The Book Barn People
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
Hi! I am Olivia as you probably read above. What you probably didn't know is that I am a Girl Scout finishing my Silver Award Project.
Because the need for libraries in Africa is that high and we have an overabundance of unused books here, my project was about improving the process of how we organize book drives. If we can make it easier and more efficient, we can ship more and better libraries.
As I was writing my final report, it dawned on me that other book drive organizers and people just starting out would also benefit from my learnings. Since we are shipping our 26th library, we know some dos and don'ts. Here are my tips:
In the beginning we shipped a library as soon as we had the required number of eligible books – with no consideration about the balance of books we were including. While a library created this way is better than no library, a good library needs a good variety of books for different reading levels and books about different topics.
By keeping a stash of books and sorting them by topic, we can now better plan for a more balanced library. This one improvement has greatly increased the quality of the libraries ensuring that each school receives a wide range of books, all age appropriate. So, if you do have the space and plan to ship more than one library, I do suggest you try this. Not only will it keep you organized, but your library will have a little of everything! Organizing book drives is so rewarding and you don't have to stop after the first!
What I also learned is that a lot of books we get that are not eligible still are very valuable to other readers. By selling them to Book Buyers, you get credit you can use to buy books on topics you are short of. Book Buyers is a used book store you can sell your books to earn store credit. I highly suggest this useful tip.
Besides collecting books, the other hard part is raising the funds. I tried different ways to make money, but my conclusion is that the best way is still telling the ALP story, showing pictures and writing thank you notes and asking for donations. Initially I was uncomfortable doing it, but I got such good response that now it is much easier. And it is a great way to involve people that don't have children's books.
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About the African Library Project
Learn more about the African Library Project at http://www.africanlibraryproject.org.
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