African Library Project

shammys_family_1Creating Libraries Is a Family Affair

While the teen years can be tough ones for families to navigate, Shamruthi (Shammy) Subramanian and her family have found closeness and purpose in doing book drives for ALP.

Shammy organized her first book drive in the summer before her freshman year in high school. “I wanted to do a special project,” she explained and after some research decided the African Library Project would fill the bill. For that book drive, she went door to door in her neighborhood and asked family and friends to donate their books and money for shipping. “I fell in love with the project.”

Her parents and sister joined her for the second book drive. “My family has always been involved in working for those in need,” she said. Bhuvana, Shammy’s mother, shared the family’s reason for joining Shammy in her book drives, “We strongly believe that education is the fundamental grass root level change that will eradicate poverty, improve the quality of life and society, and uplift a country.”

The Subramanian family collects its books by attending public library book sales in communities in Northern and Central California. Shammy and her sister sort through the used books to find appropriate children’s books. Bhuvana likes to find resources for teachers. They fill up bags with their picks, pay $5 for each bag of books, and come home with 300-400 books.

These trips, which include lunch together and exploration of a new community, are a family outing that all enjoy.

Shammy and her family have completed seven book drives, including one for one of the new libraries in Kenya, bringing Shammy’s total to eight. Now entering her senior year in high school, she hopes to complete at least two more before she graduates.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to give back to the community,” she said. “This project makes my heart melt. It is one of the best feelings ever.”

She has some advice for anyone thinking about doing a book drive. “A book drive may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is not difficult. And completing one is an amazing feeling.”

June 2017