like to collect books for this books drive.

We need to raise funds for shipping the books...

In addition to collecting books, we also need to raise $500 for storage, packing, and shipping costs. If you don't have books to donate, consider making a donation. Even if have books to donate, consider making a small donation. Every bit helps…even a $1 donation will help get some books to Africa!

If you want to donate money, we can accept checks, money orders, or cash. This can be sent to:

Ann Rinkenberger
Library of Hope Book Drive
14363 Oren Road North
Scandia, MN 55073

If you prefer, donations also can be made via Paypal. Please use the email account when Paypal asks to whom you want to send money.

Please specify how you would like your donation acknowledged (e.g., the name of the person making the donation or if the donation is made in honor/memory of someone) or if you prefer your donation to be anonymous.

Here are some ways that you can help...

• If you have children, look through their bookshelves and see what they no longer read.
• Go to your public library, thrift store, and/or garage sales. They often have books and/or games for sale for as little as $0.50.
• Purchase new books at a local bookstore or online.
• Donate money to help with shipping the books to Africa.
• Ask others to donate books or money to help create a library in Lesotho. Spread the word! The more people that hear about the project, the more people in Lesotho we can help. Ask your friends at school for books, ask your co-workers for their no-longer-needed children’s books, ask your neighbor, ask your extended family…ask anyone who will listen!
• Host a fundraising and book collection event with all the books and money collected being donated to our Library of Hope project.
• Create and post flyers letting others know about this project.
• If you have a business or know someone who has one, place a collection box in the lobby to collect books and/or a jar on the counter to collect monetary donations.
• Help sort books at the book-sorting party.
• Help pack books at the book-packing party.
• Donate food or beverages (or gift cards so we can get these items) for the book-sorting and book-packing parties.
• Donate large plastic bins with covers to keep books in until they are packed and shipped.
• Donate packing supplies (e.g., boxes, packing tape).

Contact us to find out more

Name: Ann Rinkenberger
Phone: 651-433-4358

Progress Report

Our Goal 1,000 books $500 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: 11/10/2012)
1,098 books $295 fundraising

Thank you to...
- Larry and Laura Geno for donating 38 books on 5/3/12.
- Mary Rinkenberger for donating 32 books on 5/13/12.
- Karen and Meghan Nelson for donating 6 books on 5/21/12.

During June we received the following generous donations:
- Anonymous donor from the 56651 zip code area in Minnesota - 274 books
- The Rohan family - 102 books
- Bill Reis, Mary Moore, and Amelia Reis- 82 books
- Rod Hahn - 25 books
- Kris Cournoyer - 17 books
+ books that we donated from our collection (32)

During July we added the following books:
+ books that we donated from our collection (101)

During August we added the following books:
- The Olson Family from Long Prairie, Minnesota - 39 books

During September and October we added books from:
- Tim and Laurie Richterkessing - 50
- The Peterson Family - 45
- River of Life (Homeschool Co-op) - 88
- Books that we donated from our collection - 35

We have reached the number of books that we wanted to collect! We even collected 98 more books plus resources for the teachers to use in their classrooms. Needless to say, we are very excited. Our next step is raise the $205 left to cover the shipping - first to California and then to Africa.


Many thanks to the following donors who are helping with the shipping of the books from Minnesota to Africa:

- Sunrise Rotary Club of Stillwater, Minnesota - $200
- Dr. Carol and Mr. Matthew Johnson in memory of Rev. Mr. Donald Rinkenberger - $75
- Larry and Sharon Peterson - $20
- Lesa Hoseck - $75
- Burger King - Maple Grove - Boxes
- Burger King - Forest Lake - Boxes
- Ann Rinkenberger - Packing Tape

(Please note: Although we spell the word "acknowledgment," it is spelled with an "e" above. It is part of the form that cannot be changed. A bit of trivia that we discovered via a grammar site on the internet: "Both acknowledgment and acknowledgement appear throughout the English-speaking world, but acknowledgment, without the middle e, is preferred in U.S. and Canadian English, while acknowledgement is preferred outside North America.")

A sincere thanks to everyone who has played a part so far in helping bring books and educational resources to the 251 students and 5 teachers at Moorosi Primary! Your support represents a new level of education, hope, and opportunities for these children and their families - now and for years to come.

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