African Library Project


Step 2 - Collect your books

The heart of your book drive is collecting gently used books that will be treasured by your African readers. The key to success is to communicate widely and repeatedly -- again and again!

Let's be honest. Just about everyone wants to contribute, but they may need frequent reminders and encouragement to bring in their books. So keep the cheerful reminders coming over the course of the book drive.

Here's one winning formula for collecting books:CollectYourBooks

  • Set up one or more large containers (box, barrel, basket, etc.) in central, convenient areas.
  • Make a simple display to explain your African Library Project. Be creative to make your display big, bold and beautiful. Some specific ideas are:
    •  Describe on the display the types of books you are collecting. (You will sort the books later)
    • Use posterboard to attract lots of eyeballs.
    • Go Africa-Style! Use a woven basket to collect the books, or decorate your display with earth tones (black, brown, red, orange and yellow colors.)
    • Use our pictures and logo in your display, available for download at our gallery
    • Include African art or artifacts in the display.
  • Describe on the display the types of books you are collecting. (You will sort the books later to send only books that meet our more specific sorting guidelines.)
    • For an African preschool library: U.S. preschool-1st grade books
    • For an African primary school library: U.S. preschool-4th grade books
    • For an African primary community library: 2/3 preschool-4th grade books, 1/3 4th-8th grade books
    • For an African junior secondary school library: U.S. 2nd-6th grade books
    • For an African secondary school library: U.S. 4th-8th grade books
    • For an African secondary community library: 1/3 U.S. preschool-4th grade books, 2/3 U.S. 4th-8th grade books
    • For an African community library: U.S. preschool-8th grade books
  • In some cases, you or others in your community may want to purchase books. You may want to leverage the Amazon wish lists we have put together for recommended primary books and / or recommended secondary books for your African library.
  • Download our flyer and customize it for your collection site. This flyer is ideal for posting in classrooms, hallways and anywhere you may have potential book donors.
  • Keep track of the books you collect. Post a progress report or a progress "thermometer" near the collection box to encourage more participation.
  • Let people know about your book drive and promote awareness about Africa!
    • Create a webpage about your book drive on our website using the login we sent you and point people to it in all of your communications. Update it often to keep people inspired by your progress.  If you have your own website too, make sure you add a link to it on your book drive page.
    • Customize our news release and send it to the local media or your school newsletter or listserve.
    • Provide weekly updates with news of the book drive's progress. Everyone is busy, and it may take multiple reminders for families to remember to bring their books.
    • Use social media to spread the word and show photos of the books you’ve collected! Mention @africanlibraryproject and #africanlibraryproject on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts. Be sure to like and follow ALP on all these sites and we’ll share or re-tweet your posts!”
    • If you are a member of a club or faith-based organization, ask that a notice about the book drive be included in its next newsletter.
    • If you participate in Nextdoor, let your neighbors know about the book drive.
    • Two weeks before the drive ends, begin a countdown, e.g. "Two weeks week left..." The day after the drive ends, remove the collection box and thank everyone involved with a sign at the collection site and with a message everywhere you have announced the project. Feature a grand total and a sincere Thank You.
  • For school book drives, here are some ideas that work: 
    • Collect_Your_BooksMake posters for each classroom or other places around the school.
    • Use student teams to speak to each classroom to explain the project.
    • Announce the drive on the school's outdoor signs.
    • Promote the book drive at a parent/teacher meeting.
    • Discuss book drive progress at a staff meeting.
    • Announce your book drive's progress over the public address system or in school assemblies.
    • Make a special library display featuring books about children's lives in developing countries.  Use this list of the best in African children's literature  to help in your book selections for the display.

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