African Library Project

African Library Project

The African Library Project coordinates book drives in the United States and partners with African schools and villages to start small libraries.

African Library Project Blog

The African Library Project coordinates book drives in the United States and partners with African schools and villages to start small libraries.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many folks are rushing to their local supermarket to stock up on candied hearts, flowers, and decorative cards. No matter what flavor of love you want to share or how your Valentine’s Day celebrations may vary, we are all unified by the shared sense of love and happiness Valentine’s Day brings - and also by our shared love of books and reading.

In light of these two, African Library Project put together a list of some of our favorite multicultural stories for that perfect Valentine’s Day read. Whether you’re spending time with your family or reading for one, we encourage you to enjoy these stories that celebrate diverse culture and the universal bonds of love.

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michael readingIt was a crisp fall afternoon in October 2009, when my professor, Dr. Jim Nolan, asked our Education Freshman Seminar a question that would not only influence my Penn State experience and impact my life, but change the lives of many others as well. 

Dr. Nolan explained how a former student was working in the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and how his school was in dire need of books to help improve the quality of education.  That student reached out to Dr. Nolan and explained how an organization called the African Library Project helped schools like his, and he encouraged Penn State to get involved.  On that autumn afternoon, Dr. Nolan brought the idea to our class, explained its impact and pitched the idea to us.  He asked, “Who is willing to step up and take the lead on this?” 

I don’t usually make decisions or commitments that quickly.  With a split second to decide, I chose to take the risk and raise my hand.  As a future teacher, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help others, while helping improve education. 

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Little Steps Childrens Library librarian1One of the secrets to ALP’s success in creating libraries is the work and commitment of its librarians.  The following guest blog tells the story of what motivates one librarian in a village in Malawi and why he wants to do more. By organizing a book drive, you can help him and librarians throughout Malawi realize their dreams for the children in their communities.

My name is Emmanuel Mchintha.  I am sixth born in a family of nine. I am a librarian by profession, holding a Bachelor of Library and Information Science at Mzuzu University in Malawi.

Currently am serving as children's librarian in Nkhata-bay, a center that I have established. I am responsible for coordinating activities that promote reading interest among children. That leads to the enhancement of the reading culture in the school-learners surrounding the library. I have a passion for reading, and I believe reading can transform the lives of the children in the community.

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shielaWhen Sheila Lenius, Madison, WI. Girl Scout leader, learned about how volunteers working with the African Library Project can create libraries, she could see that a book drive would be a perfect project for her daughters’ first and fourth grade troops.

“I feel bad that there are schools with no libraries with no books, and we have so much in the United States,” she said. “Even children living in poverty in this country have more than the children in Africa.  I want to make a difference.”

Guest speakers who had lived in Africa talked to the girls about living conditions in Africa.  Their presentations, “opened the girls’ eyes about the world outside Wisconsin.”