African Library Project


Midland School Discovers Many Ways to Pay It Forward

MidlandSchoolMidland Elementary School in Rye, New York, began its book drive with the goal of collecting 2000 books to create two libraries, one in Ghana and one in Lesotho. Due to the overwhelming generosity of the Midland community and the creativity of the book drive organizers, the book drive brought in over 4000 books, allowing organizers to create a total of four libraries, adding one in Malawi and one in Sierra Leone.

In addition to the generosity of the community, Amy Vijayanagar, parent Book Drive Organizer, attributes the book drive’s success to the African Library Project: “ALP made the book drive so simple to do—go home, choose books to donate, bring them to school.”

Midland School’s strategy for success:

  • Feature the book drive as part of Pay It Forward Week, a project of the school’s character education program
  • Create an African awareness display in the school lobby
  • Hold an all-school assembly to launch the book drive
  • Invite a local artist who had grown up in Africa to the assembly to share stories and photos of growing up in Africa
  • Ask the school mascot, the Midland Bulldog, to donate the first bundle of books
  • Include bookplates decorated by the students in each book and bookmarks and pictures made by the students in the boxes
  • Engage the PTO for financial support and the local UPS store for a discounted shipping rate

The book drive experience was gratifying and an excellent learning experience. As Amy said, “Through the African Library Project, our students learned that sometimes it takes only a simple act of sharing to make someone else’s life better. Our students seemed to feel that they were doing something meaningful and important by sharing books they had loved and knowing that someone else with few books would be able to enjoy them, too.”

 April 2017