African Library Project

Questions and Answers

Africans speak so many languages. Why send books in English?

Africa was colonized primarily by English and French-speaking countries. Today, most secondary education in Africa requires fluency in English or French. Our libraries support children to read and write in English because that language is critical to their education.

What age children are your libraries targeting?

We get requests for books for pre-school, elementary school, secondary school and community libraries. Our books are read by all ages, especially children.

Why do you only send children’s books?

With poor access to reading materials and learning to read in a second language, literacy tops out, even for teachers, at about the 8th grade US level in the rural areas where we work.

How do you know the books are being well used?

It is a challenge to track the progress of libraries being set up in remote areas, often without electricity or telephones.  We are implementing a tracking system that uses cell phone texting technology to monitor progress and target libraries that need additional training or support.

I know a place in Africa that needs your help.  Can you help them start a library?

We often get requests from Africa and the US to help with single library projects, but we are not able to help.  The model we have created is highly efficient and economical, but does not lend itself to single library projects.  We partner with large organizations in Africa that have enough infrastructure to support the development of 30-60 library projects per year, year after year. That's because we ship 30-60 libraries at a time in containers. If you represent an organization in Africa, that is actively working to support the development of many libraries annually, please do contact us to explore the possibility of partnership.

I would like to volunteer to work in Africa with your libraries.  Is this possible?

We currently do not have the ability to take volunteers in Africa, but welcome volunteerism in the U.S.  Just contact us

I have lots of used books. Where should I bring them?

Great! Check the ‘Sorting’ section of the guidelines to identify which of your books are appropriate to send (primarily children’s books). Consider organizing a book drive and making your own books the first part of the collection. If you are unable to organize a book drive, contact us to see if there is a book drive near you where you can donate your books.

What kinds of schools volunteer to collect and send books? Can younger children help?

Children of all ages are already making a difference! Elementary, middle, high schools and colleges are all sponsoring book drives for the African Library Project.

Our school would like to collect books, but we don’t have an easy way to raise money to ship the books. Can we still participate?

We can help you with ideas about how to raise the funds to cover shipping costs. Fortunately, we are able to ship the books at a very low rate. You can mail 1000 paperback books for about $500. Simply use the U.S. Postal Service Media Mail rate to mail your books to our shipper’s warehouse, then send a check to us for $300 to cover the additional shipping and related expenses. Check out the fundraising section of our website for ideas or Book Drives in Action to see what other book drive organizers are doing.

I don’t have books to donate, but I would like to support this project. Can I make a donation?

Of course! We appreciate any contribution you can make. You can donate online here (and there is also information at that link on donating via check).

Are you a registered as a 501(c)3 organization?

Yes! Our Fed Tax ID# is 65-1261685.