Engudumeni African Library Project in Partnership with US Peace Corps
The African Library Project brings gently used books to an African community that has lots of eager readers but very few books. Please help by collecting and delivering gently used books or by raising money to help pay for shipping to Africa. It only takes 1000 books and $500 to start a single library (and a little elbow grease!)
Tips for Other Book Drive Organizers
Let your friends and family know about your book drive as early as possible. Set a cut off date that will allow 1-2 weeks for you to organize your books prior to the ship date. Contact your local schools (often interested in community service projects) and public libraries (many have library stores with excess inventory) and encourage your friends to mobilize their networks! We were fortunate to have friends who contributed and passionately inspired their friends/colleagues to do the same. In our case, having the words of a teacher from the school we were collecting for (Peace Corps volunteer Chris), along with photos of the kids and school on our website and as part of our initial email to family and friends provided a real sense of what was needed and how we could help. We have been overwhelmed by the response of our community and can't wait until the books arrive at the school.
Logistics: create a spreadsheet that keeps count of the books and is sortable by author first/last name, book title, condition of book, hard/soft cover and donor to manage duplicates and the mix of books (reference, workbooks, kids, chapter, etc.) - also it's very useful for the library; save a copy on a flash drive, or send a hard copy of the spreadsheet. In our case we will be able to deliver the flash drive and library inventory when we visit South Africa - likely prior to when the books arrive.
Contact a local storage company and see if they are willing to provide a non-profit rate: we stored our books, boxes and supplies there and kept a small table and chair so that we could work easily. We only needed it for 2 months and received a 1/2 price non-profit rate from our generous local storage facility. Being able to have a place to store the books and get them ready for shipment helped keep my mind and house clear!
Don't leave everything to the last minute, when you get a box of books, log them in. When you have duplicates hold on to them - when you meet your target you may find that you have a substantial number of extra books that ALP may be able to use for other libraries - let them know that you've got extras, it helps others who may need help making their goal!
Post your flyer on your front door or window so that people can see that they have come to the right place when they drop off books, and keep a clipboard with a sign in sheet so that people can let you know they dropped books off - we received many unexpected donations this way.
Have cards made up to thank your donors - you can custom make them with Shutterfly using photos from your school, or from activities during your book collection - take photos during this project, you will use them!
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About the African Library Project
Learn more about the African Library Project at http://www.africanlibraryproject.org.
You can 'like' us at http://facebook.com/africanlibraryproject - get updates, inspiration and more!